03 Nov 2010

NT Government opposes uranium mine

by Margaret Michaels, David Foran

The Northern Territory Government is opposed to a uranium mine at Angela Pamela, but the decision is up to the Federal Government.

The Northern Territory Government recently announced that it would not support the establishment of a uranium mine at Angela Pamela, about 20 kilometres south of Alice Springs.

The Northern Territory Government had previously issued an Exploration Licence to a joint venture of Cameco Australia and Paladin Energy Ltd under the Mining Act 1982 (NT). The area had been reserved from occupation under the Mining Act until December 2006, and the lifting of the reservation from occupation attracted significant interest. The Cameco-Paladin application for an Exploration Licence was eventually chosen from 37 applications received by the Government.

This recent announcement has caused concern about the level of uncertainty this introduces for the mining industry and its potential investors, although the Chief Minister said that the Government does not oppose the establishment of other uranium mines in the Northern Territory.

Although the Northern Territory Government has signalled its opposition, any decision regarding the establishment of the mine will be made by the Federal Government.

Under the self-government legislation, ownership of all minerals in the Northern Territory vests in the Northern Territory Government except for certain prescribed substances including uranium, ownership of which vests in the Commonwealth under the Atomic Energy Act 1953 (Cth).

The Mining Act (NT) requires the relevant Northern Territory Minister to exercise his or her powers in accordance with, and give effect to, the advice of the relevant Federal Minister in relation to uranium (except in relation to the grant of Exploration Licences). The Federal Minister's position is not known.


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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.