Mining magnate Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest's professed commitment to Aboriginals is under question after an ugly spat over compensation to traditional owners at the centre of his iron ore expansion.
His company Fortescue Metals Group is accused of seeking to undermine recognised native title holders, the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, to get a permanent access agreement for his Solomon hub project.
After talks with the YAC soured, FMG helped the breakaway Wirlu-Murra group form and is trying to seal a $10 million a year deal to mine the area south of Karratha.
Under the plan, the Yindjibarndi people would get $4 million a year and $6 million in housing, training and employment from FMG.
The YAC wants 0.5 per cent of all future royalties, similar to agreements with rival miner Rio Tinto.
Because the YAC is the prescribed body corporate under a 2005 Federal Court native title ruling, FMG would have to get an agreement with YAC.
Attempts were made to replace four YAC members who oppose FMG's offer, including chief executive Michael Woodley, at a raucous meeting in Roebourne attended by Mr Forrest on March 16.
In a 30-minute video of the meeting which the YAC posted on the internet this week, Mr Forrest accuses Mr Woodley of talking "complete and utter bulldust" before imploring the Yindjibarndi people to give him a chance.
Mr Woodley said yesterday FMG bankrolled the Wirlu-Murra group to try to force through a "bad deal".
FMG executive Deidre Willmott said the company was passionate about avoiding a legacy of people simply moving from government welfare to mining welfare.
She said FMG was committed to giving Aboriginal people a life-changing chance of training, work and business engagement with the company's operations.
Barrister George Irving, for the YAC, said he was dismayed by Mr Forrest's handling of the compensation dispute.