Jabiluka is a uranium deposit and mine development in the Northern
Territory of Australia that was to
have been built on land belonging to the Mirrar Aboriginal people. The mine site is
surrounded by, but not part of, the World
Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.
First discovered in the 1960s, the deposit was one of a number of
Uranium deposits that were the subject of the Fox Enquiry. As a
result of this enquiry, the Jabiluka mining lease and two others
were created along with Kakadu National Park. Feasibility works
into the development of the mine were well progressed at the time
of the Australian
federal election, 1983
, which saw the Australian Labour Party
take government. Under this government, an export licence for the
Uranium was unlikely to have been granted and the project
development was stopped. Energy Resources of Australia Ltd bought
the deposit from Pancontinental and proceeded without background
work. Upon the election of the Howard
, the project was
once again placed into development.
the issue came to a head when Jacqui Katona
and Yvonne Margarula
, of the Mirrar people,
called on activists to come from around Australia and the world to
blockade the construction of the mine by Energy Resources of Australia
(ERA). Over 500 people were arrested in the course of the
ERA developed the surface infrastructure and the decline down to
the ore-body to allow for further definition of the resource.
Falling uranium prices prevented the project from proceeding.
parent company, North Ltd, was bought
by Rio Tinto Group, who announced
that the mine will not go ahead - at least until their nearby
mine is mined out.
The Mirrar people continue to agitate to have Rio Tinto clean up
the mine site and have it restored in keeping with the surrounding
National Park. On August 12
rehabilitation works commenced on the Jabiluka
site, 50,000 tonnes of material from the mine were put back down
the decline at Jabiluka, filling up 1.2 km of decline.
The 1997 documentary film, Jabiluka
, was produced and
directed by David
The Jabiluka Long-Term Care and Maintenance Agreement
signed in February 2005
gives the traditional
owners veto rights over future development of Jabiluka. However, in
2007, Rio Tinto suggested that the mine could reopen one day.
- Uranium Mining in the Northern Territory
- The reel story on Jabiluka
- ERA website - Jabiluka Agreement accessed: 23
- Rio's Jabiluka talk causes anger