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Ranger rehabilitation progresses

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has been granted access to $56.8 million from its security bond held by the Federal Government.

Rio Tinto subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has released its March 2024 quarterly report, detailing progress made towards rehabilitating the Ranger project area in the Northern Territory.

While ERA recorded no mining, production and development expenditure for the period, rehabilitation activities for the Ranger project area equalled about $42 million.

“Preparation for the dry capping of Pit 3 continued to progress,” the company said. “Upon the successful dewatering of Pit 3, the next step will be to lay geofabric which will protect the tailings during capping activities followed by initial capping activities.”

The first delivery of geofabric is expected for the third quarter of 2024, and several bids have been received by ERA for the placement of geofabric and initial capping activities.

“Progress was made during the quarter to complete the manufacture of equipment to be used to accelerate the drying of Pit 3 tailings within the completed wicked zone,” ERA said. “Mobilisation of this equipment is planned for the second quarter of 2024.”

ERA has confirmed it holds sufficient capital to fund planned rehabilitation expenditure through to the third quarter of 2024. The company expects to spend approximately $1.2 billion on rehabilitation activities up until the end of 2027.

However, ERA said Ranger rehabilitation activities and their cost estimates after 2027 remain uncertain.

“These activities remain subject to a number of studies and are potentially sensitive to external events, as such, estimates of expenditure beyond 2027 are subject to further study work,” the company said.

The March 2024 quarter saw ERA lodge an application with the NT Government to renew its mineral lease at the Jabiluka uranium project.

The company also appointed Rio Tinto to manage the Ranger rehabilitation project under a new management services agreement, which is expected to be implemented in the second quarter of 2024. The transition period is expected to take up to three months.

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