Areva eyes uranium in Australian heritage site

16th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

DARWIN, Australia, Feb 16 (AFP) - French nuclear power giant Areva said on Wednesday it wants to mine uranium in Australia's world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, sparking outrage from environmentalists.

DARWIN, Australia, Feb 16 (AFP) - French nuclear power giant Areva said on Wednesday it wants to mine uranium in Australia's world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park, sparking outrage from environmentalists.

A spokesman for Cogema Australia - wholly owned by Areva - said it would revive efforts to mine a deposit in Kakadu over which it holds rights once a five-year ban imposed by the land's traditional Aboriginal owners ends in April.

"When the moratorium finishes in late April we will go into the process, as we normally would, and discuss the matter," Cogema Australia general manager Stephen Mann told Australian Associated Press.

"We will apply for the access again ... I can't be either optimistic or hopeful until we have started discussions."

The Northern Territory Environment Centre condemned the move. It said the proposed uranium mine was not only in an environmentally-sensitive world heritage-listed park but was also close to the Nourlangie rock, an Aboriginal art site that attracts visitors from around the globe.

"We will certainly do whatever we can to prevent the mine going ahead but we will just have to see how it plays out," said centre spokesman Peter Robertson.

The Northern Land Council, which represents Aboriginal owners, said it would speak to Areva and did not want to preempt the results of any discussions.

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) abandoned a uranium mine in Kakadu called Jabiluka in 2003 because of opposition from local Aborigines.

ERA operates another mine named Ranger in the park but it is expected to close in about three years.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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