Rio's stopgap Jabiluka plans a cop out: traditional owners

April 12, 2001


Rio's stopgap Jabiluka plans a cop out: traditional owners

The Traditional Owners of the Jabiluka uranium mine area, the Mirrar People, have today criticised mining giant Rio Tinto for refusing to commit to neither sell nor develop the controversial Jabiluka mine.

Rio Tinto owns the controlling share, 68.4%, of the beleaguered Kakadu uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia (ERA).

Questions on the future of Jabiluka dominated the recently concluded Rio Tinto annual general meeting in London, which heard detailed statements from the floor by Mirrar spokesperson Jacqui Katona.

Ms Katona outlined the legal, commercial and ethical obstacles facing any developer of Jabiluka or future purchaser of ERA.

Speaking from London tonight, Ms Katona said the company's announcement is a cop out and a missed opportunity for Rio.

"Today Rio missed an opportunity to protect the World Heritage values of Kakadu National Park and the cultural integrity of the Mirrar people. Its international corporate reputation will directly suffer as a consequence," Ms Katona said.

Ms Katona added that Rio Tinto's Australian annual general meeting in Sydney on 27 April would be the focus of renewed efforts against the controversial mine.

For further information contact:

Loretta O'Brien
Nuclear Campaign Coordinator
PO Box 222, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Ph: (03) 9419 8700, Fx: (03) 9416 2081
Mobile: 0418 178 053

The Mirrar