MAC: Mines and Communities

Australia’s Ranger uranium mine ceases production

Published by MAC on 2021-01-11
Source: Statement, Mining.com (2021-01-11)

Rio Tinto subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia has ceased production at its Ranger uranium mine, inside the Kakadu National Park, after 40 years of operations.

This is thanks to the Mirarr people who have opposed the Ranger mine for 40 years, who led a successful campaign to stop ERA developing a further mine at nearby Jabiluka 20 years ago, and are now driving the re-shaping of a culture- and conservation-based local economy.

Previous article on MAC: Rio Tinto in uranium reclamation battle with Australia

End of an ERA: four decades of radioactive risk comes to an end at Kakadu

Over 40 years of high-impact uranium mining and processing at Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA) Ranger mine in Kakadu ends today.

Australian Conservation Foundation press release

8 January 2021

Australia’s longest-running uranium operation was licensed to operate until January 8, 2021.

“This is a very good day for Kakadu, the Northern Territory and Australia,” Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney said.

“The Ranger mine has generated controversy, headlines and heartache for four decades. The focus must now be on ERA and parent company Rio Tinto doing comprehensive and credible site rehabilitation and supporting the transition to a post-mining regional economy.

“Today we should also acknowledge the sustained efforts of the Mirarr Traditional Owners and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation to protect their country and culture from the impacts of mining.

“The Mirarr opposed the Ranger mine 40 years ago, led a successful campaign to stop ERA developing a further mine at nearby Jabiluka 20 years ago, and are now driving the re-shaping of a culture- and conservation-based local economy.

“Plans for cleaning up the site of the Ranger mine are being hampered by an unrealistic rehabilitation time frame, funding uncertainty, and fears about a tailings dam leaking toxic contaminants into the surrounding national park.

“Closing Ranger, protecting Kakadu, a recent report co-authored by ACF, also found data deficiencies and technical issues, particularly around groundwater and tailings management.

“Australia has a long history of sub-standard mine rehabilitation in both the uranium and wider mining sectors. A far better approach and outcome is needed at Ranger. This work is a key test of the commitment of ERA and Rio Tinto, as well as the NT and federal governments.”

For interviews or more information please contact Dave Sweeney, 0408 317 812


Australia’s Ranger uranium mine ceases production

Cecilia Jamasmie

https://www.mining.com/australias-40-year-old-ranger-uranium-mine-ceases-production/

7 January 2021

Energy Resources of Australia (ASX: ERA) has ceased production at its Ranger uranium mine in the country’s Northern Territory after 40 years of operations.

The company will now move to the rehabilitation phase of the area, which is expected to cost about A$808 million ($620m) and must be completed by January 2026.

The Ranger uranium orebody, the richest in the southern hemisphere, was discovered in late 1969 by geologists who were investigating radiometric anomalies detected by air surveys. Drilling over the next two years defined several orebodies and a proposal to mine the area was drafted.

Open cut mining started at Ranger in 1980, with the mine reaching full production of uranium oxide a year later. The mine led to the construction of the town of Jabiru in 1982, originally a closed community for mine employees.

A total of three pits were developed by 2012. During that time, there was talk of developing an underground resource discovered in 2009. After a prefeasibility study into the Ranger 3 Deeps resource and opposition from traditional land owners, ERA’s board chose not to proceed.

Both the operation and the mining town of Jabiru are surrounded by a World-Heritage-listed National Park — Kakadu. This makes ERA’s rehabilitation work and future monitoring of the project area an issue of federal significance.

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