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Model Exploration & Mining Agreement between Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd, Local Aboriginal Groups and the Northern Land Council

Date: 1 January 2001
Sub Category:Exploration Agreement (Native Title Act) | Future Act Agreement (Native Title Act) | Template Agreement
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
Northern Territory.
Subject Matter:Cultural Heritage | Economic Development | Employment and Training | Mining and Minerals | Native Title | Exploration
Summary Information:
The Model Exploration and Mining Agreement is a template agreement intended to be entered into between Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd, Local Aboriginal Groups (being those Aboriginals who have or claim Native Title in the area subject to the Application for Exploration) and the Northern Land Council. The objectives of the Agreement are to enable grant to Rio Tinto of Exploration Licences and to enable them to undertake exploration and, if warranted, development of mining operations in a manner not inconsistent with the rights and interests of the Local Aboriginal Groups. The Agreement is intended to ensure that exploration and any mining development is undertaken in such a way that it accords understanding and respect according to Aboriginal tradition for the interests of the Local Aboriginal Groups and their members affected by the exploration and mining; minimizes the deleterious impact upon the Local Aboriginal Groups, their members and the environment; and contributes to the social and economic well-being of the Local Aboriginal Groups.
Detailed Information:
The Agreement, which flows from a Memorandum of Understanding between the respective parties dated December 2001, has the potential to clear the way for Rio Tinto's exploration plans for nearly 31,000 square kilometres of native title land in the Top End of the Northern Territory. It could become the model to speed up applications for exploration licences (ELAs) over at least another 135,000 square kilometres of land. Altogether, this covers about 80% of all land in the Top End that is subject to Native Title ELAs. The template Agreement will affect Rio Tinto's 47 existing applications and all future applications.

The Agreement includes provisions for, amongst other things, co-operation between the parties and their respective obligations; exploration clearances; the provision of information and work reports by Rio Tinto; sacred site and sacred object protection; employment, training and business opportunities; environmental protection and rehabilitation; and community benefits. The Agreement also includes provisions in relation to the negotiation of a mining agreement; acknowledgements and agreements with respect to Native Title; and in relation to concerns and disputes between the parties.

The Agreement has been accepted by Rio Tinto (and also De Beers) for all their exploration applications on Native Title land in the Top End of the Northern Territory.

Related Entries

  • Memorandum of Understanding between Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd and the Northern Land Council
  • Model Exploration Agreement between De Beers Australia Exploration Ltd and Northern Land Council
  • Memorandum of Understanding for Model Exploration and Mining Agreements
  • Organisation
  • Northern Land Council
  • Rio Tinto Exploration Pty Ltd
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)

  • References

    Media Release
    Northern Land Council (2002) Breakthrough in NT's Backlog of Exploration Applications


    Exploration Agreement (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Future Act Agreement (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Template Agreement

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