Pilbara Minerals continues to focus managing its commitments to preserve cultural heritage areas identified by Traditional Owner, Nyamal peoples.
The central Pilgangoora mine pit is adjacent to numerous grinding patches, which are rock surfaces used by Aboriginal people for grinding food substances or ochre.
Mapping of the Pilgangoora ore resource showed it extends below the area of the grinding patches, estimated to be 50,000 years old. The areas are not registered Aboriginal heritage sites although they are protected by state Aboriginal heritage legislation.
In recognition of the cultural importance of the traditional grinding patches, Pilbara Minerals voluntarily extended its commitment to ensuring that the area was not impacted by mining activities. Instead of mining the ore underlying the patches, the Company adjusted its mine plan and operational practices, including blasting techniques, to preserve and protect the area.
In addition, blasting practices were modified to direct fly rock into the pit and protective matting is routinely placed over the grinding patches to provide further protection from any potential impact.
Monitoring of the areas by Nyamal members, who actively manage the sites, shows the management measures are working well and the grinding patches have not been affected.
Our approach helps shows how effective engagement can allow mining to successfully coexist with Aboriginal heritage preservation and protection while fostering greater cross-cultural awareness and strengthening relationships.