In 2004 the Argyle Participation Agreement was signed between Argyle Diamond Mines and the Kija and Miriuwung Traditional Owners to allow underground expansion of the Argyle mine.
The agreement includes Indigenous employment targets, seed funding for small business proposals, strong accountability mechanisms and a Sustainability Fund to provide income beyond the lifespan of the mine.
In one case, resources from the agreement are used to seed grant funding for a dialysis service in Warmun, so that people are no longer forced to fly to Perth for regular treatment. Other funding has been channeled into small business opportunities such as a bus service, earth moving equipment and tourism opportunities.
One traditional owner has established a successful partnership with a US university to bring college students for paid study trips.
Indigenous employment at the mine has increased to 21% over a period of six years and the Traditional Owners are a part of daily operations.
Each week new mine employees and contractors participate in a Manthe (smoking) ceremony conducted by local elders to welcome them, keep them safe and ensure local cultural practices are part of their daily lives.
This is a radical change from the previous situation which saw sacred sites destroyed in order to build the original open pit mine at Argyle in the early 1980s.