Australian: Ranger mine to restart
6th June 2014
by Barry Fitzgerald
NORTHERN Territory uranium group Energy Resources of Australia has been cleared by NT and federal authorities to progressively restart processing at its Ranger operation.
The listed Rio Tinto subsidiary was forced to halt processing in December when a leach tank in the processing plant collapsed.
The collapse released a slurry of ore and acid which was captured by the site’s containment system, with ERA saying no material escaped into the surrounding Kakadu National Park.
ERA chief executive Andrea Sutton said yesterday the company acknowledged the leach tank collapse was “a serious incident that damaged community confidence in our operations’’.
“We recognise that an important aspect of the recovery from this incident will be restoration of that confidence in our processing operations,” she said.
“To achieve that outcome we undertook an extensive review of the integrity of the plant’s equipment, our maintenance and inspection plans and we also reviewed plant process safety.
“The measures we have undertaken are designed to prevent anything similar happening in the future and to reassure our stakeholders and the broader community of the integrity of our operation.”
ERA’s long-term future depends on the development of the Ranger 3 Deeps underground resource. Approval by the board, traditional owners and governments is due late 2014, assuming a pre-feasibility study indicates a profitable development.
Current operations at Ranger are based on the processing of stockpiles from the now exhausted open-cut operations.
ERA expects to achieve normal production levels during the third quarter of this year.