Miner pledges to protect Aboriginal sacred sites
THE Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) says it wants McArthur River Mine (MRM) to commit to properly engaging with custodians about its expansion plans 45km southwest of Borroloola.
AAPA says there are 21 sacred sites and several significant heritage sites located within and in the vicinity of the mine site.
The Northern Territory government has approved MRM's amended Mining Management Plan for an expansion of the mine, that includes increasing its rock waste dump, or Northern Overburden Emplacement Facility, to 140m.
The new Mining Management Plan requires valid certificates from the AAPA before work can begin.
MRM general manager Steven Rooney said the Mine Management Plan approval explicitly required MRM to work within the conditions of all of its AAPA-issued certificates.
"We comply with the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act and have robust internal processes in place to ensure the protection of sacred sites," he said.
"We continue to work with AAPA to allow for the placement of overburden rock higher than 80m on our North Overburden Emplacement Facility (NOEF).
"The current height of the NOEF does not exceed 80m."
NT Mines Minister Nicole Manison said the McArthur River Mine approval had provided certainty for one of the biggest mine operations in the Northern Territory.
"We expect them to comply with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, which is responsible for overseeing the protection of Aboriginal sacred sites on land and sea across the whole of Australia's Northern Territory," Ms Manison said.
"This is about supporting jobs."
Mr Rooney said the approval was great news for MRM's 1100 workers, in addition to local employees and its many business partners and suppliers in the Northern Territory.
"It provides certainty for our employees and stakeholders, and reflects our ongoing commitment to managing a safe and responsible mining operation," Mr Rooney said.
Originally published as Miner pledges to protect Aboriginal sacred sites