PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has released the closure plan for its Ranger mine, in the Northern Territory, which is required to cease mining and processing activities by January 2021.
The final rehabilitation of the project area will be completed by January 2026, ERA said last week.
The uranium miner in 2015 failed to gain approval for the extension of the Ranger Authority, which permits mining at the operation, after having earlier shelved plans for its Ranger 3 Deeps underground project on the back of weak economic prices.
Despite laying bare plans for the Ranger closure, ERA will continue to supply its customers with uranium oxide, processed from existing stockpiles, until late 2020, ahead of the mine ceasing operations in 2021.
ERA CEO Paul Arnold said that the closure plan incorporated stakeholder feedback and had been developed in accordance with parent company Rio Tinto’s internal requirements for mine closure, as well as taking reference from the Western Australian mine closure plan guidelines, while the Northern Territory closure plan guidelines were still in development.
“The plan details the rehabilitation processes and outcomes required for ERA to meet our environmental obligations. The plan, which will be subject to ongoing review and refinement, is based on extensive scientific research and world class engineering design,” Arnold said.
ERA will backfill both Pit 1 and Pit 3 following tailings deposition, starting with the most contaminated materials, while the residual waste material will remain on the land surface. Native plant and animal species will then be reintroduced to the area.
Arnold said that the plan builds on more than 20 years of scientific work undertaken on progressive rehabilitation at Range, with more than A$452-million already spent on water and rehabilitation activities since 2012.