The Australian Government announced a $14.5 million funding allocation for rehabilitation of the former Rum Jungle uranium mine in Northern Territory.
Federal Resources and Energy Minister Gary Gray, and the Northern Territory’s Mines and Energy Minister Willem Westra van Holthe announced the funding in Darwin today.
The Federal Government will provide the funding over the next three years for site rehabilitation.
The federal government allocated $8.3 million in 2009 for rehabilitation.
The Rum Jungle Mine, south of Darwin, was closed in 1971. The federal government at the time decided not to carry out site rehabilitation.
This had significant impact on the environment as sulphides oxidised and acid and metals discharged into the East Finniss River.
The first rehabilitation effort was carried out in 1977, and another $16.2 million Commonwealth-funded program was executed in 1983-88.
An additional $1.8 million program was implemented in 1990-91 to upgrade Rum Jungle Creek South waste dumps.
Gray said the government aims to make the site safe for people and wildlife and reduce contaminant loads downstream of the site.
“This work has the support of traditional Aboriginal owners and it will go a long way towards resolving the outstanding land claim," Gray said in a statement.
“I look forward to the cooperative relationship that has been built up between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments, and the site’s traditional Aboriginal owners continuing.”
Westra Van Holthe said he supported the Federal government’s move towards rehabilitation.
“The first stage of the project, which developed the conceptual plan, has been an extremely successful project by the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy,” he said.
“It is now time to move into Stage 2, which will provide detailed engineering design that would provide for Stage 3 – full rehabilitation of this legacy site.”
Gray said the mining industry is dependent on what it leaves behind once mine sites are closed.
“The industry today recognised that to gain access to future resources it needs to demonstrate that it can effectively operate and close mines with the support of communities,” he said.