Dozers rolling at Jabiluka Rehabilitation work commences at Kakadu mine-site

August 15, 2003

Dozers rolling at Jabiluka
Rehabilitation work commences at Kakadu mine-site

Australian Conservation Foundation
Environment Centre of the Northern Territory
Friends of the Earth Australia

Environment groups have welcomed the start of rehabilitation work this week at the Jabiluka uranium mine-site. A report on last night's ABC 7-30 Report confirmed that mining company Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) began putting uranium back down the mine on Tuesday.

"This is a huge win for the Mirrar traditional owners, environment groups and the many thousands of people across Australia and around the world who have opposed this mine," said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney. "It is a major step forward in the protection of the natural and cultural values of Kakadu for all time and a tribute to people's efforts and actions."

Rehabilitation of the Jabiluka site is a major step towards the final resolution of one of the largest environmental, indigenous and anti-nuclear
struggles in Australia. Work at Jabiluka has been stalled since September 1999 and the issue has been a major embarrassment for ERA's parent company, the British based global mining giant, Rio Tinto.

In the coming weeks 50,000 tonnes of uranium ore will be re-buried at Jabiluka and the mine entrance will be sealed. Rehabilitation work is
expected to take up to 2 months and will safeguard the Kakadu wetlands downstream of Jabiluka prior to the Top End's wet season.

"Traditional owners and environment groups set out to stop this mine in 1996. With the bulldozers now rolling towards rehabilitation this has
happened," said ECNT Coordinator Mark Wakeham. "Work at Jabiluka should never have been started and it is great news that it has now been stopped."

"Rehabilitation signals the closing of a key chapter in the Jabiluka story. Now we look forward to the signing an agreement which will ensure that any future development of the mine would require the explicit consent of the Mirrar people, the region's traditional Aboriginal owners and the leaders in the campaign against Jabiluka," said Mark Wakeham.

For comment or to obtain a background note on Jabiluka:

Dave Sweeney
ACF nuclear campaigner
Mob: 0408 317 812

Loretta O'Brien
Friends of the Earth
Mob: 0418 178 053