MAC: Mines and Communities

Mirrar infuriated at possible betrayal

Published by MAC on 2007-05-31

Mirrar infuriated at possible betrayal

31st May 2007

Three years ago, the Aboriginal Mirrar People of Australia's Northern Territory signed what they thought would be a binding agreement with Rio Tinto, guaranteeing their right to stop the company re-entering their territory, site of the world's biggest unexploited uranium deposit at Jabiluka.

However, when uranium prices started to boom again two years back, spokespeople for Rio Tinto made various references about returning to Jabiluka which cast strong doubt on the UK-Australian company's good faith.

Even so, it was hardly envisaged that the Aboriginal Northern Land Council - which, over the last two decades has acknowledged major defects following its own agreements over the Ranger uranium mine - would now re-open negotiations with Rio Tinto, over the heads of the Mirrar themselves.

(Rio Tinto is the world's third biggest uranium miner; its wholly-owned subsidiary, ERA, also controls the Ranger uranium mine).

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