But Mr Power said that a royalty deal isn't an option. He said that "It's not going to happen because we know it's not going to do any good (for the community).”
He said Fortescue had obtained all of the legal clearances it needed to proceed with Solomon, believed it had met its moral obligations to traditional claimants, and had accordingly started construction at the project last week.
He added that "We've been found by the Federal Court and the Native Title Tribunal to have complied in terms of meeting our good faith bargaining provisions.”
The Solomon project contains hundreds of billions of dollars worth of iron ore and lies about 200 kilometers south of Roebourne in Yindjibarndi country, where the community is divided over a deal offered by Fortescue to mine their land.
The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation is opposed to the offer of AUD 4 million a year in cash and AUD 6.5 million a year in housing, jobs, training and business opportunities.
YAC would prefer the kind of deal Rio Tinto has made with other traditional owner groups of 0.5% in uncapped royalties, although the Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi people support the existing offer.