French multinational Areva Resources have pulled out of a controversial exploration program for uranium near Derby, surrendering all of their exploration tenements in the Kimberley’s Canning Basin.
The company’s decision comes less than a month after the National Native Title Tribunal determined that granting an exploration license on Nyikina Mangala native title was ‘in the public interest’.
It’s a win for Nyikina Mangala traditional owners, who have battled the company every step of the way amidst concerns uranium exploration would jeopardise suicide prevention and cultural programs.
Walalakoo Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Wayne Bergmann says he’s proud Nyikina Mangala traditional owners exercised their freedom to say no.
“We’re not going anywhere and you can’t get around working with us. Unlike Areva Resources, who only employed one Aboriginal person in 2013, smart companies build relationships with Traditional Owners and don’t use the native title system to disempower people. Right now, we’re seeing companies and government using native title to bulldoze Aboriginal people. We can't expect native title to protect our interests and the things that are important to us.”
Areva Resources claims it has withdrawn from the project as it's not 'technically feasible'.