ABC: Ranger uranium mine spill: worker injured in clean-up, union says

Publish Date:
13th December 2013

Read on ABC website

A worker has been injured during the clean-up of a toxic spill at the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory, the ABC has been told.

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) says a fitter was injured this morning while cleaning up slurry that spilt out of a tank that collapsed last weekend.

Brian Wilkins from the AMWU says the man fell through the crust of the radioactive material up to his armpits.

It is understood the man was cleaned up and asked to return to work, but he refused.

Mine operator Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) says it will look into the validity of the claims.

A tank containing up to a million litres of uranium ore and acid split early on Saturday, damaging the crane that was trying to repair it and surrounding infrastructure at the mine near Kakadu National Park.

ERA said at the weekend the spill had been contained and there was no risk to the surrounding area and national park.

Meanwhile the Federal and Northern Territory governments have released the terms of reference for their joint investigation into the spill.

The investigation will identify why the leach tank collapsed, examine the integrity of broader processing operations and identify any gaps in maintenance procedures.

A representative of the traditional owners of the mine site will be asked to participate on the taskforce that is carrying out the investigation.

The Greens have called for a permanent end to operations at the mine.

West Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has said: "I think this latest disaster doesn't improve anyone's confidence that the mine is capable of running for another 10 or 15 years."