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Australia Australia's Argonaut says to start drilling despite Aboriginal appeal

12:06  17 march  2021
12:06  17 march  2021 Source:   reuters.com

Argonaut to drill for copper against Aboriginal wishes in South Australia

  Argonaut to drill for copper against Aboriginal wishes in South Australia Argonaut to drill for copper against Aboriginal wishes in South AustraliaDrilling for the Murdie project is set to begin after 20 semi-trailer trucks delivered accomodation units, ground protection matting, vehicles and specialist drills, Argonaut said in a filing to the stock exchange.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Miner Argonaut Resources said on Wednesday it would go ahead with final preparations for drilling at its Murdie project in South Australia, despite a legal challenge by an Aboriginal group which says it would damage a sacred area.

The miner, whose subsidiary Kelaray received state government approval to drill on the shores of Lake Torrens in January, is set to start exploration this week.

"Argonaut notes that exploration works being undertaken at the Murdie project have been duly authorised. The Company is confident that the State’s authorisation process was robust," it said in a statement to the stock exchange.

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"Argonaut is continuing with final preparations for drilling at the Murdie site."

Australian state and federal laws around Aboriginal heritage protection are under national review after Rio Tinto Ltd legally blew up ancient rock shelters for an iron ore mine, exposing a legal framework skewed to support development.

Australian Aboriginal culture is regarded as the oldest living civilisation and the rock shelters showed among the earliest evidence of human habitation.

The Barngarla Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) said in a statement on Wednesday that it had lodged a legal challenge in South Australia's Supreme Court against the decision.

"(Lake Torrens) is a very significant site to the Barngala people," chairperson Jason Bilney told Reuters.

"Drilling into mother earth is like putting a knife into her... Now we have launched proceedings in the Federal court."

Below Lake Torrens are fresh water aquifers that Aboriginal groups fear could be damaged by mining, jeopardising water supplies in the arid region, while the lake itself is part of their spiritual beliefs.

The South Australian government has said that it granted the drilling partly because of previous activity around the lake and that a separate permit would be needed for mining activity.

The court has scheduled a directions hearing for April 23, 2021.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Pioneering Indigenous artist Kumantje Nelson Jagamara remembered in Alice Springs .
Pioneer of Indigenous art, Kumantje Jagamara, whose artwork lines the forecourt of Parliament House and features on the Australian $5 dollar note, remembered at Alice Springs funeral.Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following article contains images and names of people who have died. Images have been used with permission of the deceased's family.

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This is interesting!