Key Points: The Northern Territory Government is opposed to a uranium
mine at Angela Pamela, but the decision is up to the Federal
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
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It is a common misconception that the grant of mining tenure, whether it be an Exploration Permit, Mineral Development Licence or Mining Lease, will entitle the holder to access all land within it in order to explore or mine.
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