Gomeroi people dispute Whitehaven findings

A GROUP of Gomeroi people have disputed the results of two scientific investigations that found no evidence land within the boundary of Whitehaven Coal’s mine at Maules Creek was an Aboriginal burial site.

The group, which has warned of “reprisals” against the company unless its members are granted access to the area, has dismissed the reports as “significantly flawed” and vowed to prevent the site’s disturbance.

The discovery of markings on some tree stumps raised the possibility that the proposed mine could encroach on a burial site of enormous cultural significant if it proceeded as planned.

However, Whitehaven Coal maintains the reports – produced by the University of Queensland and Global Soil Systems – prove there is no scientific evidence to corroborate the claims.

“The company stands by the independent expert assessments which concluded that the suspected burial sites were not, in fact, burial sites, and further note that this finding has been endorsed by relevant government regulators,” the spokesman said.

But the campaigners claim they have evidence that proves the reports are inaccurate and as such they will “never allow Whitehaven to dig up our ancestors”.

“Whitehaven will simply have to protect our burials and respect our elders,” said spokeswoman Dolly Talbott. 

“This is not a vendetta; this is a fight for our rights, our ancestors and our culture and heritage.”

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