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Thursday, 8 August, 2002, 04:55 GMT 05:55 UK
Blow for Australian aborigines

A court in Australia has ruled that Aboriginal people do not have rights to oil or minerals found under tribal land now being used by mining companies.

The ruling was part of a decision by the High Court in Canberra, on an eight-year-old land rights claim.

The case covered nearly 8,000 square kilometres of land and water in northwestern Australia, which includes the Argyle diamond mine, the world's largest.

Correspondents say the decision is seen as a landmark ruling on whether mining leases override native title rights, and it should determine the outcome of hundreds of outstanding native title claims.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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