Publish Date: 29th November 2012
The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), which represents the Mirarr Traditional Owners, and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) have made significant progress in recent weeks towards finalising a suite of agreements covering the Ranger Project Area (RPA). The agreements cover existing mining and processing operations on the RPA. They do not consider the future of mining beyond the existing Ranger Authority or underground mining.
While not a party to the agreements, the GAC has played a pivotal role representing Mirarr in the
negotiations, which have been ongoing for over a decade.
The agreements will provide for the Mirarr Traditional Owners to receive an increased share of financial benefits from the Ranger mine. A regional Sustainability Trust will be created, to which the GAC and ERA will each contribute, and a Relationship Committee established to ensure effective information sharing and dialogue between ERA and GAC.
ERA Chief Executive Mr Rob Atkinson said: ‘We look forward to signing the agreements which will address a range of historical issues. Finalisation of the agreements will also reflect collaboration between ERA and the GAC as we continue to work together on matters of mutual interest such as improving water management on the Ranger Project Area, rehabilitation planning, and planning for the future of Jabiru.’
ERA recently commenced a study into the feasibility of underground mining of the Ranger 3 Deeps deposit. GAC Executive Officer Mr Justin O’Brien commented that ‘The Mirarr want to ensure they have a say about any future mining on their land. We retain an open mind and look forward to the results of the Ranger 3 Deeps exploration drilling to assist our decision-making. The current negotiations, which do reflect improved relations between Mirarr and ERA, do not relate to the Ranger 3 Deeps underground mine proposal. They do, however, aim to mitigate some of the historical political and financial concerns associated with the 1978 Ranger Uranium Mine arrangements.’
Mr O’Brien said: ‘We look forward to implementation of these agreements. Existing GAC initiatives such as the Djidbidjidbi Residential College and local business development, and the good work currently being undertaken by ERA in such areas as managing waste water, provide opportunity for and recognise the rights and responsibilities of Mirarr. These agreements provide a foundation for ongoing engagement and co-operation.’