Publish Date: 10th February 2011
The Mirarr traditional Aboriginal owners of the site of the Ranger Uranium Mine have today
welcomed the agreement by miner Energy Resources of Australia to commission an independent
expert review into surface water management at the mine site.
Mirarr senior traditional owner, Yvonne Margarula, congratulated ERA for its immediate
acceptance of the need for the independent review.
“I am happy that the mining company is acting on what we want. We are worried about living with
poisoned water and we are worried the mine can’t be rehabilitated properly. We have a good
chance now to fix the problems with someone expert outside the mining company and the
government,” Ms Margarula said.
In response to Ranger’s increasing water management problems and last week’s shutdown of the
milling facility for three months, the Gundjeihmi Corporation yesterday called on ERA to
commission the expert review. Last year the Corporation and mining company jointly facilitated an
independent expert review of groundwater issues at Ranger, with the detailed review and its early
implementation showing the benefit of a cooperative relationship.
The Corporation today reiterated its call that ERA also move to implement the recommendations of
the 2003 Senate inquiry into the environmental regulation of uranium mining. These included the
establishment of event-based monitoring of Ranger’s surface water runoff and the incorporation of
that monitoring into the legal monitoring system at the mine.
The executive officer of the Gundjeihmi Corporation, Justin O’Brien, commended the mining
company for heeding the traditional owners’ call for an independent review and reminded the
company of its broader obligations.
“We welcome ERA’s acknowledgment of the need for this independent assessment of the surface
water runoff at Ranger – it’s a timely and important step ahead of the company’s imminent
expansion proposals. There remains, however, undone business with respect to the
recommendations of the 2003 Senate inquiry and we’re asking ERA to consider the practical steps
to give meaningful effect to those recommendations,” Mr O’Brien said.
(A summary of key recommendations of the 2003 Senate inquiry can be found in the full release.)