ABC: David Vadiveloo dicusses the Ranger spill

Publish Date:
12th December 2013

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BRENDAN PHELAN:              Now, five days ago, one and a half - a one and a half thousand metre - cubic metre tank holding uranium oxide slurry and acid collapsed in the Ranger Uranium Mine near Jabiru within the bounds of the Kakadu National Park. The mine's operator, Energy Resources of Australia, and the Federal Environment Minister both claim that that spill would have no impact on the environment. However, on Monday afternoon the Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, suspended all processing operations, that's until operators could prove the integrity of the mine, and today a technical team from the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation visited the site on behalf of the traditional owners as part of a regular monthly inspection.

                                               David Vadiveloo is the acting CEO of the corporation.

                                               David Vadiveloo, thanks for joining me.

DAVID VADIVELOO:              Thanks for having us, Brendan.

BRENDAN PHELAN:              Now, why are you concerned that radio testing is still happening?

DAVID VADIVELOO:              Look, we've been receiving, you know, regular assurances from the company that the clean up there is progressing and, quote unquote, it is well advanced and so we anticipated with our technical team going out there today to see, you know, a clean site or something approximating to that. The Mirarr traditional owners are sick with worry. That's been stated before but I can restate it again. I spoke with them just yesterday about the condition that that site is in.

                                               And quite frankly what our science officer has come back with today is not making us feel any better. We have reports that there is still radiation testing occurring, that there is - in fact, I have seen the photos just before I got on the line here to you - there is still ample evidence of contaminated slurry on the ground outside the containment wall of that - the leaked tanks. It's enormously worrying to us that ERA is giving reassurances to the community and to the traditional owners about the safety of the site and ignoring our calls for an independent investigator to go in there and look at the accident.

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