Antarctic countries have released a Declaration to mark the 25th anniversary of a milestone agreement which banned mining in Antarctica.

The Declaration was released at a symposium in Santiago, Chile, yesterday.

It reaffirms Antarctic countries strong and unwavering commitment to the objectives and purposes of the Antarctic Treaty and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, known as the Madrid Protocol.

The Protocol was adopted by Antarctic Treaty countries in 1991, declaring the icy continent as a natural reserve devoted to peace and science and committed countries to the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment.

Australia played a key role in negotiating the Protocol.

The symposium in Chile focused on the importance of the Protocol and its role in addressing future environmental challenges.