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Australian Government - Supervising Scientist logo

MEDIA RELEASE

Issued 30 March 2004

ERA agrees to safeguards to allow workers back on site

The Supervising Scientist Dr Arthur Johnston said he understood that Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) was considering sending staff back to the Ranger mine site tonight and tomorrow to conduct maintenance.

Dr Johnston said the final decision as to whether workers return to the site lies with the Northern Territory Government, and today provided advice to the NT government on what he considered to be the minimum conditions that should be satisfied before workers returned to the site.

Dr Johnston said he asked ERA to ensure the following safety measures were in place prior to staff returning to the mine tonight:

"With these measures in place it would be acceptable for workers to return to the site," Dr Johnston said. "However, I recommend that mining and milling operations should only start when there has been a thorough assessment of the entire water system and we can be assured that workers will be protected and systems are in place to prevent this type of incident reoccurring."

"The final decision as to whether or not staff can return to the site rests with the NT Government."

"I have advised the Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development of my view and it is now in their hands to make a determination as to whether staff are allowed back on site."

ERA has been working with Supervising Scientist staff to ensure that these safety measures can be met.

Media contact:
Jacqui Rovis-Hermann
Telephone (08) 8920 1180
Fax (08) 8920 1199
Mobile 0407 140 070
Email jacqui.rovis-hermann@deh.gov.au