MAY 2024

Victorian first: mining agreement between DJAARA and Agnico Eagle

Central Victoria is set to benefit from a historic agreement between DJAARA (the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (Agnico Eagle) operator of the Fosterville Gold Mine (FGM), which has been signed today in a ceremony at Rocky Crossing, Goornong.

The agreement, Bakaru Wayaparrangu, which means ‘in the middle, we all meet’ in Dja Dja Wurrung language, follows seven years of negotiations and represents the first agreement in Victoria between Traditional Owners and an active mining operation.

Bakaru Wayaparrangu acknowledges Dja Dja Wurrung People as the Traditional Owners of the land on which FGM operates, and aims to build a harmonious, long-term relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and transparency. It will provide opportunities to support the self-determination of Dja Dja Wurrung People through operations at FGM.

Specifically, the agreement will enable DJAARA to have some influence in the environmental impact of the mine and remediation works after the mine closes and will facilitate employment, training and business opportunities for Dja Dja Wurrung People. New jobs will be created to implement the agreement and financial contributions will also be made annually to DJAARA.

The agreement signing following revelations at the State’s Yoorrrook Justice Commission hearings that Victoria’s Aboriginal People have received virtually no benefit from the $287.4b worth of gold mined from Aboriginal traditional lands since 1851.

Dja Dja Wurrung Group CEO Rodney Carter said Bakaru Wayaparrangu signified a shift towards acknowledgement and DJAARA’s inclusion in decisions about mining activity on Dja Dja Wurrung Country.

“Through this agreement, we will be able to speak for Country. Bakaru Wayaparrangu will ensure that Dja Dja Wurrung People are compensated for some of the impact and receive some of the benefit from mining activity on Dja Dja Wurrung Country. But this is not just about DJAARA: this agreement will stimulate regional economic growth and could lead to hundreds of local jobs,” Mr Carter said.

FGM is the largest gold producer in Victoria. “We believe that for mining to work, it must work for all stakeholders. We are privileged to operate on Dja Dja Wurrung Country and this agreement allows us to strengthen our ties with the local community through respectful and meaningful engagement, ensuring that we honour our privilege with responsible stewardship. We are determined to leave a lasting positive legacy in the region, creating enduring benefits that outlive our operational presence,” said Ammar Al-Joundi, President & Chief Executive Officer, Agnico Eagle.

The agreement furthers Agnico Eagle’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. This commitment includes building positive, lasting relationships with Indigenous Peoples, creating lasting opportunities for employment, business and education, and contributing to the social and economic well-being of the communities where we operate.

A committee comprised of representatives from DJAARA, as well as employees and management of FGM, will soon be established to implement Bakaru Wayaparrangu and ensure the objectives of the agreement are achieved. In addition to the committee, the parties will each designate a coordinator to implement various key actions.

About Agnico Eagle

Agnico Eagle is a Canadian based and led senior gold mining company and the third largest gold producer in the world, producing precious metals from operations in Canada, Australia, Finland and Mexico. It has a pipeline of high-quality exploration and development projects in these countries as well as in the United States. Agnico Eagle is a partner of choice within the mining industry, recognized globally for its leading environmental, social and governance practices. Agnico Eagle was founded in 1957 and has consistently created value for its shareholders, declaring a cash dividend every year since 1983.

About the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation (trading as DJAARA)

The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation is a representative body for Dja Dja Wurrung People.

Djaara (Dja Dja Wurrung People) have lived on our traditional lands and cared for Djandak (Country) over many thousands of years. For us, Djandak is more than just a landscape, it is more than what is visible to the eye; it is a living entity which holds the stories of creation and histories that cannot be erased.

Dja Dja Wurrung land extends from Mount Franklin and the towns of Creswick and Daylesford in the southeast to Castlemaine, Maldon and Bendigo in the east, Boort in the north, Donald in the northwest, to Navarre Hill and Mount Avoca marking the southwest boundary. Our lands encompass the Bendigo and Clunes goldfields and the Loddon and Avoca River watersheds. Hundreds of years ago, our Country was mostly covered in open forests and woodlands, providing us with the plants and animals that we used for food, medicine, shelter and customary practices. Today, though our Country is vastly changed, it still holds many important values.

Pictured at the signing ceremony: Ammar Al-Joundi, President and CEO Agnico Eagle Mines Limited; Rebecca Phillips, Chair DDW Clans Aboriginal Corporation; Rodney Carter, DDW Group CEO; Ion Hann Vice President – Agnico Eagle Australia; and John Landmark, Vice President Corporate Affairs – Agnico Eagle Australia.