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PACIFIC WATCH

Australia

August 23, 1993|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Government to Validate Mining Grants on Aborigine Land: Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating said the government will validate all land grants covering Comalco Ltd.'s bauxite mining leases in northern Queensland state against an Aboriginal land rights claim. The action, affecting the Weipa leases on the York Peninsula, is aimed at ensuring that the aluminum producer's US$1.2 billion expansion plans will proceed. Under the proposal approved by the federal cabinet, the door is open for the native Wik people of the area to claim compensation for the land. Comalco, which is 67%-owned by mining giant CRA Ltd., has been seeking security against the Aboriginal claims because of earlier court decisions that formally recognize Aborigine land rights.

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