Fortescue Metals Group is still considering whether to appeal a native title ruling covering more than 2700sq km of Pilbara land, including where the company operates its Solomon iron ore mine.
When the Federal Court recognised the Yindjibarndi people as having exclusive rights to the land in July, the company said it would look at its options and would likely appeal the ruling.
On Monday, Justice Steven Rares travelled to the Millstream Chichester National Park to make the final determination, finalising the settlement process and triggering a 21-day period during which Fortescue can appeal.
Fortescue chief executive Neville Power said in an emailed statement – “The concept of exclusive possession has potentially wide-ranging implications for new investment in resources, agriculture and tourism”.
They also say they have not made a decision whether or not they will appeal.
The claim was first lodged in 2003, making it one of the longest-running native title claims in Australia.
WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt, who attended the determination, congratulated the Yindjibarndi people.
Mr Wyatt said in a statement – “Today’s declaration has been the culmination of a long struggle”.