Territory Stories

Assessment of the Jabiluka Project : report of the Supervising Scientist to the World Heritage Committee



Assessment of the Jabiluka Project : report of the Supervising Scientist to the World Heritage Committee


Johnston, A.; Prendergast, J. B.; Bridgewater, Peter


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Supervising Scientist Report; 138




Alligator Rivers Region

Table of contents

Main report--Appendix 2 of the Main Report. Submission to the Mission of the World Heritage Committee by some Australian Scientists ... --Attachment A. Johnston A. and Needham S. 1999. Protection of the environment near the Ranger uranium mine--Attachment B. Bureau of Meteorology 1999. Hydrometeorological analysis relevant to Jabiluka--Attachment C. Jones, R.N., Hennessy, K.J. and Abbs, D.J. 1999. Climate change analysis relevant to Jabiluka--Attachment D. Chiew, F and Wang, Q.J. 1999. Hydrological anaysis relevant to surface water storage at Jabiluka--Attachment E. Kalf, F. and Dudgeon, C. 1999. Analysis of long term groundwater dispersal of contaminants from proposed Jabiluka mine tailings repositories--Appendix 2 of Attachment E. Simulation of leaching on non-reactive and radionuclide contaminants from proposed Jabiluka silo banks.




Uranium mill tailings - Environmental aspects - Northern Territory - Alligator Rivers Region; Environmental impact analysis - Northern Territory - Jabiluka; Uranium mines and mining - Environmental aspects - Northern Territory - Jabiluka; Jabiluka - Environmental aspects

Publisher name

Environment Australia

Place of publication

Canberra (A.C.T.)


Supervising Scientist Report; 138


1 volume (various pagings) : illustrations, maps

File type






Copyright owner

Environment Australia



Parent handle


Citation address


Related items

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462403; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462400; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462405; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462406; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462408; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462409; https://hdl.handle.net/10070/462411

Page content

15 2 Introduction 2.1 Mining of uranium in the Alligator Rivers Region In April 1975, the Commonwealth Government of Australia established a public inquiry, the Ranger Uranium Environmental Inquiry (RUEI), into the proposal to mine uranium at the Ranger site in the Alligator Rivers Region of Australias Northern Territory (fig 2.1). This wide ranging Inquiry examined generic issues of the nuclear fuel cycle, including waste disposal and possible dangers of nuclear weapons proliferation, as well as site specific aspects of the proposed Ranger development, including protection of the local environment and Aboriginal land rights. In August 1977, following the publication of the findings of the RUEI, the Government announced its decision to authorise the mining and export of uranium in the Alligator Rivers Region under the very strict requirements for environmental control recommended by the Inquiry. Essential elements of the plan adopted by the Commonwealth Government to protect the environment and to insulate, to some extent, the Aboriginal people of the Region from the social disruptions inevitably associated with such a major development, were: the granting of land to the traditional owners under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the establishment of Kakadu National Park, part of which comprised Aboriginal land leased back to the Commonwealth Government for the purposes of the Park, and the establishment of a Supervising Scientist to assist in the development of measures for the protection of the environment and oversee their implementation. From the outset, existing exploration and mining leases at Ranger, Jabiluka and Koongarra were excluded from the Park. Following the Governments decision, approval was given for the mining of uranium at Ranger and, after a period of mine construction, mining and milling of uranium commenced in 1981. Mining of Orebody No 1 was completed in 1994 while mining of Orebody No 3 commenced in May 1997 and should be completed by about 2007. (The smaller No 2 orebody is close to Mount Brockman, an Aboriginal sacred site, and will not be mined.) In October 1996, Energy Resources of Australia submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (ERA 1996) for the mining of uranium at the Jabiluka site, 25 km north of Ranger. This proposal was assessed by the Commonwealth Government under the Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974, (EPIP Act). The principal proposal, known as the Ranger Mill Alternative (RMA), involved the mining of the Jabiluka orebody by underground methods and the milling of the ore at the existing mill at Ranger. This proposal received approval from the Commonwealth Government in October 1997 subject to a broad range of requirements on environmental protection. However, the RMA proposal requires the trucking of ore from Jabiluka to Ranger and this requires the specific agreement of the Aboriginal land owners. The traditional land owners have so far refused to give their permission for the milling of Jabiluka ore at Ranger. The draft EIS also contained an alternative proposal, known as the Jabiluka Mill Alternative (JMA), which involved the construction of a new mill at Jabiluka. The conclusion of the Commonwealth Government on the JMA in October 1997 was that insufficient information had been presented for a rigorous assessment of environmental impact and that, should ERA