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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

18 various environmental risks; and the mission considers this essential to conveying a realistic picture of the likely overall impact of the mine. Recommendation 2: The mission noted the serious concerns and preoccupations expressed by some of Australias most eminent scientists as to the unacceptably high degree of scientific uncertainties relating to the Jabiluka mine design, tailings disposal and possible impacts on catchment ecosystems. The mission shares these concerns and therefore recommends application of the Precautionary Principle which requires that mining operations at Jabiluka be ceased. The report of the Mission to Kakadu was considered by the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee at its meeting at Kyoto, Japan, on 2728 November 1998. The Bureau endorsed the report and noted, inter alia, the significant difference in opinion concerning the degree of certainty of the science used to assess the impact of the Jabiluka mine on the World Heritage values of Kakadu National Park. It recommended that the Committee seek a report on these issues from the Supervising Scientist. 2.3 Decision of the World Heritage Committee The World Heritage Committee considered the report of the Mission and the recommendations of the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee at its meeting in Kyoto on 30 November 5 December 1998. The full text of the decision of the Committee is given in Appendix 1. The sections of the decision relevant to scientific uncertainty are given below. The Committee noted that there is significant difference of opinion concerning the degree of certainty of the science used to assess the impact of the mine of the World Heritage values of Kakadu (notably hydrological modelling, prediction and impact of severe weather events, storage of uranium ore on the surface and the long-term storage of the mine tailings); and decided that: The Australian authorities be requested to direct the Australian Supervising Scientist Group to conduct a full review of the scientific issues referred to in Paragraph (iv) above, to be provided to the Secretariat by 15 April 1999. The review will be submitted to peer review by an independent scientific panel composed of scientists selected by UNESCO in consultation with the International Council of Scientific Unions and the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee. The report of the peer review will be provided to the Secretariat by 15 May 1999 for immediate distribution to the members of the Bureau, IUCN and the Australian authorities. The current report from the Supervising Scientist is in response to the above request. 2.4 Scope of this report The four issues raised in the Committees decision are, in some cases, clearly related to issues raised in the report of the Bureau Mission to Kakadu National Park and to issues raised in the submission by Professor Wasson and others to the Mission (Wasson et al 1998). In other cases, the precise definition is less clear. For this reason the Supervising Scientist wrote to the Chair of the World Heritage Committee seeking clarification on the precise description of these technical issues to ensure that there would be no misunderstanding at a later date. The four issues specified in the decision are listed below together with a longer description of each issue that represents the Supervising Scientists interpretation of what is meant by each.