“Our current Government is putting out a Green Paper called ‘The New Frontier’which includes Western Australia, Northern Territory and Northern Queensland, and they’re talking about the economic viability of the new frontier,” Lee said.
“What that translates to, is mining, taking of land, and when you start removing people from their land, then you can’t close the gap because you’re once again denying people their human rights.”
Aunty Pat, said communities need home bases, where a sense of belonging can be achieved, and children educated in the old ways to provide a path to the future where the loss their ancestor’s suffered can be replaced with traditional culture.
“We need to have a place where we can deal with a holistic approach of taking a family on a property and do the healing process,” Aunty Pat said.
“It will not take three months or six months, it could take a whole year and on this property we should have trained qualified people who will deal with the children and have some form of a mini school for the children to learn how to read and write the old way.”
Ms Vanessa Lee, said it’s crucial for our government and our country to try to understand how the land is important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“I don’t think people understand the whole importance of land to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s not just land rights, it’s a sense of spirituality,” Lee said.
“Everything comes from the earth and goes back to the earth, and that’s where you’ve got the Dreaming happening.”
Mr James said there’s evidence that what these organizations are doing out there is helping and making a difference, but they need continual support……..http://thestringer.com.au/forgotten-children-of-the-promised-land-the-fight-to-save-rural-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-communities-8944#.VE6TiiLF8nk
for the traditional owners to have any confidence in the capacity of ERA and the regulators to manage Ranger the recommendations of the report must be acted on “swiftly and completely”.
Uranium miner ERA ‘did not meet expected standards’, new report over Kakadu acid spill says By James Dunlevie ABC News 24 Oct 14 A report has criticised standards at a Kakadu uranium mine, but local Aboriginal people say the investigation process had broken down and they had not been told the report was being released.
The investigation looked into the circumstances surrounding the incident at the Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) Ranger uranium mine in the national park, where 1,400 cubic metres of acidic slurry was spilt out of a collapsed tank about 1:00am on December 7, 2013.
The report found “at the time of the tank failure ERA’s management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet expected standards”. In a joint statement announcing the release of the report, Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane and his Territory counterpart, Willem Westra Van Holte, thanked the members of the Ranger Incident Taskforce for their efforts “in particular, the contributions by the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation and the Northern Land Council”.
It’s just absurd that you would establish a taskforce to investigate … over a nearly 12-month period and then release the report and not have any dialogue with any taskforce members.Justin O’Brien, CEO Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
ERA to lift safety standards at Ranger Uranium Mine 24 October, 2014 Ben Hagemann Australian Mining, The Ranger Uranium mine has been directed to engage in improvements to process safety procedures on site, as a result of inadequate safety at the time of the failure of a leach tank in December last year.
The Department of Industry released a summary joint statement for the investigation which said that at the time of the failure of Leach Tank 1, the management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet the expected standards. Continue reading
Kirsten Blair, 22 Oct 14 Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation was disappointed to learn that Ministers Ian MacFarlane and Willem Westra van Holthe had released a summary report of the investigation into the collapse of a leach tank at the Ranger uranium mine within the bounds of Kakadu National Park late last year without consulting all members of the investigation taskforce.
Gundjeihmi, which represents the Mirarr Traditional Owners of the Ranger mine site, has a position on the taskforce which was established to investigate last year’s radiological accident but was not informed of the intention to release the report yesterday.
Justin O’Brien CEO of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation said “We are bitterly disappointed that the investigation taskforce process has broken down, not for any want of trying on our part. It is critical that the recommendations of this report are fully implemented with highest priority given to a comprehensive review of the regulatory framework at Ranger, a point which the ministers have acknowledged but up to this point have not committed to act on.
“The tank collapse which sent over a million litres of radioactive acid spilling across the mine site was yet another example of the poor management and failed systems at Ranger. For Traditional Owners to gain have any confidence in the capacity of the Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and the regulators to manage this mine the recommendations of this report must be acted on swiftly and completely.
