2014 Review of Management Plan

In 2013, the Relationship Committee (set up under the Argyle Participation Agreement) decided to review all Management Plans under the Management Plan Agreement.

Under Clause 10 of Management Plan Agreement 7 – Business Development and Contracting, the Relationship Committee has to do a review of Management Plan Agreement 7 every 2 years. The Relationship Committee gave the job of a formal review to both Traditional Owners and Argyle Diamonds and agreed that Management Plan 7 - Business Development and Contracting was the first Management Plan that needed to be reviewed and updated.

To make sure this review was done properly, Argyle engaged Traditional Owner consulting company, The Cultural Connection Code Pty Ltd, to assist with facilitating the review process. It was also agreed a Review Panel, which was made up of representatives from Traditional Owners and Argyle Diamonds, would complete the review.

In 2013, Argyle nominated 4 employees (3 members and 1 Team Leader) to act as representatives. The Traditional Owners opened an Expression of Interest across the East Kimberley region, to ensure a fair and open process, to find 3 Traditional Owners to be representatives and appointed the Gelganyem Executive Officer as their Team Leader.

A Review Panel with 8 representatives was set-up (plus 2 observers, 1 from each group) to start reviewing MPA7 and a total of 6 workshops were held between November 2013 and May 2014 at the Argyle Diamond mine site and in Kununurra.

On 7 March 2014, the Relationship Committee endorsed the recommendations of the Review Panel to establish a new group to implement the new MPA7 and grow stronger Traditional Owners businesses through considered business development and contract opportunities in partnership between Argyle and Traditional Owners.

On 15 May 2014, the Relationship Committee agreed to name this group The Yawoorroong Jidiwaddam Group. Yawoorroong is a Miriuwung word and Jidiwaddam is a Gija word – together these two words translate to “working together”.

The Relationship Committee named this group in the spirit of Traditional Owners and Argyle Diamonds working together to build strong businesses for future generations. To find out more about this group visit the Jobs and Businesses page.

How it started

On the 8th of June 2005, Argyle Diamonds Limited (Argyle) and Traditional Owners of the Argyle Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia celebrated the registration of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA). The ILUA was the culmination of almost three years of negotiations, between Argyle and the Traditional Owners and the Kimberley Land Council. The ILUA replaces the Good Neighbour Agreement (1980) and Good Neighbour Program (1981). The ILUA was registered by the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) on the 8th of April 2005. It was the third ILUA to be registered in Western Australia.

The ILUA renewed Argyle's existing relationships with Traditional Owners and provides Argyle with the support of Traditional Owners for ongoing mining and the development of the next stage of the Argyle Diamond Mine as it moves to underground operations. The ILUA provides benefits to Traditional Owners, most of which are directed towards community and economic development.

In addition to the ILUA, Argyle and the Traditional Owners have entered into a Management Plan Agreement (MPA) that governs the day to day relationship of the parties. Together, these two agreements provide a comprehensive basis for a long term sustainable relationship between Argyle and Traditional Owners.

Diamond mining has been taking place on the Traditional Lands of the Miriuwung and Gija peoples in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia since the late 1970s. Prior to 2005, various agreements were in place between the mine's owners and some Traditional Owners and communities to share benefits from the mine's operation, but these benefits were not seen as being shared equitably and did not recognize all the Traditional Owners who should be recognized.

In the early 2000's when Argyle Diamonds concluded that the life of the mine could be extended past planned closure of open pit operations through the commencement of underground mining, work commenced on building a new agreement between Argyle and the Traditional Owners. Argyle entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Kimberley Lands Council who on behalf of the Traditional Owners set out agreement principles, process and a timetable.

A critical component of building the agreement was the carrying out of comprehensive ethnographic and genealogical studies of the mine lease area to determine, for the first time, which Traditional Owners should be beneficiaries.