ERA says its uranium transport in line with guidelines

Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia says transporting barrels of geological samplings on the back of a ute poses no risk to the community after a photo emerged of this occurring in the Northern Territory.

The photo shows a vehicle carrying two green barrels featuring radio-active warning stickers being driven down the Arnhem Highway.

The barrels were tied to the ute with rope, and Australian Mining understands the samples were being transported from Darwin 230km east to the Ranger mine site.

ERA said while the practice was in accordance with guidelines the company was reviewing what had occurred on this occasion.

"ERA's normal practice is to have them contained in sealed drums and placed in an enclosed box," the company said in a statement.

It said the material in the barrels did not contain any processed uranium ore and were geological samplings.

ERA has come under fire from Nuclear Free NT who says transporting the material in this way is dangerous, ABC reports.

"It really boggles the mind that a company under the spotlight as ERA are at the moment, with three separate investigations into the regulation of their mine ongoing, that they are not taking a closer look at how people feel about this kind of dangerous cargo being transported on their roads," grou spokeswoman Lauren Mellor said.

However the company says the material did not pose a risk to the public.

“At no time was there any danger to community health from the carriage of the drums,” ERA said.

NT Work Safe has confirmed the packaging and transport arrangements were in accordance with Northern Territory legislation and national requirements.

“The drums did not contain processed uranium ore and the transport of the samples in this manner is allowed,” Work Health Authority Doug Phillips said.

ERA has been seen a number of safety incidents occur at its site in recent months.

In December a leach tank at the site’s processing plant ruptured and collapsed, causing an acidic radioactive slurry spill.

The incident forced the shutdown of operations and a massive clean-up at the site, with the Federal Government announcing the mine will not be able to restart production operations without regulatory approval and the go ahead from a joint operation taskforce.

Processing operations remain suspended while clean-up and recovery operations at the Ranger processing plant are ongoing.

In early November a mine left the site’s controlled areas sparking fears of contamination, while later that month four uranium storage barrels were discovered in bushland near Darwin.

ERA says it acknowledges that there is strong community interest in its activities.

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