Two Wonnarua men campaigning to stop the destruction of a historic Indigenous massacre site have been publicly attacked by multi-billion-dollar mining giant Glencore.

Glencore currently owns a coal mining site in Ravensworth, NSW which includes Ravensworth Homestead, one of Australia’s oldest surviving colonial buildings. Significantly, the homestead and the surrounding lands are the site of multiple attacks against the Wonnarua people by police in the 1820s.

Glencore wants to move the Homestead building either to the village of Burke (around 20 kilometres away from the original site) or to a different spot on the lands, and use the site to expand one of its coal mines.  The project would also expand the life of the mine until 2044, according to the company.

It’s a plan that’s been resoundingly rejected by the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua Peoples, the traditional landowners of the Upper Hunter.

In retaliation, Glencore – remember, the multi-billion dollar company – has taken out a public ad to specifically attack and name two men objecting to the plan. The men in question have made a section 10 protection claim for the site. If the claim is successful, it would cover the whole of the proposed mine expansion and potentially some of Glencore’s other sites in the area.

Glencore bought an ad in the Hunter River Times to accuse to the two men of “seeking to stop our project”.

It also flat-out denied the historical significance of the site, saying that “independent studies of the written histories” and “thorough investigation by a local historian” suggested that “the September 1826 massacre in question occurred more than 20km away from the homestead site”.

Frankly, that claim smells like a conveniently placed crock of bullshit.

Hunter Living Histories, an archival history project run by the Uni of Newcastle, has a four part video series called ‘A Month of Murder in the Hunter Valley‘ which explores the history of the massacres, and the significance of the site to the Wonnarua people.

One of the men named by Glencore in the ad told The Guardian that the situation was a “flat-out attack on First Nations people.”

“This huge mining company has taken out a full page ads against two Aboriginal people because we are trying to protect our heritage.”

Surprise surprise, a spokesperson for Glencore then told The Guardian that it is “concerned by the amount of misinformation that has been published about our project.”

A massive company levelling ‘misinformation’ claims against a group of local people calling out their bullshit? Groundbreaking.

And, in even more fucked irony, one of the first links on Glencore’s website is an article about the UN’s International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021, which aims to highlight its work with Indigenous peoples Australia and Canada.

The whole thing is really serving cynical pat-on-the-back marketing to mask an actual attack on both individual Indigenous people and an important cultural site.

Go Glencore, give us absolutely fucking nothing!