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NLC Chairman delighted the future of Gove is secure

Posted: Wed, February 13, 2013

NLC Chairman Wali Wunungmurra is delighted the future of Gove is secure

Northern Land Council (NLC) Chairman Mr Wali Wunungmurra has expressed his delight with today’s announcement that Rio Tinto will commit to continuing its operation at Gove.

Mr Wunungmurra, also a senior traditional owner of the area, said it was a very significant decision by the mining giant – one that affects thousands of people in north-east Arnhem Land.

“Many Aboriginal people in the region benefit from the services that are in Nhulunbuy purely because of the mine,” Mr Wunungmurra said.

“If those hospitals, schools and shops had closed down, it would have hurt our community badly.

“Further to that, traditional owners signed a historic 42-year-agreement with Rio Tinto in 2011. We would have stood to lose many benefits including a lot of jobs if this deal had not been struck.”

Mr Wunungmurra also emphasised that today’s announcement was fantastic news not only for Yolngu people – but all Territorians too – and congratulated the relevant stakeholders for their work in getting the deal done.

Today’s commitment from Rio Tinto comes two days after Northern Territory Chief Minister Terry Mills advised that sufficient gas supplies had been secured to power Pacific Aluminium’s alumina refinery, while not compromising the supply requirements for the rest of the Territory.

Work will now begin on building a pipe line from the Stuart Highway, near Katherine, to Nhulunbuy.

“Today’s announcement kicks off a big process of negotiations, with almost the entire proposed route of the pipeline covering Aboriginal land.”

Mr Wunungmurra said the NLC were well placed to begin these negotiations with preliminary work having already begun last year.


For a PDF version of the media release, click here.