“ERA wants to expand the Ranger mine underground. Without a comprehensive regulatory review and implementation of the remaining recommendations it would be ludicrous for the Federal Government to even consider such a proposal.” Mr O’Brien concluded
according to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, mining is returning millions to Aboriginal owned corporations. Western Australia’s Pilbara is the engine room of the nation’s mining boom. But the two billion years old 400,000 square kilometres Pilbara is home to some pretty sad poverty, all of it First Peoples – Roebourne and Wickham for starters, and any of the cluster of communities around Marble Bar, Tom Price, Nullogine, Port Hedland.
Port Hedland is Australia’s busiest port, with ships leaving daily filled with iron ore extracted from Aboriginal land but with the profits returned to multinationals – next-to-nothing for the communities where many of the native title claimants live . Native title owners? A fool’s gold many say.
But if not billions of dollars there are millions of dollars going the way of Aboriginal corporations. Continue reading
Coniston massacre: Nigel Scullion returns site to traditional owners 86 years after killings 7 News, ANTHONY STEWART October 9, 2014, The site of Australia’s last recorded massacre of Aboriginal people has been returned to its traditional owners.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion travelled to Yurrkuru 274 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs to present native title deeds to traditional owners.
Here, in 1928, up to 100 Aboriginal people were killed near the Coniston cattle station in reprisal for the death of a white man. The murders later became known as the Coniston massacre.
Warlpiri and Anmatyerr people welcomed Senator Nigel Scullion on to their land with traditional song and dance.
Senior Anmatyerr man Teddy Long said generations of his family had been fighting to have the massacre acknowledged and the land returned. “My old man, my father been explaining to me what happened to me, the shooting days,” he said.
“In the massacre days many people were killed here and that’s why [I've] been fighting real hard for this land”
Land returned decades after Land Rights claim Traditional owners initially lodged a claim under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act for the land in 1985………
In 1928 The prime minister at the time, Stanley Bruce, launched an a board of inquiry into the actions of police and pastoralists.
It ruled the police had “acted in self-defence”……https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25219778/coniston-massacre-nigel-scullion-returns-site-to-traditional-owners-86-years-after-killings/
“The writing is on the wall for Rio – post-Fukushima the uranium commodity price is at an historic low, the global market outlook shows no signs of recovery and the company continue to lose millions at Ranger mine every year. NT and Commonwealth regulators need to use the Ranger 3 Deeps EIA process to take a sobering look at the mine’s struggling financial position, it’s poor worker safety, nuclear security and environmental record and use this opportunity to close the door on this costly and contaminating trade for good.”
7 Oct 14 The Environment Centre has vowed to contest any new uranium mining in Kakadu National Park and called on Rio Tinto to commit to a comprehensive closure and rehabilitation plan for Ranger uranium mine. The call coincided with an international day of action on October 7th with trade unions, communities and Indigenous groups protesting to highlight the health, environment and social impacts of Rio Tinto’s multinational mining operations.
Rio Tinto and subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia are currently seeking an approval to develop a new underground uranium deposit, Ranger 3 Deeps, despite recent claims that the company is unwilling to take responsibility for the $600 million plus clean-up costs from its open pit operation.
Rio’s Chief Executive Sam Walsh has repeatedly refused to take responsibility for rehabilitation, most recently at the company’s Melbourne AGM, suggesting instead that its subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia, 68% owned by Rio should bear sole responsibility despite its weak financial position.
Lauren Mellor from the Environment Centre NT said “We are supporting the international call today to hold Rio Tinto to account for its appalling track record on environmental, social and industrial safety issues. Here in the NT Rio’s Ranger uranium mine has recorded over 200 license and security breaches, spills, and accidents in its 30 year history. Continue reading
Dave Sweeney, 6 Oct 14 Today’s announcement that Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has lodged its Environmental Impact Statement for underground mining (the Ranger 3 Deeps or R3D project) at its embattled Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu raises serious concerns about the project’s environmental impacts and economic viability, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
This application faces significant procedural and market hurdles and will be actively contested by national and NT environment groups.
