ERA finalise agreement at Ranger

Alison Bevege
NT News

URANIUM miner Energy Resources of Australia has signed an agreement with traditional owners in a major breakthrough for the company at its Ranger mine.

It does not address any new mining at Ranger 3 Deeps or Jabiluka.

Instead it covers additional benefits for the Mirarr people and sets out ways they can work with the company in the future.

The finalisation of the mining agreement is a major negotiating breakthrough and a coup for ERA chief executive Rob Atkinson.

It signals a major improvement in relations between Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) which represents the Mirarr traditional owners and the mining company.

Mr Atkinson said the negotiations had involved complex legal, cultural and operational considerations and had taken years of hard work by all parties.

This progress reflects the strengthening relationship between ERA and the GAC," he said.

"ERA is strongly committed to recognising Mirarr rights and obligations ... it is particularly important that the Mirarr are fully informed and have a say about any future mining on their land."

Negotiations with GAC stretched out for more than a decade until Ranger mine, about 230km east of Darwin, ran out of new ore to mine.

Ranger - which once produced 10 per cent of the world's uranium - is now being rehabilitated with production coming from stockpiled ore reserves.

Key features of the finalised agreement include:

- INCREASED financial benefits from Ranger for the Mirarr traditional owners;

- A REGIONAL sustainability trust to deliver social initiatives. ERA and Gundjeihmi are both represented on the trust and would each contribute yearly funds;

- A RELATIONSHIP committee to be immediately established for effective information sharing;

- AN AGREED approach on increasing local Aboriginal employment, business and training opportunities.

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