McArthur River Mine decision a victory for traditional owners

Northern Land Council (NLC) Chief Executive, Norman Fry, today declared that the judgment of the Northern Territory Court of Appeal in relation to McArthur River Mine was a victory for traditional owners.

“The only reason the Full Bench upheld McArthur River Mine’s appeal was because of the unfair and undemocratic retrospective legislation introduced by Chris Natt, which prevented the Court from considering Justice Angel’s decision.” 

“The Court refused to hear McArthur River Mine’s legal arguments. 

“The Full Court recognised the unfairness of the legislation to traditional owners by preserving Justice Angel’s decision that the Northern Territory Government and the mine pay the traditional owners’ legal costs of the court case,” said Mr Fry.

Traditional owners will continue their fight for justice including in Federal Court proceedings which resume on 30 July 2007 in Darwin.

2 responses to “McArthur River Mine decision a victory for traditional owners

  1. Congratulatons to the the NLC and BTEG on the outcome of this latest legal tussle with MRM and the NT Government. Given that the Court has its hands tied under the new legislation, the decision to refuse to hear MRM’s legal arguments and award costs against MRM and the NT Govt speaks volumes from the Court. The judges are not happy.

    I wish the Traditional Owners well with their Federal Court action. May justice prevail.

  2. Check out MRM’s media release:
    SUPREME COURT APPEAL HEARD AND DECIDED TODAY
    Darwin, 18 July 2007

    The Darwin Supreme Court has today upheld McArthur River Mining’s appeal against the
    decision of 30 April 2007 which had found the Northern Territory Government approval of the
    mine’s open pit development was invalid.

    After a hearing in the Court of Appeal today, Chief Justice Martin and Justices Riley and
    Southwood found that legislation passed by the Northern Territory Government on 4 May 2007
    had effectively overturned the previous decision by Justice Angel.

    MRM General Manager, Mr Brian Hearne, said he is pleased with the result as it provides legal
    validation to the McArthur River Project Amendment (Ratification of Mining Authorities) Act
    2007 which enabled the mine’s $110 million open pit development to proceed.

    “It remains business as usual at MRM and the open pit development is continuing to proceed
    on schedule,” he said.

    Ends

    For more informationFor more informationFor more informationFor more information
    http://www.mcarthurriver.com.au
    Project helpline: 1800 211 573

    Xstrata contactsXstrata contactsXstrata contactsXstrata contacts
    Sue Sara, GM Corporate Affairs and Social Responsibility, Qld/NT, Xstrata
    Telephone +61 (0)7 3295 7535
    Mobile +61 (0)411 206 090
    Email suesara@xstrata.com.au

    Joanne Pafumi, Rowland Communication
    Telephone +61 (0)7 3229 4499
    Mobile +61 (0) 411 759 683
    Email joanne.pafumi@rowland.com.au

    Here’s my response:
    Dear Ms Sara,
    I was amused that, when commenting on the Court of Appeals recent ruling:
    “MRM General Manager, Mr Brian Hearne, said he is pleased with the result as it provides legal
    validation to the McArthur River Project Amendment (Ratification of Mining Authorities) Act
    2007″…
    What a specious action on MRM’s part. And a waste of the Courts time. The outcome was inevitable given that the judges were unable to address Justice Angel’s decision on the 30th April against the approval of MRM’s “expansion” due to the above mentioned amendment.
    Nor is there any “validation”. It’s about the application of law. In this instance, the judges did all they could in a shonky situation: refused to hear MRM’s legal arguments and awarded costs against MRM and the NT Government. Brian Hearne might be pleased. Clearly the judges weren’t.
    I note that information wasn’t included in the media release.
    MRM and “Social Responsibility”, now that is an oxymoron.
    Please forward this to Mr Hearne.

    Writing emails make be a brief annoyance to MRM but it’s something! Thanks for keeping the info flowing!

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