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Closing Ranger, protecting Kakadu 6.46 MB

Plans for cleaning up the site of the Ranger uranium mine, which closes in January 2021 – and incorporating it into Australia’s largest national park, Kakadu – are being hampered by an unrealistic five-year rehabilitation time frame, uncertainty over funding and fears about a tailings dam leaking toxic contaminants into the surrounding national park.

This report reviews the 2020 Ranger Mine Closure Plan and finds the objective that a rehabilitated Ranger site be incorporated into Kakadu National Park is being hindered by:

  • An unrealistic mandated time frame that requires rehabilitation being complete by 2026
  • Data deficiencies and technical issues, particularly around groundwater and tailings management
  • A proposal to leave the floor of the tailings dam in situ, risking contaminants entering Kakadu

The report makes several recommendations, including that the closure period be extended through an amendment to the Atomic Energy Act and that the federal government fund an independent process to assess, monitor and manage the impacts of closure on Aboriginal people in the region.

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