Shares in Buru Energy were firmer after the onshore oil and gas play took a big step forward in securing production licences for its Ungani oil field in the Pilbara.
The company announced this morning that it and its joint venture partner, Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi, had signed a native title agreement with local indigenous groups, the Nyikina Mangala and Karajarri Yanja People.
Under the agreement, the indigenous groups have agreed to the grant of the joint venture's two applications for production licences and other tenure required for the commercial development of Ungani.
Buru said the agreement would deliver significant financial and other benefits for the traditional owners and included a structured process for managing cultural, heritage and environmental matters for those parts of the project located within the respective Nyikina Mangala or Karajarri Yanja native title areas.
A third group of traditional owners at Ungani, the Yawuru People, will vote on an indigenous land use agreement at an authorisation meeting scheduled for April 1.
This is the final Native Title Agreement required to secure the production licence.
Subject to the approval by Yawuru, the joint venture will then progress to the grant of the production licence from the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum.
"Further production from the field requires both the grant of the production licence and the consent to produce under the licence, which will require amongst other things, an approved safety case, a field development plan and a reservoir management plan, all of which are in advanced stages of preparation," Buru said in a statement.
Executive chairman Eric Streitberg said the Native Title Agreement was an historic event for all parties and for the Kimberley in general.
"This is the first Native Title Agreement for onshore oil production in the Kimberley," he said.
"It represents a major step forward in the environmentally and culturally appropriate resource development of the Kimberley."
Buru shares were up 1.5 cents, or 4.11 per cent, to 38 cents at 8.15am.