MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Kakadu uranium mine off Areva's agenda

Published by MAC on 2006-05-09

Kakadu uranium mine off Areva's agenda

9th May 2006

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200605/s1633714.htm

French mining company Areva has ruled out uranium mining at Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory in the near future.

The company owns the mining rights to the Koongarra deposit near the Nourlangie rock art site in the park's north-east.

Areva has been negotiating with the traditional owners through the Northern Land Council, but a spokesman at the company's Paris office says Areva has no plans to mine the site.

By Australian law, every five years the company can ask the traditional owners if it can mine.

So far the traditional owners have said no, and last year the moratorium was extended for another year.

That has now lapsed, but a statement from Areva's head office says there are no plans to develop Koongarra in the near future because it is concentrating on new projects in Canada and Kazakhstan.

The Northern Territory Environment Centre's Peter Robertson says he is surprised and pleased to hear of the mining company's move.

"I think even Areva must understand that between the traditional owners, the wider community and the Federal Government there is no way that a uranium mine is going to be able to go ahead at that particular location," he said.

A spokeswoman for Northern Territory Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis says the Territory Government does not support mining at Koongarra.

She says any mining at Kakadu would need to be approved by the Commonwealth

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