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Northern Territory Traditional Land Owners Unhappy with Gove Peninsula Deal

Traditional land owners are dissatisfied with a mining lease agreement with Rio Tinto Alcan in the Northern Territory. Several Aboriginal clan groups have claimed that they had not been consulted about the agreement that was signed between the Yolgnu people and the subsidiary of Rio Tinto.

The clans that constitute the Dhurili nation include the Datiwuy, Golumala, Marrakula and the Marranga. The clans in question are considering taking legal action over the new lease agreement against the federal government and the Northern Land Council.

Their leader Aboriginal elder Reverend Djiniyini Gondarra said that they planned to boycott the official signing ceremony of the mining lease agreement which is to take place in Arnhem Land as they feel that the traditional land owners of the affected area have not been properly consulted.

Elcho Island elder and uniting church minister Djiniyini Gondarra added that as a result, the clans of the Dhurili nation consider that their rights under Australian and traditional Aboriginal law have been breached, and that they have been improperly excluded from the negotiation process. He added that colonisation was still happening today, creating disharmony, by people ignoring due process.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin and Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson, are all scheduled to attend the celebration at Yirrkala, south of Nhulunbuy on Wednesday

The agreement allows Rio Tinto to continue the operations of the bauxite mine and aluminum refinery in the Gove Peninsula for the next 42 years. The mine has been in operation since 1969 and without the permission of the traditional landowners.

Joel Scanlon

Written by

Joel Scanlon

Joel emigrated to Australia in 1995 and worked for five years in the mining industry as an exploration geotechnician, using GIS mapping and CAD software. Upon moving to the North Coast of NSW, Australia Joel worked as a graphic designer for a leading consultancy firm. After that, he ran a successful business providing web services to businesses along the eastern seaboard of Australia. During this time, he developed and launched News-Medical.Net. Joel has been working with AZoNetwork since the company was founded in 2000.

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