Aboriginal people using mining royalties to strengthen their communities

Posted: Tue, November 19, 2013

Directors of the Granites Mine Affected Area Aboriginal Corporation (GMAAAC) are today launching their first DVD, GMAAAC - Our Projects Our Way. The DVD shows how good decision making processes and strong governance can turn royalty monies into projects that benefit the whole community.

The GMAAAC members and directors have been doing just this with their royalties from the Granites goldmine in the Tanami for a number of years and are keen to spread the word of their success to other Aboriginal communities and beyond.

“GMAAAC funded projects support Aboriginal people of all ages. We’ve supported art centres and training workshops, funded sports events and activities, health clinic equipment, pool operations, sports and  recreation infrastructure and so much more.” says Noel Heenan, a GMAAAC director from Yuelamu community who works for PAW Media.

Mr Heenan says the Warlpiri/English DVD, which won him a National Remote Indigenous Media Festival Best Presenter award, explains in less than 20 minutes how it can be done.

“Making the DVD was our idea. It shows what GMAAAC is, where the money comes from, and how people get involved in making our communities better places to live”, says Mr Heenan

Eighteen elected directors representing nine communities affected by the Granites gold mine live in an area bordered by Nyirrpi in the South, Lajamanu in the North and Billiluna in the West.

The Central Land Council (CLC) supports the communities to elect GMAAAC committees and to plan and implement projects that make their communities stronger and more resilient.

The CLC facilitates informed decision making by the committees. It also administers GMAAAC’s finances and supports compliance with the CATSI Act. GMAAAC directors govern the corporation and oversee investments that will sustain the community projects in the future.

The CLC’s Director, David Ross said: “It’s been very satisfying to watch GMAAAC ‘grow up’ in recent years. The directors have been on quite a reform journey but now, with strong governance and local decision making, they are really pleased with the important community benefit projects they have achieved.”

Mr Heenan agrees, “I’m really proud of this DVD and what it says about GMAAAC. When I was filming across in the communities I could see the difference GMAAAC is making”.

Contacts:              Janelle Trotmann 08 8951 6371,

Georgie Stewart 08 89 51 6246 or 0409125494,

19 November 2013