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Uranium miner signs Ranger agreements

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DARWIN, Jan 24 AAP

January 24 2013, 2:24PM

After years of negotiations, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) and Aboriginal people have signed agreements for the Ranger uranium mine.

"The negotiations, which involved some very complex legal, cultural, and operational considerations, have taken many years and much hard work by all parties," said ERA chief executive Rob Atkinson

The deals come after 14 years of talks between ERA and Mirarr traditional owners, the Northern Land Council and the federal government.

They cover existing operations at Ranger and historic issues that have been outstanding for years but not future plans for the open-cut mine, located in the Northern Territory's Kakadu National Park.

Under the new deals, Mirarr people will get a greater share of income from the mine and a trust will be set up to deliver social programs in the region.

A Relationship Committee will also be established to ensure better sharing of information between the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), which represents the Mirarr people.

There will also be better job opportunities and training for local Aboriginal people.

"ERA is strongly committed to recognising Mirarr rights and obligations, especially in regard to country and culture," Mr Atkinson said.

The new agreements don't include a deal for the company's 3 Deeps project, which ERA hopes will prolong the life of the Ranger mine by mining underground.

Northern Land Council NLC chairman Wali Wunungmurra said it was pleasing to see ERA negotiating to give traditional owners true benefits from the mine.