Traditional owners want Jabiluka protected (ABC News, 2011, en)

The Jabiluka mine was the subject of protests in the late 1990s. ERA retains the right to mine the site. Traditional owners want uranium mine to become part of Kakadu by Michael Coggan Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) News April 7, 2011  Aboriginal traditional owners say they want the massive Jabiluka uranium deposit in the Northern Territory to remain undeveloped and be incorporated into Kakadu National Park. Motivated by events at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the traditional owners of Energy Resources of Australia's (ERA) Jabiluka deposit say they want it incorporated into the world heritage-listed park. In the late 1990s, thousands of Australians protested against plans to mine uranium at Jabiluka. While ERA won a fight for the right to mine the world's largest known undeveloped uranium deposit, the Mirrar Aboriginal traditional owners refused to give the company permission to build the mill it needed to process the uranium, and the mine shaft was filled in. ERA retains the right to mine the site, but now the Mirrar people are declaring a wish to have Jabiluka incorporated into Kakadu. In an interview with Fairfax newspapers, traditional owner Yvonne Margarula says she is "really happy about it becoming part of the national park". "My nephews and nieces can look after the country," she said. It is a sentiment echoed in an interview with the ABC in 2009. "My country is important for me. Caring my country in our care, the country where I've grow up." In an indication of why the Mirrar people want Jabiluka to become a part of Kakadu, Ms Margarula this week has written to United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon expressing the Mirrar's great sadness at the suffering of the people in Japan from the earthquake, tsunami and the emergency at the Fukushima plant. In the letter, Ms Margarula says the nuclear industry is something "we have never supported in the past and that we want no part of into the future". "Given the long history between Japanese nuclear companies and Australian uranium mines, it is likely the radiation problems at Fukushima are in part at least fuelled by uranium derived from our traditional lands," she said. The Mirrar people are foregoing billions of dollars in potential mining royalties, but Ms Margarula says money is not as important as looking after their country. 
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