Arafura Resources Ltd (ASX:ARU) has executed a Native Title Agreement for Nolans Neodymium-Praseodymium (NdPr) Project in the Northern Territory with the native title holders and Central Land Council (CLC).
This follows a meeting in late February 2020 attended by the native title holders, senior staff of the CLC and representatives of Arafura Rare Earths Pty Ltd (ARE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arafura.
During this meeting at Aileron near the Nolans mine site, native title holders resolved to enter into the Native Title Agreement.
The agreement was intended to be presented to the first full meeting of the CLC for 2020 in April, however, this meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions, designed to protect residents of remote indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.
Paves way for milestone
The Native Title Agreement represents progress towards a significant milestone for Arafura as it facilitates the grant of the project’s mineral leases by the Northern Territory Government.
Managing director Gavin Lockyer said: “On behalf of the company, I wish to extend my appreciation to native title holders and the CLC for their work in negotiating and executing the Native Title Agreement.
“We look forward to developing the Nolans Project with the support and participation of native title holders and for the mutual benefit of all parties.”
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Under the terms of the Native Title Agreement, the native title holders give their consent to the grant of the primary mineral lease, ML 26659, ancillary mineral leases, MLs 30702 to 30704, 32411 to 32416 and related access authorities.
These mineral leases host the mine, process plant, tailings and process residues containment facilities, accommodation village, borefield and the infrastructure elements of the Nolans operation.
Native title details
The Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources intends to grant each of the mineral leases to ARE for an initial term of 25 years, with multiple renewal periods possible and agreed under the Native Title Agreement.
Under the terms of the Native Title Agreement:
- Arafura personnel who work at the operation will undergo cultural awareness induction and training;
- Arafura commits to provide employment and training as well as business opportunities for the native title holders and local Aboriginal people to win contract work from ARE;
- ARE acknowledges its environmental commitments and responsibilities and its duty to protect sacred sites and sacred objects; and
- ARE agrees to processes and information sharing to ensure its agreed commitments are met.
The Native Title Agreement also provides for compensation payments for the benefit of native title holders in recognition of the impacts of the project on their native title rights and interests.
The compensation arrangements include upfront and annual payments as well as a royalty, all of which are customary and in line with normal commercial terms for similar agreements of this nature.