- Be informed
- Get involved
- Donate now
- News & media
National and Territory environment groups have called on the federal government to stop Energy Resources of Australia from expanding the troubled Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu under the guise of exploration.
ERA is scheduled to start work today on a mine decline (a one way tunnel) at its Ranger 3 Deeps (R3D) site as part of a move from open cut to underground mining. The company has federal exploration approval for R3D, not approval for mining.
“The company only has exploration approval, yet it is digging a hole big enough to literally drive a truck into,” said Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“The federal government should not allow ERA to expand by stealth, constructing massive mining infrastructure under the guise of exploration activity. There needs to be an urgent and dedicated federal review of the impacts and implications of this plan.”
Ranger has been the scene of more than 150 documented incidents and breaches. Production at the mine remains plagued by water management issues. The mine’s productivity and ERA’s value have fallen in recent years with observers concerned about the company’s capacity to manage increasing volumes of solid and liquid wastes.
Mineral processing operations were scheduled to halt at Ranger in 2011 but the company decided to extend the mine’s life and has been left exposed to a depressed post-Fukushima uranium market and a series of high rainfall events.
ACF and the Environment Centre NT will continue to rigorously scrutinise ERA’s activities and plans and to push for a comprehensive clean-up of the site.
“Digging this new tunnel will put further pressure on ERA’s already stressed and under-performing systems and make the company’s eventual rehabilitation works more costly and complicated,” said ECNT’s nuclear free campaigner Cat Beaton.
“The start of digging really is time for a Mayday alert. Kakadu is Australia’s largest National Park and a unique World Heritage area that deserves better treatment.”