The Pilbara Crisis: Resource Frontiers in Western Australia

The remote and fragile Pilbara region of Western Australia contains some of Australia’s greatest mineral wealth, as well as some of its richest, most globally significant Aboriginal heritage. In November 2014 the largest mining rush in the nation’s history abruptly ended, coinciding with the shock announcement that government support for remote Aboriginal communities would be withdrawn as of 2016. Where the state continues to roll back services once considered its basic responsibility and transnational corporations step into the gap to ensure business certainty, developments on the Pilbara as resource frontier mark a crisis symptomatic of many Indigenous communities around the globe. If the Pilbara is a site of investment, extraction, development, and negotiation, it is also Country—the term that Aboriginal people use to describe their inherited places, inhabited by living ancestors who embody the law that guides behavior. This Hot Spots series draws from diverse disciplines, experiences, and backgrounds to examine the extraordinary changes underway in Western Australia.

Posts in This Series

Introduction: The Pilbara Crisis

Aboriginal Country and the New Heritage Landscapes of the Pilbara

Tracking Onslow: Journalists Recording Impact Over Time

The Damage Done: The State as a Facilitator of Corporate Appropriation and Destruction of Indigenous Sites in the Pilbara Region

Why Not Work for the Mine? Costs and Benefits of Extractive Economies in Remote Aboriginal Australia

Culture Clash: National Heritage Values, Native Title, and the GDP

Resource Frontiers in the Pilbara: Lifestyle Choices?

Exile in the Kingdom: The Struggle for Cultural Heritage in the Pilbara

A History of Forced Removal: Diminishing Returns in the Northwest of Western Australia

Nothing New? The Heritage of Indigenous People in Resource Industries in Australia’s Pilbara

Autonomy through Mining Wealth or Government Dependency: Operations of the Neoliberal State