Contamination accusations

ERA has been accused of leaking significant amounts of uranium from its dam.

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has been accused of leaking approximately 100 000 litres of contaminated water a day from it tailings dam.

A Senate Committee has heard that the Ranger Mine in the Kakadu National Park has water containing more than 5000 times the usual amount of uranium seeping from its dam.

The Office of the Supervising Scientist, which is the environmental regulator for the Ranger Mine, told the Senate Committee that water leaching from the dam contains 5400 times the typical background uranium levels.

According to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam, with the amount of contaminated water leaking from the site daily it would be essentially impossible to rehabilitate the site.

The uranium concentration in the processed water seeping from beneath the tailings dam is approximately 27 000 parts per billion, as compared to other water sources onsite which are only three to five parts per billion, Ludlam explained.

The senator called for ERA to carry out water quality sampling to obtain an exact figure of the alleged contamination seeping from the dam.

Speaking to MINING DAILY, ERA chief executive Rob Atkinson said the dam has seepage area that is very well defined and there is no leak whatsoever into Kakadu.

Atkinson went on to tell MINING DAILY that “ERA is working towards full rehabilitation of the dam and minesite.”

ERA has stated that it can not verify the levels of uranium concentration as it is not aware of the context in which it was reported.

However, the miner denies that 100 000 litres are seeping from the dam daily.

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