Residents of a far north east Arnhem Land mining community have raised their concerns with both the Northern Territory and the federal government about the uncertainty hanging over the town's economic future.
By
Malarndirri McCarthy

Source:
NITV News
1 Oct 2013 - 4:59 PM  UPDATED 2 Oct 2013 - 9:20 AM

Residents of Gove, in the far north east of the Northern Territory, have raised their concerns with both the Northern Territory and federal government about the uncertainty hanging over the town's economic future.

Nhulunbuy, also referred as Gove, in North East Arnhem Land, has a population of around 1,000 people and relies heavily on Rio Tinto's mining operation in the region.

However, talks have been underway with Rio Tinto for weeks about whether or not the local refinery would remain open.

This week, Federal Minister Ian McFarlane met with residents and told them he is fighting to find gas for the town.

"At the moment I am only focused on keeping the refinery open. Once we've got the refinery staying open, then we'll deal with some of the social and health issues around this community and empower the Indigenous community through another part of my portfolio which is traineeships,” says Mr McFarlane.

In the meantime Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles says other options for the survival of the town must also be explored.

"We're working on a range of other options to assist the region of Nhulunbuy, should it go ahead or should it not go ahead. I think we need to ensure that we continue to diversify an economy and there are a range of opportunities in the region, that we're going to work with the community to bring to fruition," said Mr Giles.