PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has finalised an agreement with the traditional owners near its Ranger mine, in the Northern Territory.
ERA CEO Rob Atkinson said this week that the negotiations, which involved complex legal, cultural and operational considerations, had taken several years to complete.
“We are very pleased to have finalised the mining agreement. This progress reflects the strengthening relationship between ERA and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, representing the Mirarr traditional owners.”
Under the new agreement, the Mirarr traditional owners would receive an increased share of the financial benefits from the Ranger mine, while a regional sustainability trust would deliver social initiatives to the local region.
A relationship committee would also be established to ensure effective information sharing, while an agreed approach to opportunities for local Aboriginal participation in business development, training and employment would also be undertaken.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin said that by updating the provisions of the original Ranger agreement the new arrangements provided greater benefits to traditional owners.
“Ranger’s beginning was a difficult time for many Aboriginal people in Kakadu and I acknowledge the hurt felt then by traditional owners. I also applaud the ongoing efforts of the traditional owners to secure the future for their children,” Macklin said.
“Importantly, the agreements will provide intergenerational benefits for traditional owners and the broader Kakadu and West Arnhem region, through the establishment of the Kakadu West Arnhem Social Trust.”
Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson said that the agreements, in addition to confirming traditional owner consent to the mining of uranium at Ranger, also provided for strong environmental protections and would ensure that mining at Ranger continued to be conducted in a safe and secure manner within the surrounding Kakadu National Park.
“ERA will continue to work closely with traditional owners about the management of the mine and protection of the local environment, with the establishment of a new relationship committee,” Ferguson said.
The Ranger mine produced some 1 239 t of uranium oxide during the quarter ended September.