More uranium accidents at Ranger
The Northern Land Council will take up the spills, leakages and accidents at the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu National Park with the company that owns the mine, ERA and the Federal Government. The Land Council says there have been a number of "operational errors" which have led to high levels of contamination in waters adjacent to the mine site. "I am very disturbed that not only were mistakes made which lead to contamination, but that ERA failed to adequately detect high levels within the appropriate time frame", said Land Council Chief Executive, Norman Fry. "The fact that they did not notify stakeholders, including traditional owners, until last week, just compounded the problems." Mr Fry said that ERA and the Government must not lose sight of the fact that the traditional owners live in the area and rely on it for their physical and cultural sustenance. A uranium leak last month sent water contamination to unprecedented levels, the fourth breach of operating regulations this year. Andy Ralph, a spokesperson for the traditional owners, the Mirrar people, said the breaches showed that ERA was still unaccountable. "The main crux of the matter is that ERA have four times broken regulations that were put in place to allay the fears of traditional owners about high levels of uranium entering Kakadu", said Mr Ralph. "How can the traditional owners have any confidence in the regulatory authority or the mining company when leaks continue to occur and reporting is continually delayed?" The Northern Land Council said the Government must share the blame, as the mine is situated on a Commonwealth lease. Norman Fry said the fact that such fundamental operational errors continue to occur raises serious questions about the efficacy of ERA's systems.