Closing Ranger, Protecting Kakadu

A group of experts review the 2020 Ranger Mine Closure Plan.

In January 2021, following four decades of imposed uranium mining and milling, operations at the Ranger uranium mine will end. This will leave a heavily impacted site that requires extensive rehabilitation. It must be of a very high standard to realise ERA and Rio Tinto’s obligation to rehabilitate the site to a standard suitable for incorporation into Kakadu National Park and to meet the clear expectations of multiple stakeholders. Australia has a long history of sub-standard mine closure and rehabilitation in both the uranium and wider mining sector. Two former Rio Tinto uranium operations at Rum Jungle (NT) and Mary Kathleen (Qld) remain highly problematic. A far better approach and outcome is needed at Ranger.

This review of the 2020 Ranger Mine Closure Plan (RMCP) identifies some key issues and barriers to achieving the environmental requirements and objectives at Ranger. In raising these issues it seeks to improve the prospects for achieving a rehabilitated Ranger site that can be incorporated into Kakadu National Park.

The report is authored by Mia Pepper, Mineral Policy Institute, Rebecca Lawrence, Sydney Environment Institute, Dave Sweeney,  Australian Conservation Foundation, Associate Professor Gavin Mudd, RMIT, Kirsty Howey, Environment Centre NT, and Justin Tutty, ENCT.

We acknowledge the Mirarr people as the Traditional Owners of the land where the Ranger mine is sited and thank them for their sustained efforts to protect Country and culture.

View Report