ERA chairman steps down over Ranger problems

The chairman and two directors of Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) have stepped down following last week’s revelation that the Ranger 3 Deeps project will not go ahead.

Chairman Peter MacMahon and non-executive directors Dr Helen Garnett and Dr David Smith resigned from their positions in writing on June 20, over the weekend.

In their formal resignation, the directors referred to announcements dating from June 11.

“Given the differing views on the future of the Ranger 3 Deeps project, it is difficult for ERA to pursue its stated approach without the support of its major shareholder, Rio Tinto,” the directors wrote.

The directors acknowledged that an extension to the Ranger approvals beyond 2021 would allow ERA to revisit the economic viability of Ranger 3 Deeps in the future.

In the interim CEO Andrea Sutton has taken over as Chair of the Board, and approval has been given to commence searching for new non-executive directors.

The June 11 announcement that the Ranger 3 Deeps project would not proceed to the final feasibility stage sent the ERA share price into freefall, wiping 49 per cent of its value within ten minutes from market opening.

Despite the bleak future of ERA one of the company’s major shareholders, Zentree Investments, chose to increase their holding from 5.44 per cent voting power to 6.6 per cent in single trade worth more than $1.5 million.

ERA has stated that it will continue to conserve cash and carry on discussions with traditional owners and Commonwealth Government in the attempt to extend approvals for mining at the Ranger site.

Last week the Mirrar traditional owners and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) expressed their refusal to entertain the prospect of extending permissions for land use for uranium mining in Kakadu National Park.

“The Mirarr remain fundamentally opposed to Jabiluka’s development – that opposition is intergenerational,” GAC said.

“We are concerned about the lack of adequate planning for Jabiluka’s final rehabilitation and its incorporation into Kakadu National Park.

“We take this position because of our experience of 30 years of environmental and cultural impacts at Ranger and because in our talks with Rio Tinto and the Australian government we have been given no guarantee that Ranger will be the last uranium mine in Kakadu.”

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.