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Traditional Owners from the Jangga people in central Queensland have welcomed workers to the Carmichael Rail Network with traditional dance and smoking ceremonies at several cultural sites along the rail corridor.
Adani Mining CEO, David Boshoff, said the ceremonies were an important part of the project to protect the cultural sites and served to further strengthen Adani’s and its contractors’ relationships with Jangga.
“We have been working closely with all of the Traditional Owner groups on our project for many years and are thrilled that Jangga invited our people and contractors to be part of these ceremonies,” Boshoff said.
Jangga Elder, Colin McLennan, said the Welcome to Country and smoking ceremonies were held for everyone who worked on the site but were particularly significant for indigenous workers from other parts of the country who were working on their land.
“They want to know they are working on this country with the blessing of the Jangga people and these ceremonies were performed to protect the site and everyone working on it,” commented McLennan.
One of the ceremonies was held next to a significant women’s site adjacent to the rail corridor, which is to be fenced.
“It’s a very sacred thing the women’s site, because men aren’t allowed to go in there and fencing it will ensure the workers and contractors stay away from the area and are able to perform their tasks safely,” McLennan explained.
There are a number of culturally significant sites across the Carmichael Mine and Rail project that are being fenced to protect cultural heritage and also offer assurance to workers that they are not disturbing sacred locations while carrying out their work.
Martinus Interface Manager, Jarred Roker, said his team were delighted to be part of the ceremonies, which included the smouldering of various native plants to ward off bad spirits and cleanse the land.
“The ceremonies celebrated our partnership with Jangga and reinforced our commitment to providing employment and training opportunities for the Jangga people,” Roker added.
BMD National Indigenous Programme Manager, Dart Johnson, said the ceremonies were important to educate the project workforce of the significance of these sites, and to make sure workers felt welcome and safe when nearby.
“BMD has a long and proud history of working with Traditional Owners across various projects to protect cultural heritage and provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Johnson said.
“We’re looking forward to continuing this work with the Jangga people throughout construction of the Carmichael Rail Network.”
Adani has Indigenous Land Use Agreements and Cultural Heritage Management Plans in place with all four Traditional Owner groups to ensure they benefit from the delivery of the project.
This article first appeared on www.worldcoal.com
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