SA Government to appeal mining ban

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The South Australian Government has applied to the High Court to appeal a judgment banning Argonaut Resources from operating on land contested to be an Aboriginal heritage site.

In a statement yesterday junior explorer Argonaut Resources confirmed the SA Government would be attempting to fight the ruling.

"The State contends that the Full Court erred in overturning the approval previously granted by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to the Torrens Joint Venture," it said.

"In the event the appeal is allowed by the High Court, the Torrens Joint Venture has been advised that it may be possible for an expedited hearing to be heard in approximately eight months."

Last month Argonaut Resources criticised SA mining and native title regulation after the Supreme Court ordered it to stop operations.

The company said it had wasted time and money in an uncertain environment and the court’s ruling effectively provided a mechanism to "veto exploration and mining activities".

The chair of the Andyamathanha Traditional Land Association, Vince Coulthard, previously rejected Argonaut’s claims.

Coulthard said there was no legislation to provide Aboriginal people with the power to veto developments, and Traditional Owners were not opposed to mining.

He said mining operations had to work in "conjunction with Aboriginal people".

Argonaut said it was concerned the litigation would only serve to extend uncertainty, and called on the Government to amend the law itself.

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