acid leaching would pose serious risks to the environment and local indigenous culture as well as complicating ERA’s planned closure and exit timeline for the mine, and further increase pressure for an extension to the company’s lease beyond its 2021 end date.
Radioactive water threatens Kakadu, The Age, Lindsay Murdoch, April 16, 2011 “…….The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts unpredictable wet season weather for several weeks.Since ERA announced an initial three-month suspension of production at Ranger in January, the company’s shares have plunged 45 per cent to $6.58 a share – a value loss of $1 billion.The crisis has thrown into doubt ERA’s plans to expand its operation to include an underground mine and the use of a controversial acid heap leach processing technique to process low-grade ore.
Mr Kyle said the Mirarr people who owned the Ranger land took the view that if ERA ”cannot manage what they are already doing, how can they support them doing more?”
ERA chief executive Rob Atkinson confirmed at the company’s annual meeting in Darwin on Wednesday that the severe wet weather at the site had raised doubts about whether the company could proceed with acid heap leaching, which has never been tested in a monsoonal climate.
A new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation says ERA has underestimated the size, complexity, cost and impact of the proposed expansion of the mine.
It said acid leaching would pose serious risks to the environment and local indigenous culture as well as complicating ERA’s planned closure and exit timeline for the mine, and further increase pressure for an extension to the company’s lease beyond its 2021 end date.
ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney said the expansion plan would ”significantly increase contamination loads at Ranger”. ”The company needs to be ending operations and cleaning up, not seeking to expand,” he said.
The Ranger mine has had more than 150 leaks, spills and mishaps since it opened despite opposition from Kakadu’s traditional owners in 1981……