Tuesday, July 13, 1999 Published at 05:30 GMT 06:30 UK
Conservation fears for Australian park
Jabiluka will take over from the existing Ranger uranium mine
Aborigines and conservationists are vowing to step up oppositon to uranium mining in Kakadu National Park following a UN decision not to list the area as an "endangered site".
Energy Resources Australia (ERA), the company which hopes to mine uranium in the park, saw its share price jump 8% in early trading on Tuesday.
It plans to invest $2.5bn in the Jabiluka mine.
The Murra believe a spiritual "Rainbow Serpent" sleeps on the land and must never be awakened. ERA has erected vibration detectors near a recognised traditional site which will never be mined so that any disturbances can be monitored.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) ruled against placing the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park on its "in danger" list after accepting assurances the mine would neither harm its environment nor endanger sacred Aboriginal sites.
Reconsider in a year
"We are very disappointed with the decision by the committee that followed intense political pressure from Australia," said Don Henry, executive director of the Australia Conservation Foundation.
"One of the conditions the committee has put on this is that they want to revisit this issue in a year's time and particularly look at what Australia is doing about protecting natural environment and culture.
"So there is time to stop Jabiluka and save Kakadu," Mr Henry said.
Mr Hill said that Jabiluka could start producing high-quality uranium by 2001.
"We're pleased with the outcome," he told journalists after the meeting.
"We could never understand the argument for putting Kakadu on the endangered list."
The Australian Government had already announced that the mine, which it says passed a rigorous three-year assessment procedure, would go ahead regardless of what the Unesco committee decided.