ESG, News, Rio Tinto, Uranium

ERA looks to extend Jabiluka agreement


Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has lodged an application with the Northern Territory Government to renew its mineral lease at the Jabiluka uranium project in the NT.

The current lease – which is set to expire in August – provides the Mirarr Traditional Owners with the right to veto any future development at Jabiluka. The long-term care and maintenance agreement has been in place since 2005.

ERA said renewing the mineral lease will extend the veto right for the Mirarr People.

“We believe the renewal of ERA’s mineral lease is the best way to protect Jabiluka’s cultural heritage,” ERA chief executive officer Brad Welsh said.

“ERA has protected the cultural heritage at Jabiluka for almost two decades under a long-term agreement with the Mirarr Traditional Owners that also includes a veto right over any future development. The agreement and veto right only remain in place if the lease is renewed.”

ERA – which is majority owned by Rio Tinto – has never mined at Jabiluka as the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Mirarr Traditional Owners, have repeatedly opposed the project’s development and its mineral lease being renewed.

The company said while the Jabiluka mineral lease possesses a “large, high-quality uranium ore body of global significance”, it doesn’t have a development plan in place for the deposit.

“We stand by and acknowledge the Mirarr people’s consistent opposition to developing Jabiluka,” a Rio Tinto spokesperson told The Australian Financial Review.

“As such, we support their aim to work with stakeholders, such as the Northern Territory and Federal Governments and ERA, to ensure Jabiluka’s continued protection.”

Rio Tinto is a major ERA shareholder, owning 86.3 per cent of ERA shares.

ERA previously revealed it’s expecting to spend about $1.2 billion on rehabilitation activities up until the end of 2027. This includes rehabilitating the Ranger uranium mine.

Subscribe to Australian Mining and receive the latest news on product announcements, industry developments, commodities and more.

Send this to a friend