The Ranger uranium mine operates on the lands of the Mirarr Traditional Owners. The mine lease sits within the bounds of the Kakadu National Park and has been operating for over 30 years. In that time there have been over 200 leaks, spills and operating breaches. The Ranger mine has generated over 30 million tonnes of liquid tailings waste.
In 2005, mining company ERA was found guilty and fined for a contamination incident in March 2004 where 150 people were exposed to drinking water containing uranium levels 400 times greater than the maximum Australian safety standard. Twenty-eight mine workers suffered adverse health effects including vomiting and skin irritation as a result of the exposure.
In 2009, it was revealed that around 100,000 litres of contaminated water is leaking daily from the tailings dam.
In 2012 the open cut Ranger mine is close to being exhausted. However, ERA are pursuing an underground expansion to access the Ranger 3 Deeps uranium deposit. This expansion could see an exploration decline running up to 450 metres underground.
- Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation www.mirarr.net
- Environment Centre of the Northern Territory www.ecnt.org ph (08) 8981 1984
- Australian Conservation Foundation www.acfonline.org.au/be-informed/northern-australia-and-nuclear-free
- Senate References and Legislation Committee, October 2003, “Regulating the Ranger, Jabiluka, Beverly and Honeymoon uranium mines” www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=ecita_ctte/completed_inquiries/2002-04/uranium
- Senate Select Committee on Uranium Mining and Milling, 1997, Uranium Mining and Milling in Australia www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate_Committees?url=uranium_ctte/report/contents.htm
[This webpage last updated in March 2012]