By Jennifer Thompson
Aboriginal traditional owners protested at the gates of the Orebody No. 3 of Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu in the NT on July 8.
On the same day, the first anniversary of the International Court of Justice ruling that use of nuclear weapons is unlawful in most circumstances, activists in Madrid handed writs to NATO heads reminding them of the illegality of NATO's first-strike defence doctrine, also recently adopted by Russia.
The Mirrar people of Kakadu, represented by the Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation, oppose the development of a new mine at nearby Jabiluka by Energy Resources Australia (ERA).
"Uranium mining has not benefited the Mirrar people", said Gundjehmi executive officer Jacqui Katona. "They have witnessed and experienced social, cultural and environmental dislocation, and we have no reason to thank the company."
Friends of the Earth anti-nuclear spokesperson John Hallam said that the protests in Kakadu and Madrid were linked by the statement, adopted at an Aboriginal-environmentalist conference at Alice Springs in April: "We don't want uranium from our country to be used to hurt other peoples".
ERA will claim its uranium is used for peaceful purposes only, Hallam said, but there is no way to definitely ensure that Australian uranium doesn't end up in nuclear weapons.