As public comment closes on Energy Resources planned new underground uranium mine at Kakadu, activist groups are claiming more than 4000 individuals and organisations have made submissions calling for the expansion not to be approved and for the existing, troubled mine to be closed permanently.
Environmentalists say the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process is fundamentally flawed and deeply deficient because, “…a key report containing information pivotal to a meaningful analysis of the project remains unfinished and unpublished.”
ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney said national and NT environment groups have vowed to increase their efforts to secure commitments for the full rehabilitation of the troubled Ranger uranium mine site in Kakadu.
“ERA (Energy Resources Australia) is seeking a green light to dig more yellowcake in Kakadu but has refused to come clean on basic project plans, costs and details. Given ERA’s existing Ranger operation has been shut for six of the last twelve months following serious equipment failures and contamination spills, this B grade application for a new mine is an insult.” Sweeney said.
The Environment Centre NT’s Lauren Mellor said, “More than 4000 people have taken action to protect Australia’s largest national park and made formal statements of concern and opposition to ERA’s Ranger 3 Deeps (R3D) plan,”
“The mine plan is sketchy and ERA’s finances are shaky. The R3Dplan is rushed and risky. Mining and mineral processing must end at Ranger in January 2021. It is time for ERA to realise the era of uranium mining in Kakadu is coming to an end and it is time for the company to make public its plans for closure, rehabilitation and the transition to a post mining regional economy.”
The last incident at Ranger occurred at approximately 1am on 7 December 2013. A tank failure resulted in a spill of approximately 1,400 cubic meters of acidic slurry into the environment. The mine is surrounded by Kakadu National Park and at the time grave concerns were held for the future health of waterways, flora and fauna in the park.
A peer-reviewed report found that at the time of the tank failure, ERA’s management of process safety and its corporate governance did not meet expected standards. It also found that regulators need to pick up their game in order to identify non-compliance issues.