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Employer accused of inciting dozens of fights

Solomon Hub
Solomon Hub

A mineral producer allegedly caused people to physically assault each other near a major operation, a court heard.

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) was recently accused of dividing the Yindjibarndi community, resulting in violent attacks near the Solomon mine (349km southwest of Port Hedland).

The Federal Court of Australia heard Lorraine Coppin blame the proponent for at least 20 fights over the operation’s new expansion. She claims to have been hospitalised a “few times” from being hit on the head with a chair during sleep. Coppin’s 8-year-old son was also allegedly beaten up by a group of teenagers, resulting in her experiencing a nervous breakdown.

“FMG has used our own people to harm and hurt us. We were all strong together but FMG broke us. We would not wish this experience on anyone,” the wife of Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) CEO Michael Woodley said according to News Limited.

The mother identified her attackers as members of the Wirlu-murra YAC (WYAC), which was established after the main group rejected FMG’s Solomon expansion.

“It has been so disappointing to see the way that WYAC has been fighting us all these years for the wrong reasons, and then FMG just keeps making billions of dollars and Andrew Forrest gets richer and richer,” witness Angus Mack said according to the media outlet.

FMG said it cared deeply about the wellbeing of all Indigenous Australians, and looked forward to resolving the dispute.

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