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EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT



EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT


Environment Centre NT


EnvironmeNT; E-Journals; PublicationNT; EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT






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Environment Centre N.T; Ecology; Periodicals

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Environment Centre NT

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EnvironmeNT : the newsletter of the Environment Centre NT

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May 2002 Page 4 In August 2000 Rio Tinto acquired North Ltd and gained a 68.4% controlling share of the controversial Jabiluka uranium project in Kakadu. At Rio Tintos 2001 AGM, Chairman Sir Robert Wilson announced that the company would postpone development of Jabiluka stating We dont believe that Jabiluka can be developed without the consent of both the Northern Land Council and, through the Northern Land Council, the traditional owners of the area. Nearly two years after Rio Tintos acquisition of Jabiluka the company is failing to hear or heed the wishes of the traditional owners. The Mirrar people are steadfastly opposed to development at Jabiluka. Rio Tinto seems content to sit on Jabiluka and ignore the views of the Mirrar and the broader community. Now is the time for Rio Tinto to put its words into action and to act to end any development of Jabiluka. The background: Jabiluka is a uranium deposit on Aboriginal land surrounded by the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory. The struggle to prevent uranium mining in the Kakadu region has a long history. Since the election of the Coalition Federal Government in 1996 the campaign to stop Jabiluka has been a significant issue in Australia and overseas. Thousands of people have worked with the Mirrar people and environment groups to halt the mine both in Kakadu during the 1998 blockade and through protests around Australia and the world. Jabiluka has been the subject of unprecedented World Heritage Committee scrutiny, a Senate Inquiry and resolutions of opposition, a European Parliament Resolution. In 1999 the Mirrar traditional owners won a Goldman Environment Award for their campaign against the mine. The efforts of all involved have been successful in stopping the development of the mine to date. In September 1999 construction of the Jabiluka was halted and since then the mine has been on environmental care and maintenance. Despite the fact that the mine is not operating Jabiluka has already been plagued by water management problems. JABILUKA MINE Dead but not buried Rio Tinto the world is watching you The Mirrar People still say no to Jabiluka mine! All the Mirrar are together; we are united against any more uranium mining on Mirrar country. No amount of money, no amount of political pressure, no backroom deals, no bribery or blackmail will make us change our mind. We cannot change the law and the law is that we protect our sacred sites. Since 1996, the Mirrar have fought against Jabiluka across Australia and overseas. We have won many friends and our supporters are strong and stand with us. We have travelled a long road. We have been to many meetings in many different places. We will continue to resist more mining on Mirrar country. We have no choice this is our land and our life, we can never leave, we must protect it. Rio Tinto talks about responsibly building long-term values but right now its uranium operations in Kakadu directly threaten the future of Mirrar culture. Rio should immediately rehabilitate the Jabiluka mine site and incorporate the lease into Kakadu National Park. Future generations of the Mirrar and the preservation of the World Heritage values of Kakadu depend on action being taken now. Yvonne Margarula Mirrar Senior Traditional Owner Chairperson, Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation Mirrar senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula with Vernadine on country Photo: S.Scheltema