MAC/20: Mines and Communities

ERA in hot water over contamination

Published by MAC on 2005-02-07


ERA in hot water

Jesse Riseborough, Miningnews.net

Monday, February 07, 2005

Energy Resources of Australia is to be prosecuted by the Northern Territory's Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development as a result of water and vehicle contamination breaches at its Ranger uranium operation, 250 kilometres east of Darwin.

"We were charged with two counts under the Mining Management Act late last year and they were not related, the first was to do with water contamination, however all of these issues did come up at the same time," said Amanda Buckley, ERA's Manager of External Relations.

ERA said the latest charge relates to incidents occurring between November 2003 and March 2004 involving two bobcats and a Hino truck leaving the Ranger site without being properly decontaminated. The vehicles were returned to the workplace of Community Development and Employment Project (CDEP) in Jabiru where staff then raised the issue with the Department of Environment.

According to a report by the Supervising Scientist, one of the bobcats was stored in a carport at the CDEP yard where approximately 20 litres of partially leached uranium ore leaked and was exposed to members of the public. A CDEP mechanic was living at the site of the yard and his two children subsequently found the pile of grey mud and used it to build sandcastles.

Buckley said the case would be heard in conjunction with a previous water contamination incident at Ranger where more than 20 ERA employee's reported symptoms relating to contaminated showering water.

 

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