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Would you blast the Pyramids for mining? Then, why would you destroy the Juukan Gorge Caves?

Protest organiser Robert Eggington leaving a rally after handing over a letter of demands to Brad Haynes, Rio Tinto's Vice President,Corporate Relations AU Source: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright

“Blasting the Juukan caves compares to destroying the Pyramids.” – Robert Eggington

It has been more than a month since mining giant Rio Tinto blasted 46000-year-old Aboriginal heritage sites, the Juukan Gorge Caves, in the Pilbara (WA).

Noongar man Robert Eggington, director of the Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation, says blasting of the ancient caves compares to destroying the Pyramids.

The Juukan Caves are of great significance not only to the Traditional Custodians of that land but also to all Aboriginal people, all of Australia and the entire world.

Dumbartung Aboriginal Corporation will try to get them listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

NITV Radio has contacted Rio Tinto for comment.

Rio Tinto stated that “We will continue to work with the PKKP* to learn from what has taken place and strengthen our partnership. As a matter of urgency, we are reviewing the plans of all other sites in the Juukan Gorge area.

Rio Tinto has launched a board-led review of its heritage management processes within Iron Ore following the events at Juukan Gorge, with a focus on recommending improvements to the effectiveness of its internal processes and governance.”

NITV Radio has also requested comments from Western Australia’s Minister for Aboriginal Affairs - Ben Wyatt; and the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians - Ken Wyatt.

In his response, the WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs stated:

“Minister Ben Wyatt did not approve the destruction of the Juukan caves, was not aware of the approval to destroy the caves and was not asked to intervene in their destruction.

The McGowan Government is progressing new cultural heritage legislation to better protect Aboriginal heritage in Western Australia.”

NITV Radio has not received a response from Ken Watt, the Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians.

*PKKP - Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura People

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