Glencore notes the comments made by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) in relation to McArthur River Mine (MRM) at the parliamentary inquiry public hearing. The head of a Northern Territory oversight authority said that a range of locations including a historical quarry was in danger.
McArthur River Mine (MRM) received approval from the territory’s mining minister last year to proceed with expansion at the mine, 670 km (420 miles) southeast of Darwin, including doubling the size of its waste dump. The approval came despite an objection by an authority responsible for protecting traditional sites and amid greater scrutiny of miners’ dealings with Indigenous groups after Rio Tinto destroyed ancient rockshelters in Western Australia for an iron ore mine expansion last year.
Benedict Scambary, chief executive of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, questioned whether Glencore had the authority to expand its mine.
“The scale of the mine expansion raises some quite serious questions about the maintenance and protection of sacred sites on that lease and also access to those places for custodians into the future,” he said.
Approval now rests with the Northern Territory mining minister.
Glencore said in a statement: “we want to be very clear that we have no intention of physically interfering with or damaging any Indigenous Sacred Site on our mining lease at MRM.”
“We operate under stringent conditions set down through Northern Territory and Federal legislation as well as conditions of Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority certificates, designed to protect Sacred Sites.”
“We take our obligations to protect Sacred Sites on our mining lease very seriously and we are meeting these obligations. “
“Glencore is committed to working together and considering the views of all stakeholders, particularly our local traditional owners and custodians. MRM will continue to engage with AAPA to ensure we have the necessary approvals for any future mining plans. We are committed to operating a safe, responsible and environmentally sustainable mining operation.”
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