Kakadu uranium rehabilitation in Rio hit by cost explosions

This fundraiser sparked a fight between Rio and ERA’s minority shareholders like Willy Packer and Richard Magides. Mr Packer declined to comment while Mr Magides had not responded at press time.

The explosion of the schedule to December 2028 means that ERA and Rio will demand that the federal government change the legislative instrument that governs the mine and currently requires that all rehabilitation be completed by January 2026.

Ranger was built on the traditional lands of the Mirarr people, whose administrative organization, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), said cost and schedule estimates had long been underestimated.

“GAC fully supports ERA’s access to the Ranger site beyond 2026 to ensure no toxic legacies remain for Mirarr and Kakadu National Park,” the traditional owners said in a statement. communicated.

“GAC is not surprised that the costs are higher than previously suggested. The magnitude of the costs expected today is greater than expected. We are heartened to see that an appropriate amount will now be allocated to the largest rehabilitation exercise in Australian mining history.

Explaining the cause of the blowouts, ERA said higher costs were incurred during work to convert Ranger’s tailings storage facility to water storage.

ERA said the cost of creating landforms with proper drainage had also increased, along with the cost of filling Ranger’s third mine pit.

The ERA board asked the rehabilitation team to consider an alternative method of filling and plugging the third pit at Ranger and the GAC said it supported an alternative approach.

“GAC supports the alternative option of removing the water and undertaking a process similar to what has already happened at Pit 1,” the organization said.

Ranger is arguably Australia’s most high-profile mine rehabilitation project at the dawn of an era when the number of mines closed and rehabilitated is set to skyrocket.

Rehabilitation at Ranger will be to a higher standard than at most mines; the proximity to Kakadu saw Rio and ERA commit to leaving the land in a condition similar to that of the neighboring national park.

On the contrary, many mines located in less sensitive regions of Australia are simply flooded with water and turned into lakes.

Rio has signaled that it is willing to spend whatever it takes to bring the Ranger site up to standard with the nearby national park.

“Rio Tinto is reviewing the preliminary findings of this new forecast and has advised ERA that it is committed to working with the company to ensure that rehabilitation of the Ranger Project area is successfully completed to a standard that will set a environment similar to adjacent Kakadu National. Park,” the company said in a statement.

Aside from the national park, the rehabilitation challenge at Ranger is exacerbated by the fact that the mine site contains radioactive material and the Mirarr live nearby.

The main traditional owner of the Mirarr, Yvonne Margarula, said she hopes the federal government has not forgotten its promises to its people.

“Ranger has been operating in our country for over forty years. I’ve been waiting for this almost my whole life. ERA and Rio Tinto promise me everything will be cleaned up properly, but I’m afraid the government has forgotten they put this mine here in the first place,” she said in a statement.

“It’s going to cost someone a lot more money now and we need to know that the government hasn’t forgotten its promises to Indigenous peoples.”

ERA shares rose 3% to 33¢ on Wednesday.

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