Australian news, and some related international items

Negotiations focus on historical Kakadu uranium injustice

In response to recent media reports on the renegotiation of the Ranger Uranium Mine agreement, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), which represents the Mirarr Traditional Owners of the Ranger mining area, confirms that talks are continuing. These talks aim to mitigate some of the historical political and financial injustices associated with the 1978 Ranger Uranium Mine arrangements put in place by the Australian government.

The current renegotiation – recently referred to by mining company Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) – addresses historical matters only. It does not consider the future of mining beyond the existing Ranger authorisation. Mining at Ranger must cease by 2021 with rehabilitation completed by 2026. Any mining beyond 2021 would require Federal legislation and cannot be agreed to under present arrangements. The Mirarr remain unequivocal in their opposition to any mining operations at the adjacent Jabiluka site.

The Mirarr await detailed information from the current Ranger 3 Deeps exploration. Mirarr insist on the highest level of scrutiny of the potential environmental and social impact of any proposal to mine uranium at Ranger beyond 2021.

Rio Tinto and ERA as well as the Australian government must genuinely respect and adhere to the internationally recognised right of Indigenous people for free, prior and informed consent regarding development on their traditional lands before any further arrangements are made for extension of the Ranger operations into the future.

Rio Tinto and ERA have gone some way to demonstrating a collaborative approach in their current dealings but the future of the operations remains a matter for the Australian government which has yet to engage with the Mirarr about future authorisations.

We look forward to a positive and speedy resolution to this long-standing injustice.

Kirsten Blair
Community and International Liaison
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
0412 853 641
skype: kirsten-blair


October 14, 2012 - Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory

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