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Ranger Uranium Project: Section 44 Agreement

Category: Agreement
Date: 3 November 1978
Sub Category:Exploration Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act) | Mining Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act)
Location:Ranger Project Area, Northern Territory, Australia
The Ranger Project Area is 250 km east of Darwin, surrounded by the Kakadu National Park.
Subject Matter:Economic Development | Employment and Training | Cultural Heritage | Environmental Heritage | Mining and Minerals | Compensation
Summary Information:
The Section 44 Agreement (the Agreement) is dated the 3 November 1978 and is made between the Commonwealth Government (the Commonwealth) and the Northern Land Council (NLC), pursuant to s 44 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 Cth. The Ranger Project area (RPA) became Aboriginal land when the Commonwealth Government implemented a recommendation of the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry (27 May 1977) that Aboriginal claims to vacant crown land in the Alligator Rivers Region be granted. An agreement between the Commonwealth Government and the NLC as representative of the interests of the Aboriginal Traditional Owners was therefore necessary.
Detailed Information:
The Agreement covers the following matters, amongst other things:

  • Payments to be made by the Commonwealth to the NLC by way of royalties for mining on Aboriginal land and other payments, as follows:

    - An annual rental of $200,000;
    - $1.3 million payable in five installments from execution of the Agreement until commencement of full-scale uranium production;
    - $600,000 payable in four installments to meet the administrative costs of the NLC.
    The way in which monies were distributed by the NLC to Aboriginal people was not covered by the Agreement. However, the NLC distributed the annual rental and 'up-front' monies of $1.3 million to the Gagadju Association whose members are, broadly, those with traditional ties to the RPA;

  • Environmental requirements;

  • Operations of the plant and the mine within the RPA;

  • Access to the RPA;

  • Rehabilitation of the RPA;

  • Health monitoring;

  • The formation of an Aboriginal Liaison Committee and the appointment of an Aboriginal Traditional Owner as Liaison Officer;

  • Employment and training: The Agreement states that 'as many local Aboriginals as is practicable' are to be employed where they are capable of 'carrying out in a satisfactory manner the particular work required'. A training scheme is to be set up to teach Aboriginal people to drive and to operate plant used in mining operations. 'All practicable steps' are to be taken to 'adjust working hours and conditions to suit the needs and culture of Aboriginal employees';

  • Local business development: support and encouragement is to be given to the setting up of and the use of local Aboriginal enterprises and businesses providing goods and services to the mine operation;

  • Control of liquor to the RPA;

  • Rights of Traditional Owners to exercise their traditional use or occupation of any part of the RPA;

  • Protection of sacred sites;

  • Instruction for non-Aboriginal employees and the promotion of knowledge, understanding and respect in Aboriginal culture;

  • Periodic review of the Agreement at the end of each five year period; and

  • Term of the Agreement: which is for a period of 26 years from the 9 January 1979, unless the Agreement is terminated, renewed or extended. Mining is to cease after 21 years, unless the Agreement is terminated, renewed or extended, but the Agreement continues for a further five years to allow for the carrying out of rehabilitation work.

  • Related Entries

    Agreement
  • Ranger Uranium Project: Government Agreement as Amended (12 September 1980)
  • Organisation
  • Gagadju Association
  • Northern Land Council - Signatory
  • Commonwealth of Australia - Signatory
  • Legislation
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)

  • References

    Book
    Ciaran O'Faircheallaigh (2002) A New Approach to Policy Evaluation: Mining and Indigenous People
    Commonwealth Department of Trade and Resources (1980) Ranger Uranium Project Deed to Amend the Government Agreement
    Commonwealth Department of Trade and Resources (1980) Ranger Uranium Project Deed of Assignment

    Glossary

    Mining Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)) (Australia) | Exploration Agreement (Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)) (Australia)

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