In 2007, Rio Tinto supported the inclusion of the Dampier Archipelago including the Burrup Peninsula on the National Heritage List, in recognition of its outstanding rock art values. The listing covers approximately 300 square kilometres of the Dampier Archipelago land area which includes a significant portion of Rio Tinto's iron ore and Dampier Salt leases.
The Dampier Archipelago has one of the largest and most diverse concentrations of rock art (petroglyphs) in the world, with an estimated one million engravings. Dating back tens of thousands of years, the petroglyphs comprise images of fauna - avian, marine and terrestrial, humans and human activities and geometric designs. The area is also characterised by stone features, camp sites, quarries and shell middens providing a fascinating insight into the cultural life of Australia's Indigenous ancestors.
As an outcome of the National Heritage Listing, Rio Tinto signed a Conservation Agreement with the Australian Government formalising our long term commitment to protecting the rock art on the Burrup Peninsula. This included the establishment of a fund to advance the understanding and preservation of the rock art itself and its historical and cultural value.
As part of the Agreement, Rio Tinto has committed funds for a period of ten years to:
- identifying all sites with National Heritage Values
- presenting and transmitting information about the National Heritage Values
- managing National Heritage Values to ensure the values are conserved for future generations
- researching and monitoring the National Heritage Values