MAC: Mines and Communities

Ranger uranium rehabitation costs will be met by Rio Tinto

Published by MAC on 2019-11-18
Source: Reuters

Indigenous Mirrar welcome announcement

Rio Tinto to pay $221m to fund Ranger uranium mine closure


15  November 2019

Rio Tinto said it will subscribe to $221 million rights shares of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA), which has been desperately seeking funds to close and rehabilitate a controversial uranium mine.

The world’s second-biggest listed miner, which has a 68.4% stake in ERA, also said it will fully underwrite ERA’s A$476 million ($326 million) equity fundraising, after the uranium miner failed to secure someone else willing to do so.

ERA has until January 2021 to end mining activities, and until January 2026 to complete rehabilitation of the area

Shares of ERA slumped 22.5% to A$0.190 on Friday, their lowest in almost five months, in a broader market that was up around a percent.

ERA has been looking to raise money to fund the closure and rehabilitation of the Ranger project in Australia’s Northern Territory after it ran into controversy due to its proximity to the Kakadu National Park – the country’s largest.

The Australian Government has documented more than 200 environmental incidents at the mine between 1979 and 2003.

ERA said it has been working closely with Rio for a funding solution after flagging, earlier this year, a higher-than-expected rehabilitation provision for the Ranger project which it could not cover.

“We take mine closure very seriously and ensuring ERA is able to fund the closure and rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area, through participating in this entitlement offer, is a priority,” Rio’s group executive for energy and minerals, Bold Baatar, said in a statement.

ERA has until January 2021 to end mining activities, and until January 2026 to complete rehabilitation of the area. The rehabilitation work will not lead to any returns for ERA.

ERA was the target of some of the biggest environmental protests across Australia in 1998, including an eight-month blockade and 500 arrests, after the local indigenous Mirarr people opposed its planned development of the nearby Jabiluka concession on the fringe of the Kakadu rainforest.

($1 = 1.4588 Australian dollars)

(By Nikhil Kurian Nainan and Melanie Burton; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Himani Sarkar)


Kakadu mine Traditional Owners welcome rehabilitation funding announcement

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Media Statement

15 November 2019

The Mirarr Traditional Owners of the Ranger Uranium Mine welcome today’s
announcement by mine operator Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) of a
funding solution for the currently unfunded portion of projected
rehabilitation expenses.

ERA’s February 2019 announcement of a significant increase to the
rehabilitation provision based on the final Ranger Project Area
Feasibility Study has been a source of significant concern for the
Traditional Owners.

The need for a funding solution is urgent.

The Mirarr expect that the full amount of the rehabilitation provision,
together with ongoing Commonwealth government investment in monitoring
and management of the site, will be required to provide long-term
protection of both the Ranger Project Area and the surrounding World
Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

Contact: Kirsten Blair 0412 853 641



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