Macklin supports Gove decision

Federal indigenous minister Jenny Macklin has supported the Gove mining lease agreement between the Northern Land Council and Rio Tinto.

She also dismissed the claims of Arnhem land residents who say they were not consulted, the ABC reports.

Rio Tinto Alcan’s Gove bauxite and alumina mine and smelter received approval for a forty year mining lease last week.

This mining lease, which covers more than 22 000 hectares; is the first time such a long term was negotiated with traditional land owners rather than the federal government.

A number of people have contacted Macklin, claiming they are the traditional owners and have gone unrecgonised.

Arnhem land elder Dr Djiniyinni Gondarra of the Drurili Nation stated that he was not consulted.

However, the NLC stated that the right people were spoken to, with Macklin supporting the council.

"Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act it is the responsibility of the Northern Land Council to consult the relevant groups and I am satisfied they have done that," Macklin said.

Royalty payments from the miner are predicted to be more than $15 million a year.

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