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Miner contemplates NT town's future

AAP logoAAP 15/11/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Discussions over the future of a community near the Northern Territory's Kakadu National Park have begun as a mining company prepares to pull out.

Jabiru town was built for a uranium mine which has been operating for more than three decades.

It was always intended to be temporary and its head lease will expire in about four years.

ERA operates the Ranger mine and has started a social impact assessment (SIA) to determine a transition and rehabilitation strategy for the township.

ERA says it's not developing a plan for the future of Jabiru beyond the lease expiration in 2021 when production stops, which is expected to cost 350 jobs.

"It is important to note that a separate process involving the commonwealth government, Northern Territory government and traditional owner representatives has commenced to develop and agree a future plan for Jabiru," ERA said.

"The outcome of those discussions will also have a significant influence on ERA's plans."

Traditional owners warn that if the NT government doesn't commit to the town's future it will effectively be demolished.

Justin O'Brien, chief executive of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation which represents traditional owners, says Jabiru is the gateway to Kakadu and should continue to function without the mine.

"It's about maintaining this town and maintaining essential services," he told ABC local radio.

Jabiru residents and local business owners have been invited to attend 30 information sessions in November and Deccember, while more will take place early next year.

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