Arnhem Land’s two most powerful clans have secretly agreed to stage their own independent ­judicial inquiry to try to resolve a long-running land rights dispute that has cost millions of dollars and held back development for years.

The Gumatj and Rirratjingu clans are locked in a bitter fight for control of royalties flowing from Rio Tinto’s bauxite mine on the Gove Peninsula and rights to issue leases and collect rents in parts of the region’s main Aboriginal community of Yirrkala.

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