WHY BRING UP THE ISSUES?
This industry has shown itself to be of concern to communities and environments around the world and the NT has just given the green light to just about all of the Territory.
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 (Rio Tinto) and the traditional aboriginal people to extend operations underground (Ranger 3 Deeps).
Still, there is a significant shortfall in the funds required to fulfill 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 modeling 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 modeling 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 utilizing 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.