“Uranium mining at Ranger has been the source of headlines, heartache and hazard for years but all mining and mineral processing ends in January 2021 when a mandated rehabilitation and closure process commences. ERA faces a serious management challenge to rehabilitate the Ranger site to a standard suitable for inclusion in the surrounding World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park”, said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“Ranger 3 Deeps would add considerable cost and complexity to this challenge. Instead of literally digging itself into a deeper hole ERA and parent company Rio Tinto should be advancing a comprehensive clean-up and closure program at Ranger”.
“ERA runs a failing mine in a fragile place. Kakadu deserves the highest protection and ERA requires the highest scrutiny. Instead of promises and plans to go underground Rio Tinto needs to ensure its under-performing subsidiary ERA meets its rehabilitation requirements in time and in total. After decades of being able to mine and mill Rio Tinto must not now be allowed to cut and run”.
Concerns around the planned R3D project include:
- the projects impact on the required rehabilitation of the Ranger site (note: ERA’s authority for mining and mineral processing expires in January 2021)
- doubts over the capacity of ERA and the commitment of parent company Rio Tinto to fund required rehabilitation works at Ranger. The former mine will need to be rehabilitated to a standard suitable for inclusion in the surrounding World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. This complex and costly task is being actively undermined by the lack of certainty surrounding rehabilitation financing. Rio Tinto argue they have no legal obligation to do the job, while ERA say they do not have the money. One corporation lacks commitment, the other capacity and Kakadu is held to ransom.
- uncertainty surrounding the safety and adequacy of related infrastructure at the Ranger site (most starkly highlighted by the collapse of a leach tank and spill of overa million litres of radioactive and acidic slurry in December 2013)
- ERA’s poor operational history which has seen over 200 leaks, spill, licence breaches and incidents at the Ranger mine and detailed concerns raised over the adequacy of the mine’s regulatory regime.
- The poor uranium commodity price post Fukushima – a continuing nuclear crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium – ERA’s revenue has been steadily declining and net profit after tax has been negative in the last three years (2011-13). There is a real concern that falling costs will lead to ERA cutting corners.
Context and comment: Dave Sweeney, ACF – 0408 317 812
Traditional owners scrutinise environment plan for Ranger uranium mine SMH October 6, 2014 Angela Macdonald-Smith The traditional owners of the Ranger uranium mine will look carefully at a draft environmental impact statement for an underground expansion lodged by Energy Resources of Australia on Friday, says Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Justin O’Brien.
He said the group, which represents the Mirarr people, would “weigh up the cultural, social and environmental considerations that will bring to bear on our decision-making”.
Rio Tinto-controlled ERA has pressed ahead with the potential expansion of the mine, near Kakadu, despite heightened fears among traditional owners over safety and health since a radioactive leak at the site late last year.
Chief executive officer Andrea Sutton said the company would “continue to seek their support” for the Ranger 3 Deeps project, which could start producing ore in December 2015……concerns over safety and health were still high since a leach tank accident last December and due to “the history of leaks and spills and accidents over many decades”.
ERA does not technically need the backing of the Mirarr traditional owners to go ahead with the underground mine, but Ms Sutton said “we certainly are seeking their support”.
Mr O’Brien said the economic dependence of Jabiru and the Mirarr people on Ranger, as well as cultural considerations would come into play in the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation’s decision, alongside the environmental issues.
The open pit at Ranger has already been depleted and is being re-filled, leaving ERA dependent on the processing of low-grade ore for production until production starts from any underground mine.
However, some analysts have voiced doubts about the underground project after ERA warned earlier this year that geotechnical conditions at the site were “less favourable than assumed”, leading to expectations it could cost more than originally anticipated.
Ms Sutton said it was too early to estimate costs for the underground project for which a pre-feasibility study is due for completion by the year-end. It is then due to be considered by the board in the first quarter of 2015……..
Making the project more difficult is the weak uranium price, which has recovered from this year’s low of $US28 ($32) to about $35 but still remains less than half of the level most analysts say is required for a new green-field mine.
