MAC/20: Mines and Communities

News on Rio Tinto: Traditional owners reject Jabiluka moratorium

Published by MAC on 2001-04-13

News on Rio Tinto: Traditional owners reject Jabiluka moratorium

13 April 2001

The mining company Rio Tinto has confirmed it has no short term plans to mine uranium at the Northern Territory's Jabiluka mine, and has placed a 10-year moratorium on the project. The chair of Rio Tinto, Sir Robert Wilson, has made the announcement at the company's annual general meeting in London.

But traditional Aboriginal owners of Kakadu National Park say the moratorium does not go far enough. Spokesperson for the Mirrar people Jacqui Katona says uranium mining at Jabiluka should never go ahead. "There has been a lot of ambiguity surrounding Rio's position as to whether they would sell theproperty and frankly we haven't had any of that ambiguity cleared up by this statement of a 10-year moratorium," she said.

"It is still possible for Rio Tinto to sell it. They haven't committed themselves to follow throughon handing the project back.... All they are prepared to do is undertake mining company rhetoric."

Ms Katona adds that traditional owners will continue to withhold their consent. "Rio admits that the project cannot go ahead without Aboriginal consent. "Aboriginal people are going to campaign wherever Rio is, ensuring that controversy follows Rio in regards to Jabiluka wherever they operate."

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