The Plains Clans of the Wonnarua People believe they may be eligible to receive billions of dollars in compensation for the loss of spiritual and culturally significant land in the Hunter Valley if the their Native Title Claim succeeds.
The clans' estimate is based on a High Court judgement made earlier this month where the Northern Territory government was ordered to pay $2.53 million in compensation to a group of native title holders.
It was the first time the court has considered the monetary value of native title and compensation for the removal of land rights.
The case was considered one of the most significant land rights cases since the Mabo ruling.
The Native Title Tribunal registered the Wonnarua People as claimants of an area covering 10,000 square kilometres of the Hunter Valley in January 2015.
The area stretches from Maitland in the east to west of Muswellbrook, and from south of Cessnock to the Barrington Tops and north of Scone.
Wonnarua spokesman Scott Franks said the group was considering seeking compensation in addition to its Native Title claim.
"We have very detailed information and maps that have been passed down to us from our elders about things like songlines, birth and burial sites and incision grounds," Mr Franks said.
"A lot of those sites have been destroyed since European settlement, which has had a massive impact on our spiritual connection to the land."
The Native Title Tribunal accepted Mr Franks and his co-claimant Robert Lester were direct descendants of two Aboriginal women born at Singleton and Broke in 1800 and 1840.
It agreed the women's descendants had maintained direct and significant connections with the region since before white settlement to the present day.
As a result mining companies must notify the Wonnarua descendants regarding new projects and modifications to existing projects.
Mr Franks said he was angry about the loss of cultural lands in the Hunter Valley as a result of mining.
"If there is compensation to be paid the [mining companies] should be be ones that have to pay it," he said.
In a separate application, Wonnarua People has lodged an application under the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 to protect an area of land at Ravensworth.
The application, lodged in late 2018, seeks to have the area where 18 Aboriginals were slaughtered in the 1820s, protected as an area of special significance to Aboriginal people.
If approved, it would be the first successful application made under the Act in NSW.