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ACF opposition to uranium mining nothing new.

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17 November 2000            00/530 

ACF OPPOSITION TO URANIUM MINING NOTHING NEW  The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, said claims made today by the Australian Conservation Foundation that Kakadu National Park was threatened by uranium mining operations were unsubstantiated and untrue.

"The ACF has a long track record of opposing the Ranger and Jabiluka uranium mine projects, irrespective of the environmental merits of those operations," Senator Minchin said.

"The ACF remains in denial about Ranger's internationally recognised excellent environmental record.

"In the 20 years of the Ranger mine's development and operation there have been no significant environmental impacts of the mine on the values of Kakadu National Park, as attested to by the Supervising Scientist.

"Jabiluka, as with Ranger, was subject to a very lengthy and stringent environmental assessment process, and will only operate under stringent environmental requirements.

"Reports provided to the World Heritage Committee by the Australian Government and the independent Supervising Scientist have amply demonstrated that the natural World Heritage values of Kakadu will be protected with the development and operation of Jabiluka, as has been the case with Ranger.

"In terms of the speculation that Rio Tinto may sell its recently acquired shareholding in ERA, the stringent environmental requirements placed on Jabiluka's operations by the Commonwealth will continue to be binding irrespective of who controls ERA.

"The so-called 'historic agreement' between the ACF and the Mirrar community in fact represents nothing new insofar as the ACF will always oppose mining irrespective of the facts."

However, this completely ignores the many benefits Aboriginal communities

receive from these mining operations, both in terms of significant royalty payments as well as employment and social opportunities.

ERA has now paid over $155 million in royalties to Aboriginal groups as a result of mining at Ranger since 1981. This is in addition to an estimated $230 million in royalties which will flow to Aboriginal people as a result of Jabiluka over the life of the project.

"Despite the ACF's claims, the Jabiluka mine does not threaten the natural and cultural values of Kakadu National Park in any way," Senator Minchin said.

Contact:  Jennifer Eddy, Senator Minchin's office, 08 8237 7190


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