NT Government stands up for Kakadu National Park

Publish Date:
5th June 2024

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Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler has today published a significant notice in the Government Gazette that secures the future of the Jabiluka Aboriginal Land Trust.

Mirarr Traditional Owners applaud NT Mines Minister Mark Monaghan for creating a reserved land area over Jabiluka. This means from today the land is protected from any new mine proposals in the same way that no mining can happen within Nitmiluk National Park (Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls).

Senior Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula said:

“Today, the Chief Minister has kept her word. Eva Lawler understands the Northern Territory, she respects Bininj culture. She and her Mines Minister have done the right thing for Kakadu National Park. This announcement gives us certainty about the future when the mining lease ends. I thank Eva Lawler and Mark Monaghan for listening to Mirarr.”

Jabiluka is located in the very heart of Kakadu and shares the same natural values as the entire World Heritage listed landscape. It is also a place of extraordinary and unique cultural heritage significance. This has all been locked away for 42 years because of the mining lease. There are no plans for mining at Jabiluka. Rio Tinto, the major shareholder no longer reports Jabiluka as an asset and the lease will expire in August this year.

Despite being out of money and neck deep in rising rehabilitation costs at the adjacent Ranger mine, mining company Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) made a last-ditch application to extend the Jabiluka lease in March this year.

“This was why we met with the Chief Minister and Mining Minister in April.” said next generation Traditional Owner Corben Mudjandi. “Who knows how long ERA will be around? ERA is in financial trouble and shareholders are fighting amongst themselves. We doubt whether such an old mining lease can be extended. Mirarr have always said we will never agree to mining at Jabiluka. This is sacred country and needs protection.”

The decision about whether to approve a 10 year extension of the Jabiluka lease formally requires the advice of the Federal Minister for Resources. The special reservation announced today – World Environment Day - under Territory legislation paves the way for a decision by the Commonwealth to incorporate this stunning cultural landscape within the Kakadu World Heritage Area once the mining lease expires.

For background, to arrange interviews or photos contact: Kirsten Blair 0412 853 641