Jabiluka stopped! When we act together, people listen!

October 31, 2003

National environment group Friends of the Earth (FoE) will join with people at parties across Australia today celebrating the shelving of the ill-fated Jabiluka uranium mine in Kakadu. The national celebrations mark the completed re-burial of over 50,000 tonnes of unprocessed uranium ore at the controversial site this week.

"From Melbourne to Perth and from Jabiru to Byron Bay people will be celebrating this historic and hard fought victory," said FoE campaigner Loretta O'Brien.

The campaign to stop Jabiluka has been one of Australia's longest environment and indigenous rights campaigns and gained national attention in 1998 when over 5000 people travelled to Kakadu to blockade the proposed mine. More than 500 people, including the Mirrar senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula, were arrested for non-violent protest during this time.

Friends of the Earth have today acknowledged the inspirational efforts of the Mirrar traditional owners, who have resisted uranium mining on their land for thirty years.

"The Mirrar people have fought a David and Goliath battle and now, with the support of people across Australia and around the world, they are winning," said Loretta O'Brien. "The fact that there is no mine at Jabiluka today is a credit to the power of both indigenous resistance and creative and concerted community action."

Mining giant Rio Tinto acquired the Jabiluka project in a takeover of North Ltd in August 2000 and is currently negotiating with traditional owners to formalise an Agreement that would require Mirrar consent for any future development at Jabiluka.

"We welcome Rio Tinto's rehabilitation of the mine site and urge them to give effect to their commitment for a formal Agreement with the traditional owners," said Binnie O'Dwyer, spokesperson for FoE Sydney. "Cleaning up the mess and respecting the traditional landowners human rights are key steps in resolving this issue forever."

"Friends of the Earth has been privileged to be part of a campaign that drew people together from all walks of life under a common banner for a better future," said Jim Green of FoE Australia. "The rehabilitation of Jabiluka is a huge step toward a just and sustainable future for Australia and the world."

For information and comment:

Loretta O'Brien
Melbourne
Mob: 0418 178 053

Jim Green
Adelaide
Mob: 0417 318 368

Binnie O'Dwyer
Sydney
Mob: 0417 476 720