North East Arnhem Land


North East Arnhem Land is located on Yolngu country and is a region rich in culture, art and history. Located around 500 kilometres from Darwin in the Northern Territory, it is one of Australia’s most remote regions.

Jawun commenced operations in North East Arnhem Land (NEAL) in 2012.

Nhulunbuy is the main township in North East Arnhem Land and is largely sustained by the mining industry, which began operations in the 1960s despite protests from Yolngu Elders to Federal Parliament through the Bark Petitions – a major catalyst for the Land Rights movement. The mine is currently scheduled to close by 2030. The Laynhapuy homelands (traditional clan lands) extend out from Nhulunbuy into Arnhem Land and consist of around 30 remote homeland communities.

According to the 2016 ABS Census:

  • 13,747 people live in North East Arnhem Land, of which 9,555 (70%) identified as Indigenous
  • 30% of Indigenous 20–24 year olds complete Year 12 or equivalent compared to 82% for the non-Indigenous population
  • 31% of the Indigenous workforce-age population are employed full time compared to 74% for the non-Indigenous population

Yolngu people have always maintained a strong desire for greater control of their destiny and the capacity to shape their future. A future in which they are able to confidently walk in two worlds, the Yolngu and Balanda (non-Indigenous). Under the guidance and strong leadership of different clan leaders, Yolngu people of North East Arnhem Land have made incredible progress towards long-term sustainable business, employment, culturally appropriate services, and education opportunities. There is a shared vision for Indigenous development with a focus on sustainable, meaningful employment created for local Yolŋgu people through community-led economic enterprise.