However, Ranger Deeps would be a brown-field expansion and Ms Sutton said ERA was not in any case counting on a material lift in the price until “mid to late this decade”. http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/traditional-owners-scrutinise-environment-plan-for-ranger-uranium-mine-20141005-10qhbd.html#ixzz3FOVx41Yf
NT cattleman offers to host nuclear waste dump 6 Oct 14 “…….recently Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane has been looking at pastoral leases, and his problem could soon be over.
A Northern Territory cattleman, John Armstrong, from Gilknockie Station, 250 kms south of Katherine, says he’s willing to have the nuclear waste dump built on his property. Why? Because it’s a money spinner………
But something’s not right here. There’s no way in the world I would buy meat from a supermarket or a butcher if I had the slightest suspicion it was produced on the same property housing a nuclear waste dump. It’s just not cricket.
To date, Mr Armstrong hasn’t been in touch with the federal minister but he’s watching and waiting for a government announcement for interested parties to apply……http://annamariacom.blogspot.com.au/
Northern Territory land councils race clock to nominate a radioactive dump site, NT News BY ZACH HOPE OCTOBER 04, 2014 TRADITIONAL owners are racing against the clock to nominate a site to house Australia’s nuclear waste before the Federal Government opens the process to a national tender.
Traditional owner Geoffrey Wangapa Barnes, from the Ngatijirri clan of the Tanami Desert, said about 50 of 60 traditional owners gave in-principle support for a site northwest of Yuendumu during a meeting with Commonwealth staff and scientists last month.
It comes as the Northern Land Council continues its talks with traditional owners of the Muckaty Land Trust for a nomination north of the controversial site scuttled in June because of clan and family divisions.
Mr Barnes, a delegate of the Central Land Council, said traditional owners were left confused when the desert meeting ended without a compensation package put on the table.
It prompted him to email Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion but he said he received no response.
Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who has responsibility for finding the radioactive waste site, said the department staff were only at the meeting to explain the issue and not negotiate a package.
“They (the traditional owners) need to write to me and put their case but they haven’t done that,” he said…….
Mr Barnes and his uncle, ousted CLC chairman Maurie Japarta Ryan, have called for another meeting between traditional owners, scientists and the Government before the next CLC meeting in the first week of November.
Despite an arbitrary deadline expiring on September 30, the land councils still have exclusive rights to nominate a site until November 10, when Mr Macfarlane will open a tender to groups anywhere in Australia. …….http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/northern-territory-land-councils-race-clock-to-nominate-a-radioactive-dump-site/story-fnk0b1zt-1227079798955
Adam Giles may offer NT nuclear waste site if traditional owners fail to nominate location 105.7 ABC Darwin By Rick Hind 1 Oct 2014, NT Chief Minister Adam Giles has suggested his Government may put up a site for a national nuclear waste dump if traditional owners fail to nominate one.
Traditional owners in the Northern Territory were asked to nominate their land for a nuclear waste facility by September 30.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane had indicated that if a site was not nominated, a selection process involving land owners from anywhere else in the country would start in November……..
“We haven’t decided whether we will at the moment, but I think we will look at it if the land councils don’t nominate a site,” he said…….
“Potentially it’s an economic opportunity for the Territory, but it’s also an opportunity for the Northern Territory to show leadership on the national stage about where to store nuclear waste,” Mr Giles said……..
However, Mr Giles added that any discussion of a possible location for a waste facility was jumping the gun.
“Let’s not get too far in this argument because we haven’t done all the analysis at this stage,” he said……..
The Northern Land Council and the Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane have declined to comment until the nomination deadline passes. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-30/giles-may-offer-up-nuclear-waste-site-if-traditional-owners-dont/5779394
Members of Ngapa Aboriginal clan complain about ‘obstruction’ to their volunteering to host nuclear waste
Pro-nuclear owners accuse land council of holding them back Amos Aikman THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 01, 2014 THE Northern Land Council has blocked Aboriginal economic advancement by “obstructing” traditional owners’ attempts to gain millions of dollars in development aid by hosting nuclear waste on their land at Muckaty Station, according to a formal complaint obtained by The Australian.
