The land is sacred within the culture of Aboriginal people, as is their connection to Country. Working in land management and rehabilitation at Weipa provides the Aboriginal members of the team with professional development opportunities in roles closely aligned to their culture and values.

A regeneration nursery was constructed in 2013, with approximately 5,000 seedlings nurtured as part of the pilot project. In 2014, the project more than tripled and to date, more than 21,000 seedlings have been nurtured. This "over storey" vegetation will help create forest canopy, and has been used to help rehabilitate approximately 50 hectares of land.

“Involving local Aboriginal people in the land rehabilitation process makes good business sense,” said Gareth Manderson, general manager, Operations at Weipa.

“We recognise that we mine on Aboriginal land and can benefit from Traditional Owners’ unique connection to the land, in their understanding of the geography and climate, while we both work to sustain the long-term viability of the community.

“We are proud our traineeship programme and land rehabilitation model offers opportunities and land management experience to local Aboriginal people, as part of the three Aboriginal Agreements which underpin our operations.

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Chris McColl, Land & Rehabilitation officer from Weipa, visited the local community of Aurukun in May to provide information about the 2015 seed picking programme and sign up new pickers.

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More than 760kg of seed were collected through the community seed collection programme in 2014.

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Seedlings in Weipa’s regeneration nursery.