Woodley wants inquiry into its FMG claims

A native title claimant group has called for a federal inquiry into its allegations that iron ore miner Fortescue Metals "heavied" its way onto land in Western Australia's Pilbara region.

The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) on Wednesday claimed that Bruce Woodley, the chairman of breakaway claimant group Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (WMYAC), had backed up recent controversial statements made by solicitor Kerry Savas on ABC's 7.30 Report.

Mr Savas, a lawyer who worked for WMYAC and whose fees were paid by Fortescue, claimed the breakaway group was hastily convened to shore up support for the company's Solomon mine at a "rigged" meeting in Roebourne, Western Australia last year.

WMYAC accepted a financial package from Fortescue in exchange for the right to develop the Solomon project after YAC rejected a deal with the mining company, saying it was too low.

Fortescue last week vehemently denied Ms Savas' claim that it acted "illegally" by failing to negotiate with all native title claimants in good faith.

But YAC stepped up the stoush on Wednesday, issuing a statement claiming Mr Woodley was "incensed" the WMYAC board had been "stage-managed by Fortescue operatives", who had a hand in "guiding litigation" between the rival groups.

Mr Woodley was not immediately available for comment.

But his nephew Michael Woodley told AAP he imagined his uncle had become disillusioned with Fortescue.

"I haven't spoken to him about this but I can only speculate that he's run the marathon on the FMG promise of prosperity, community wellbeing, employment and training, and other stuff that they put on the table, and nothing's changed in the community," Michael Woodley told AAP.

"I see nothing coming through. I live in Roebourne on a day-to-day basis.

"All I see is an FMG agenda in Roebourne that has been abrogated by a few individuals of that breakaway group."

He said he hoped an inquiry would be triggered by the latest YAC claims.

Fortescue was being sought for comment.

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