Media releases

Uranium drums found in bushland – Another breach for Rio Tinto’s Ranger mine

Publish Date: 19th November 2013

An investigation is urgently needed into the management of Rio Tinto’s Ranger uranium mine after four  uranium barrels from the mine were located in bushland at Noonamah south of Darwin, says the Gundjeimi Aboriginal Corporation.

The GAC, representing the Mirarr Traditional Owners, is accusing Rio Tinto of failing in its responsibilities to manage radiation at the mine, with this incident coming just weeks after a potentially contaminated  vehicle left the Ranger site without authorisation.

GAC’s Chief Executive Officer Justin O’Brien said: “It is clear that the radiation control measures at the Ranger mine site have failed on multiple occasions. While we welcome the timely reporting of this issue by the company, ERA’s management of radiation is plainly inadequate.

“The Commonwealth Government must step in and ensure that this matter is taken seriously. To date the response by the Office of the Supervising Scientist (OSS) has been dismissive and woefully inadequate. Both the NT and Federal Governments must broaden their current investigations into the vehicle incident and examine the entire management of radiation at the Ranger mine.

“This is not a only a matter between the Mirarr and the mining company, there are significant questions of public health to be considered here. We expect these issues to be considered in a comprehensive  investigation of these incidents.

“This revelation raises very serious concerns for the Mirarr Traditional Owners regarding the suggestion of further mining at Ranger,” Mr O’Brien concluded.

It is understood the NT Department of Health yesterday notified Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) of the drums and asked that they be removed. The drums have been returned to the Ranger mine within the bounds of Kakadu National Park for storage.

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