Mirrar In The News

Guardian: ERA shares plunge as Mirarr reject expansion

16 Oct 2015

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation has formally told Energy Resources Australia they are against extension plans of the Ranger uranium deposit

Shares in Energy Resources of Australia have plunged more than 20% after Kakadu’s traditional owners rejected the miner’s plans to expand development of the Ranger uranium deposit.

The community’s opposition could mean the Rio Tinto-owned miner has to write down the value of its assets.

Shares in ERA fell 25% to a low of 29 cents on Thursday before recovering slightly to 30.5c at the session’s close.

The company has authority for mining and processing activities at the Ranger mine, which lies inside Kakadu national park, until January 2021, and is allowed access to carry out rehabilitation activities until January 2026.

ERA had hoped to extend the dates so it could develop the Ranger 3 Deeps underground deposit.

However the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which acts for the Mirarr traditional owners, has formally told ERA it is against any extension.

ERA said it will continue to process ore from existing stockpiles and will undertake a review of its business in light of the decision.

The company lost half its board earlier this year after it put on hold feasibility studies to mine the Ranger 3 Deeps deposit because of a sluggish uranium market.

ERA has said it would need to extend its operations beyond the present authority, which expires in 2021, for the project to proceed.

But Rio Tinto has completely withdrawn its support for ERA’s plans to mine the Ranger 3 Deeps underground deposit.

“Since June 2015, the traditional owners have become increasingly concerned that the difference of views between ERA and Rio Tinto remained unresolved,” said a statement from the Gundjeihmi corporation, adding its support to Rio Tinto’s plans for ERA.

“The Mirarr now require certainty that ERA has access to the funds necessary to discharge its rehabilitation obligations at Ranger. That rehabilitation must ensure that the Ranger Project Area is rehabilitated such that it can be incorporated into the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.”

The group called on ERA to secure full funding from Rio Tinto for the complete rehabilitation of the Ranger site post 2012, and the Jabiluka mineral lease at the eventual closure of ERA’s interest there.

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation has previously demanded ERA produce a comprehensive plan for the clean-up of the site, which must be reintegrated into the surrounding national park by 2026.

http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/oct/16/energy-resources-shares-plunge-after-traditional-owners-reject-jabiluka-uranium-expansion