The Northern Land Council (NLC) has applauded a Supreme Court decision which effectively ceases expansion operations at the McArthur River mine in the Northern Territory.
In October last year the Territory’s Mines Minister Chris Natt approved Xstrata’s plan to turn the McArthur River mine, near Borroloola, into an open cut operation. Traditional Aboriginal owners argued the approval process was flawed because the Territory Government failed to follow proper procedures under the Mines Management Act or take environmental concerns into consideration.
Today Justice David Angel ruled in favour of the traditional owners. The NLC’s Norman Fry says it vindicates those who opposed the expansion. “You simply can’t trample over the rights of traditional Aboriginal people from Borroloola and McArthur River region,” he said. “You simply cannot trample over the environmental processes in 2007 that you could in the 1960s and ’70s. It’s just not on.”
A statement released by McArthur River Mining says the company is disappointed with the decision and it will consider the judgement carefully. Mr Natt says the Government will review the reasons for the Supreme Court’s decision and examine all legal avenues before commenting on the decision.