Tamboran fracking pollution: Beetaloo Traditional Owners comment

August 24, 2023 11:13 AM

Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Traditional Owners with native title interests across the Beetaloo Basin, comment on coverage today of allegations by two NT workers that Tamboran Resources deliberately used toxic drill water for dust suppression, instead of properly disposing of the waste, during drilling of the Maverick 1 exploration well in the NT’s Beetaloo Basin, putting workers’ health and the environment at risk.

Chair of Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, Johnny Wilson, and Jungai (cultural lawman) for the area in question, responded to the news, saying, “Traditional Owners have an obligation to protect our country but we can’t do this while gas companies are able to act in this way. We don’t want fracking and this reminds us why.

“I have a responsibility to care for my grandfather's country, for this generation and the next. All our water systems are connected and fracking will poison them. I feel sad for our country. We want the government and the Northern Land Council to listen to our concerns.

“Tamboran should stop any exploration activity until they can assure us that country, water, workers and Traditional Owners living near these fracking sites are safe.”

Stills: Nurrdalinji Directors and members, with flaring Santos (not Tamboran) gas well behind on Tanumbirini, here. Nurrdalinji Directors, including spokespeople quoted here.

Fracking in the Beetaloo

The NT Government estimated in the NT Pepper Inquiry Final Report (p 98) that over 6,000 wells could be drilled in the Beetaloo if the fracking industry progresses.

First Nations communities raised serious concerns with the Inquiry about the threat of fracking in the Beetaloo to country, cultural values and landscapes, and water sources, and the lack of free, prior and informed consent processes.

Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation

The Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation includes native title holders from the Amungee Mungee, Beetaloo, Hayfield, Kalala, Newcastle Waters - Murranji, Nutwood Downs, Shenandoah, Tandyidgee, Tanumbirini, Daly Waters Township, Ucharonidge native title determinations.
The Beetaloo sub-basin is located around 500 kilometres south-east of Darwin. It embraces Aboriginal land, pastoral leases (which co-exist with Native Title rights and interests), horticultural enterprises, cattle stations and remote Aboriginal communities. A number of companies are currently undertaking fracked gas drilling in the region, with most of the NT covered by exploration permits.