The uranium mine, located in Australia’s Northern Territory, must cease mining and processing operations in January 2021.
The uranium asset, located in Australia’s Northern Territory, must cease mining and processing in January 2021. Under the existing legal framework, final rehabilitation must be done by January 2026.
The Ranger uranium deposits were first discovered in 1969 by geologists who were investigating radiometric anomalies detected by air surveys of the area. Drilling over the next two years defined several orebodies and a proposal to mine the area was drafted.
The original end of mining was scheduled for 2012, with final processing of recovered material expected to end in 2020. More than 125,000 tonnes of uranium oxide have been extracted from the mine, which is surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.
The closure of the Ranger mine is part of Energy Resources’ obligations under the Mining Management Act, legislation passed in 2001 that governs the safety, health and environmental aspects of all mining and exploration activity.
Energy Resources has said the closure strategy was developed “following extensive scientific research, engineering design and stakeholder consultation over the past 30 years.”
The end goal at Ranger is reclamation of land, especially as it pertains to mine pit voids, the Ranger site, land application areas, wetland filters and other infrastructure associated with the Ranger mine, Jabiru Airport and related infrastructure and utilities within the project area.
The company has outlined its end plan for Ranger, which includes “[forming] one final landform across the site which will blend with the surrounding landscape.”
The total area of disturbance in the project area to be rehabilitated is about 950 hectares. The plan includes a schedule of all closure tasks.
In addition to following the guidelines set forth by the Mining Management Act, the strategy was also developed in accordance with Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO) internal requirements for mine closure. Rio Tinto owns a 68.4-percent stake in Energy Resources.
While the first uranium deposits were discovered at the site in 1969, open-cut mining started in 1980 and continued until 2012, with a total of three pits developed over that time.
According to Energy Resources, the closure plan will be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes that have occurred.
On Tuesday (June 12), shares of Energy Resources closed down 5 percent at AU$0.48.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.