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Proposed Lake Torrens Iron Ore Project Knocked Back

An exploration bid by a mining company was shot down by a court in Adelaide as it ruled in favour of native title claimants.

The enormous mineral deposit at Lake Torrens located in the far north of South Australia was what Straits Exploration had requested drilling access to. The salt lake is 60 kms north of Port Augusta. However negotiations to reach an agreement with the native title holders failed.

The Environment Resources and Development Court had been asked by the company to authorize drilling at the proposed project site. This is despite the opposition to mining in the area by the Kokatha Uwankara people who cite the site has sacred significance. Their longstanding and consistently voiced opposition to the mining weighed against the approval for the project.

The company chairman Patrick Elliott had described the prospective mine as a huge iron ore copper gold target in the right geological setting. A mine which they hoped to develop with the joint venture partner Argonaut Resources and one which does not seem too close to exploration or development after the ruling.

The court has ruled that there was a genuine and significant native title claim on the land after it heard the evidence presented by the natives. Judge Sydney Tilmouth said in his judgment on Friday that the public interest in exploring a geological anomaly below Lake Torrens was only marginal.

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