Traditional Owners Seek $225 Million in Compensation Over McArthur River Mine

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Traditional Owners Seek $225 Million in Compensation Over McArthur River Mine

A group of traditional owners from the Northern Territory is seeking $225 million in compensation from the NT government over the effects of the McArthur River Mine on their native title rights and sacred sites. The trial, held in the Federal Court in Darwin, involves the traditional owners' final submissions seeking compensation for cultural and economic losses. The traditional owners are claiming at least $225 million for cultural loss, plus additional compensation for economic loss, which will be determined by the judge. They argue that the financial calculation of cultural loss is not straightforward and is based on a 2019 High Court decision that awarded Timber Creek traditional owners $2.5 million in damages for spiritual harm. The McArthur River Mine, housing one of the world's largest zinc and lead deposits, has been the subject of a legal battle since its establishment in 1992, with native title holders previously winning a legal challenge against the NT government's approval of open-cut mining expansion in 2007.

The group of traditional owners from the Northern Territory is seeking $225 million in compensation over the effects of the McArthur River Mine on their native title rights and sacred sites. Through a trial in the Federal Court in Darwin, they are pursuing unspecified damages from the NT government for cultural and economic losses. The traditional owners argue that the financial calculation of cultural loss is not precise and is based on a 2019 High Court decision that awarded Timber Creek traditional owners $2.5 million in damages for spiritual harm. The mine has been a subject of legal disputes since its establishment in 1992, with native title holders previously winning a legal challenge against the NT government's approval of open-cut mining expansion in 2007. The court heard accounts of social upheaval and cultural loss following the mine's expansion, with the government's lawyers arguing against the consideration of the land's mineral and cultural values in the court's compensation award. The court is expected to deliver its decision by the end of 2024.