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Giant marsupial excavation, multiculturalism celebrated and a Karijini facility facelift

Each week, RDA Pilbara compiles a wrap of news that's important to industries and communities in the region and also the highlights of our activities on the ground.

Read on for what's been happening from October 13 to October 20.

Giant marsupial skeletons excavated in the Pilbara It’s not every day that our region is the scene of a major palaeontology dig but that’s exactly what is unfolding at Du Boulay Creek, north-east of Mardie, where researchers from the WA Museum and Murdoch University are working to recover several skeletons of Diprotodon.

The Diprotodon, a supersized relative of the wombat and koala, was the largest marsupial known to have lived and believed to have grown to lengths of up to 3.8m while weighing in at nearly three tonnes.

The globally significant fossils, thought to have been in place for tens of thousands of years, were first observed in 1991 and have been carefully protected since. But risk of damage from flooding now makes excavation critical, with CITIC Pacific Mining – operator of the nearby Sino Iron project – supporting researchers in their efforts.

For anyone interested in this remarkable discovery, Dr Kenny Travouillon and other members of the dig team will be giving a free public lecture at the Red Earth Arts Precinct in Karratha from 2pm to 3pm on Sunday October 22.

In the meantime, ABC Pilbara has written an excellent story on the find:

Pilbara celebrates its many cultures Congratulations to the Northwest Multicultural Association on a very successful and enjoyable flagship event in Karratha last weekend. One of the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of living and working in the Pilbara is the diversity of our communities and the Northwest Multicultural Show highlighted this in fine style.

The performances, costumes and the food (of course!) were all first rate and RDA Pilbara is delighted to have had the opportunity to sponsor and support such a wonderful event.

Final chance to nominate for the RDA Pilbara Committee Nominations will remain open until Monday morning, October 23, for people wishing to nominate to join the RDA Pilbara Committee.

Regional Development Australia is calling for leaders to drive regional economic development in the Pilbara. People with commitment to economic development, vision, drive and experience, who are able to foster strong communication between local communities and all levels of government, are encouraged to submit an application.

Women, First Nations Australians, people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and people with disability are encouraged to apply.

Apply to join your RDA at:

Karijini National Park facilities get a facelift The natural beauty of Karijini is pretty hard to improve upon but the announcement this week of new infrastructure projects around the park is welcomed.

The $16 million upgrade will see a new lookout built at Knox Gorge, while 41km of road will be sealed to boost access to and between Weano Gorge, Karijini Eco Retreat and Dales Gorge.

Attracting more than 650,000 visitors each year, Karijini is not only one of the Pilbara’s biggest attractions but a major tourism drawcard for the whole of WA.

A total of 55 jobs are expected to be created during the upgrade.

New regional airline already up for awards It’s only three months since Nexus Airlines took to the skies but it’s already up for an award at the Perth Airport WA Tourism Awards – as a finalist in the New Business category.

Nexus has flown more than 11,000 passengers since mid July, when it started operating flights between Geraldton, Perth, Karratha, Port Hedland, Broome, Kununurra and Darwin.

The airline is one of a number of Pilbara businesses in the running for the awards, including Karijini Eco Retreat, Ngurrangga Tours, the Shire of Ashburton and Summerstar Tom Price Tourist Park.

More details on the awards at:

OECD releases report into mining and the Pilbara In a piece of timing that aligns nicely with the Pilbara Summit, the OECD has released its Mining Regions and Cities Case of the Pilbara report.

OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann addressed the Summit via video link, touching on many of the themes that underpinned the event and which are also presented in the report.

These include: ▪ the Pilbara's undoubted global significance ▪ opportunities for improved engagement with and involvement of First Nations people ▪ economic diversification built around energy transition ▪ ongoing region-wide challenges around housing, childcare and supply of service workers It was a great privilege for Karratha to host the fourth OECD Meeting of Mining Regions and Cities in June and it's good to see a major international organisation taking ongoing interest in the Pilbara.

Access the full report:

Pilbara explorers to benefit from drilling incentive Great to learn13 projects in the Pilbara were receiving funding this week under the WA Government's Exploration Incentive Scheme co-funded drilling program and energy analysis program. Exploration is the starting point for all major resources operations and a lifeblood of industry and development in the Pilbara, with many projects in our region having benefited from the EIS over its nearly 15-year existence. Recent success stories include Miramar Resources' Whaleshark project near Onslow which has confirmed the presence of copper sulphide mineralisation. Read more:

WA government opens bids for onshore petroleum exploration Bidding is now open for petroleum exploration in eight onshore areas of WA – including the Canning and Northern Carnarvon Basins.

The WA Government opened bidding on Friday October 20, with a closing date of January 19, 2024.

Located across the Canning, Northern Carnarvon, Amadeus, and Perth Basins, and varying in size from 400 to 7070 square kilometres, the blocks are subject to approvals before exploration can take place and are not open to hydraulic fracturing.

Gas, in particular, is seen as an important part of WA’s future, as authorities seek to shore up the State’s energy security.

More details:

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