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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

1 1 Executive summary 1.1 Introduction At the twenty-second meeting of the World Heritage Committee, held in Paris from 22 to 27 June 1998, a decision was reached that the Chair of the Committee should lead a mission to Australia and Kakadu National Park to assess any ascertained or potential threats to the World Heritage values of Kakadu National Park that might arise from the proposal to mine uranium at Jabiluka. The visit of the Mission took place from 26 October 1998 to 1 November 1998. The report of the Mission was submitted to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee at its meeting held in Kyoto, Japan, on 2728 November 1998. Following consideration of the report, the Bureau made recommendations that were considered by the World Heritage Committee at its meeting from 30 November 1998 to 5 December 1998. The report noted severe ascertained and potential dangers to the cultural and natural values of Kakadu National Park posed primarily by the proposal for uranium mining and milling at Jabiluka and recommended that the mining and milling of uranium should not proceed. In the case of threats to the natural values of the Park, the mission placed very significant weight on the serious concerns expressed by some of Australias most eminent scientists as to the degree of scientific uncertainties relating to the Jabiluka mine design, tailings disposal and possible impact on catchment processes. The concerns cited were made in a submission by Wasson, White, Mackey and Fleming (Wasson et al 1998, Appendix 2). Because the Australian authorities had not had sufficient time to respond to the report, the World Heritage Committee made no firm decision of the future status of Kakadu at the November 1998 meeting. In its decision, the Committee requested that the Supervising Scientist conduct a full review of the areas of scientific uncertainty. The issues specified were hydrological modelling, prediction and impact of severe weather events, storage of uranium ore on the surface and the long-term storage of mine tailings. This report is the Supervising Scientists response to that request. In preparing this report, the Supervising Scientist has drawn on the broad range of expertise available within his own organisation. In addition, given the intense interest in the World Heritage issue and the need for absolute transparency, he has sought independent expert advice from a number of scientific institutes within Australia. Scientists from the the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of Melbourne, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the University of New South Wales prepared reports on specific topics at the request of the Supervising Scientist. These reports are included as attachments to this report. 1.2 Issues to be addressed Following a detailed examination of the submission by Wasson et al (1998) and the Mission report, the Supervising Scientist has summarised the main issues arising under each of the topics specified by the World Heritage Committee and confirmed this interpretation with the Chair of the Committee. This summary is as follows: Hydrological modelling This topic includes issues raised by Wasson et al (1998) in section 5 of their submission; in particular, (i) the estimate of what constitutes a 1 in 10,000 AEP annual rainfall for the