A three-month window for Aboriginal land councils to bid exclusively to host a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory expired last night with no nominations. The window was established in June after the NLC controversially withdrew a longstanding nomination to host Australia’s nuclear waste at Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek.
Anti-nuclear groups at the time hailed the decision as a victory. But members of the Ngapa clan, who are part of the Muckaty Land Trust and have not hitherto spoken publicly, told The Australian they were not properly consulted and are now contemplating taking multi-million-dollar legal action.
The group has since been trying to nominate a second site at Muckaty Station, under development since 2012 and believed to be on undisputed Ngapa land. The Australian has seen a petition dated in June, purportedly signed by 59 traditional owners, expressing support for a new nomination.
The NLC is legally obliged to act on behalf of traditional owners. But according to a formal complaint sent to Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion earlier this month, it has “failed to take any meaningful action” to support the second nomination, leading to an “impending loss of opportunity” for the Ngapa people.
Jason Bill, one of the aggrieved parties named in the complaint, told The Australianit had been a “tough road” for his family, which began moves to host a nuclear waste dump in 2005.
It is estimated traditional owners could gain between $12 million and $20m in compensation.
The complaint requests “urgent consideration is given to the unique circumstances of our clients who are currently being obstructed by the NLC from making an urgent new nomination”……..
Senator Scullion told The Australian shortly after receiving the complaint that the allegations were “of the most serious nature … and we are seeking advice on how best to investigate and pursue the matter. The traditional owners say they’ve been aggrieved by the actions of a commonwealth authority,” he said.
“This is a matter of mischief by a commonwealth authority.”
NLC chief executive Joe Morrison said his organisation had acted properly and was being thorough.
“(The Ngapa) approved dropping the original bid … I think we consulted with them appropriately.” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/pronuclear-owners-accuse-land-council-of-holding-them-back/story-fn9hm1pm-1227075690477
French company AREVA will get to have 51% interest , later more, in joint uranium venture with Toro Energy
Toro signs NT deal with AREVA https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/wa/a/25132512/toro-signs-nt-deal-with-areva/ The West AustralianSeptember 29, 2014 Toro Energy has signed a farm-in and joint venture agreement with French uranium and nuclear power giant AREVA in the Northern Territory.
The agreement covers a 2292sqkm tenement package in the Wiso Basin, southwest of Tennant Creek.
“Toro believes that its relatively unexplored Wiso Basin tenement package is ideally placed for exploring for a sandstone-hosted uranium mineralising system of a size and scale not unlike those found in Kazakhstan, where six of the world’s top 15 producing uranium mines are currently in operation,” the company said in a statement.
Toro’s managing director Dr Vanessa Guthrie said the company was excited to have AREVA participate in a substantial exploration portfolio at a time when few companies were actively exploring for uranium in Australia.
“We look forward to adding value to our NT exploration targets through a long and beneficial relationship with one of the world’s most respected uranium groups,” she said. Under the terms of the agreement, AREVA will spend $500,000 within two years of to earn a 51 per cent interest in the joint venture properties.
Upon reaching 51 per cent, AREVA will then have the option to spend another $1.5 million over four years for a further 29 per cent interest for a total 80 per cent stake.
Drilling is expected to begin in the first half of 2015.
Toro shares closed steady at 9.1 cents.
CLC seeks more Red Centre nuclear waste dump answers http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-12/clc-seeks-more-nuclear-waste-dump-answers/5740226 By Robert Herrick Fri 12 Sep 2014,
The Federal Government is seeking a new location for the facility, after a nominated site at Muckaty Station, near Tennant Creek, was abandoned.
The Government has given the Northern and Central land councils until the end of the month to put forward an uncontested site for a nuclear waste dump, before considering proposals from all landowners.
Traditional owners in the Tanami Desert are offering a site 540 kilometres west of Alice Springs.
However, the Central Land Council (CLC) said Commonwealth officials could not answer all the questions put to them at a meeting this week at the Tanami Mine, including how waste would be transported.
The CLC says it has a responsibility to ensure traditional owners are fully informed of the potential impacts of a nuclear waste dump before it can back any nomination.