Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment
Report released on ranger mine spill
8 July 2014
An interim report released today on the impacts from the Ranger mine spill in December 2013, shows no adverse environmental impact on human health or Kakadu National Park as a result of the incident.
"The interim report released today has been prepared by the independent Supervising Scientist," said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.
"The Supervising Scientist also engaged Geoscience Australia to provide independent advice on the potential impacts on groundwater due to the incident," Senator Birmingham said.
"The Supervising Scientist has made detailed investigations into the potential avenues for environmental impact and taken extensive tests of air, soil and water in both the creeks and the ground around the mine site.
"No abnormal changes have been detected, which means that the environment and people of the Alligator Rivers Region, including Kakadu National Park remain protected from the potential effects of the Ranger uranium mine.
"Indigenous communities who live in Kakadu National Park can continue to fish in these rivers and creeks and drink the water without fear of contamination.
"The Interim Report presents the great majority of environmental test results and we expect to confirm them when the final report is released," he said.
After cleaning up the spill site and repairing equipment damaged in the incident, the mine operator ERA has been approved to restart operations.
The approval was given by the Minister for Industry and the Northern Territory Government on the basis of independent engineering advice that it was safe to do so, subject to some conditions.
A joint Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government Taskforce with representation from the Northern Land Council and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation has been established to co-ordinate the various incident investigations.
"We expect the full report of the Supervising Scientist to be completed and publicly released in August," Senator Birmingham said.
The Interim Report is available at www.environment.gov.au/resource/leach-tank-failure-report.