What are some of the issues in the region ?
Ranger Uranium Mine
As of July 2015, it appears that Ranger will be closing its operations down as it fails to get the backing of both its majority shareholder (RioTinto) and the traditional aboriginal people to extend operations underground (Ranger 3 Deeps).
Still, there is a significant shortfall in the funds required to fulfil their obligations to undertake rehabilitation of the Ranger site after their lease is up in 2021.
Both the federal and NT governments are confident that the Tax Payer will not have to meet the deficit which is looking to be about $150 mill.
Unfortunately, both historical precedence and current environmental experts say that this is exactly what is going to happen.
Rum Jungle Uranium Mine
Lake Rum Jungle is what resulted from the flooding of Lake Rum Jungle South pit which was the biggest ore producing pit associated with the Rum Jungle Uranium operation from 1949-1971. This was the first large-scale uranium mining operation in Australia and follows on from significant pressure from the UK and USA to develop nuclear weaponry.
Now it is a site for locals and visitors to swim, fish and frolic.
Unfortunately, there is still confusion and uncertainty regarding the safety of doing these things. Reports from both sides of the fence are at odds.
A report commissioned by the NT mines and Energy Department (NTMED) (2012) indicates it is OK however as shown by direct readings at the site by the NT Environment Centre this appears to not be the case.
The sticking point appears to be that safety modelling of the site was carried out using typical legal scenarios such as day use rather than possible worst case scenarios such as extended camping near hot spots. Further modelling based on this scenario is what is being requested by the Public Health authority, the Environment Centre and concerned citizens.
Amidst this confusion, you still get people utilising the location without any idea of the potential hazards nor is there any clear signage telling people what the lake area was prior to a recreation area.
As of October 2015, the NTMED have stated that they have no intention of placing warning signs in the area, however, are considering interpretative signage to showcase the area for future tourists as an example of a rehabilitation success story.
The time frame for this is around 2 years apparently.
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a well stimulation process used to maximise the extraction of underground resources; including oil, natural gas, and geothermal energy. The process of hydraulic fracturing begins with building the necessary site infrastructure including well construction.
Production wells may be drilled in the vertical direction only or paired with horizontal or directional sections. Fluids, commonly made up of water and chemical additives, are then pumped into a geologic formation at a high pressure and when the pressure exceeds the rock strength.