Outrage over tunnel project

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has slammed plans to build a three kilometre long exploration tunnel at Energy Resources Australia’s Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory’s Kakadu National Park.

The ACF’s Dave Sweeney said this week’s decision by Federal Environment Department to allow the tunnel without independent environmental research is ill advised.

“A major expansion of a controversial uranium mine inside the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park requires rigorous scrutiny, not fast-tracking,” he said.

“The federal government needs to protect good process, public confidence and Kakadu by putting a spotlight on this plan.”

According to Sweeney, despite the fact the tunnel is labeled as exploration it is in fact a step towards a new uranium mining enterprise in the area.

“It is a key piece of mining infrastructure and they will be extracting, stockpiling and potentially processing mineralised ore from this,” he said.

“For the Government to say that it does not constitute a threat to Kakadu, it does not constitute something that requires rigorous assessment, defies belief.”

Sweeny said that the mine needs to rigorously tested and checked rather than expanded.

“Ranger is leaking, creaking and under-performing,” he said.

“This mine urgently needs review and overhaul not a green light for further expansion.”

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