ERA reaffirms it has no development plans for Jabiluka site

25th March 2024 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Energy Resources Australia (ERA), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto, has reaffirmed that it has no plans to develop the globally significant uranium body at Jabiluka, in Northern Territory.

The company has lodged an application to renew the lease on the uranium deposit against the wishes of Indigenous traditional owners.

ERA CE and MD Brad Welsh argues that renewing the mineral lease, which is due to expire in August this year, is the best way to protect Jabiluka’s cultural heritage.

“ERA has protected the cultural heritage at Jabiluka for almost two decades under a long-term agreement with the Mirarr traditional owners that also includes a veto right over any future development. The agreements and veto right only remain in place if the lease is renewed,” he said.

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Mirarr traditional owners, has publicly expressed its intention to oppose both the renewal and development of the Jabiluka mineral lease, and has recently reiterated its opposition.

ABC News quotes Corben Mudjandi from the Mirarr traditional owners as saying that his people were opposed to ERA’s renewing of its lease and that it had no confidence in the company.

“ERA says it wants to protect our cultural heritage at Jabiluka. The best way of doing that is to include it in the World Heritage-listed Kakuda National Park where it belongs,” Mudjandi is quoted as saying.

ERA has been one of the nation’s largest uranium producers and operated Australia’s longest continually producing uranium mine. The Ranger mine was closed in 2021 and ERA is now focusing on a rehabilitation project located on Aboriginal land, surrounded by the Kakadu National Park.