Management of Ranger Uranium Mine Waters, Kakadu Region, Northern Territory, Australia

Bastias J,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
The Ranger uranium mine has operated in the Kakadu region of the Northern Territory since 1979. The mine's water management system was designed to cater for the wet-dry monsoonal climate and to satisfy the recommendations of the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry - Second Report, 1977 (The Fox Report) with respect to environment protection. The Fox Report advised that the aquatic ecosystem of the region must be protected and that the mine should collect all runoff from disturbed areas. Furthermore, the mine was to operate as a no-release system until release standards, based on the experience of several years of operation and on the results obtained from monitoring and scientific investigations, could be established. Monitoring and research data have now been collected for a decade. it is evident that lower-than-expected concentrations of chemical constituents are present in the runoff waters which are retained on site. Standards have been established for the release of these waters to the streams when in flood during the wet season. Mine water quality data and release standards are presented. It can be confidently concluded that controlled release will not cause detriment to the aquatic ecosystems of the Kakadu region. The Ranger operation has demonstrated that environmentally responsible management of mine waters is feasible for future mining ventures in the Kakadu region.
Full Article Download:
(219 kb)