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'The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council wishes to express support and affirmation for the Mirrar people in their opposition to the development of a uranium mine at Jabiluka.

We make the following points:

- The Mirrar people have opposed the development consistently for nearly twenty years. They are the traditional owners of the land and have a unique relationship with it, so that their cultural integrity depends on the integrity of their land. Mining will destroy the integrity of the land.

The Mirrar people have seen the impact of the mine at Ranger and have stated 'Previous mining agreements have not protected us or given our communities strength to survive the development'.

To proceed with the mine in the face of such opposition seems to us to undermine the process of reconciliation, which has gained widespread support around Australia.

- We are approaching the year 2000, when the Church celebrates a Great Jubilee. A key element in the biblical concept of Jubilee is the return of land to its original owners. The development of Jabiluka, which would become operational that year, seems to be incompatible with the principles of the Jubilee celebration.

- The development of the mine appears to place economic and commercial values ahead of human and cultural ones. This is an ordering of priorities which we regard as morally unacceptable.

- The mine is located in an area which is listed as being of World Heritage value, on both cultural and environmental grounds. It is one of a very few places in the world with such a listing. We believe that all creation reflects the image of God, and places of such rare significance do so in a special way. It is an established element in Catholic teaching that the environmental crisis is a moral issue. To put areas such as Kakadu at risk for commercial gain appears to us to be morally unacceptable.

The fact that it is uranium which is to be mined rather than any other metal makes the potential damage, in the event of contamination, all the more serious. Pollution by radioactivity is potentially more dangerous and long lasting than any other form of pollution.

For these reasons we believe that the development of the mine should proceed no further.'

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