The Mirrar Traditional owners of the Ranger Uranium Mine area announced they would not support any lease extension beyond 2021, effectively ending the prospects of ERA as a profitable mining company.
Last week Energy Resources Australia announced it would not go ahead with the final feasibility study for the Ranger 3 Deeps underground project, wiping nearly 50 per cent from its value on the ASX in only ten minutes on Friday morning.
On Thursday ERA suggested in an announcement to the ASX that it had commenced discussions with traditional owners and Commonwealth Government about extending their authority to mine at Ranger beyond 2021, however the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) and Mirrar traditional owners announced on Friday afternoon that they would not support any extended term of mining at Ranger due to fears about the prospect of the Jabiluka Mine.
“We take this position because of our experience of 30 years of environmental and cultural impacts at Ranger and because in our talks with Rio Tinto and the Australian government we have been given no guarantee that Ranger will be the last uranium mine in Kakadu,” GAC said.
“The Mirarr remain fundamentally opposed to Jabiluka’s development – that opposition is intergenerational.
“We are concerned about the lack of adequate planning for Jabiluka’s final rehabilitation and its incorporation into Kakadu National Park.”
Rio Tinto expressed it would not support further study or development of the Ranger 3 Deeps project, and would assist ERA with a conditional credit facility to fund rehabilitation of the Ranger site.
Rio also announced they were assessing a non-cash impairment of US$300 million as a result of their devalued 67 per cent shareholding in ERA.
ERA said on Friday that the board remained committed to its approach for the Ranger 3 Deeps project and would further engage with Rio Tinto to “understand the implications of their position for this approach”.