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TO aspirations ruined after mine closures

Posted: Thu, June 18, 2015

WDR’s operations ceased earlier this year.

THE Northern Land Council says the collapse of two iron ore mines in its region has ruined the aspirations of Aboriginal Traditional Owners, and affected communities who were expecting jobs and economic development to flow from the operations.

The NLC's 110th Full Council meeting in Barunga this week has been briefed about the impact of the closure of the Western Desert Resources mine and the Sherwin Iron mine.

Both mines were put into receivership last year and at the Barunga meeting Traditional Owners from the NLC's Ngukurr region expressed anger at their collapse.

"Traditional Owners entered into good faith negotiations and gave their consent to these mines. They are now left seriously out of pocket and the promise of jobs for Aboriginal workers in the Ngukurr area has evaporated," NLC Chairman Mr Sam Bush-Blanasi said.

"Western Desert Resources have not delivered any royalties to Traditional Owners on top of substantial administrative costs owed to the NLC.

"As well, there are outstanding questions about how environmental rehabilitation will be funded, after significant developments have already taken place in both these mine sites.

"At a time when the Federal Government is talking up developing the north, Aboriginal people who hold the majority legal interests and are forecast to be the majority of the rural population, remain highly cautious about promises of jobs and riches."