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Issue #1620      November 27, 2013

Dangerous regulatory failure at Rio’s Ranger mine

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) is outraged by revelations that four uranium barrels from Ranger uranium mine have been located at Noonamah south of Darwin. It is understood that the NT Department of Health has notified Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) of the drums and asked that they be removed. The drums have been returned to the Ranger mine within the bounds of Kakadu National Park for safe storage.

This incident comes within weeks of another serious breach of radiation management at Ranger when a potentially contaminated vehicle left the Ranger site without authorisation.

GAC’s Chief Executive Officer Justin O’Brien said: “It is clear that the radiation control measures at the Ranger mine site have failed on multiple occasions. While we welcome the timely reporting of this issue by the company, ERA’s management of radiation is plainly inadequate.

“The Commonwealth government must step in and ensure that this matter is taken seriously. To date the response by the Office of the Supervising Scientist (OSS) has been dismissive and woefully inadequate. Both the NT and federal governments must broaden their current investigations into the vehicle incident and examine the entire management of radiation at the Ranger mine.

“This is not a only a matter between the Mirarr and the mining company, there are significant questions of public health to be considered here. We expect these issues to be considered in a comprehensive investigation of these incidents.

“This revelation raises very serious concerns for the Mirarr Traditional Owners regarding the suggestion of further mining at Ranger,” Mr O’Brien concluded.

Next article – Tax Office cuts bad for workers and economy

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