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Australian Government - Supervising Scientist logo

MEDIA RELEASE

Issued 29 March 2004

Kakadu not affected by Ranger leak

The Commonwealth Government's Supervising Scientist, Dr Arthur Johnston, said today that the people and the environment of Kakadu National Park had not been harmed by the leak of contaminated water from the Ranger mine last week.

Dr Johnston said that monitoring data conducted throughout last week and data from specific investigations conducted following the incident at Ranger had now been assessed.

"I am relieved to advise that the concentrations of all chemicals measured in the Magela Creek downstream from the Ranger mine have remained within their normal range and that no adverse effects have been observed in the animals we monitor," Dr Johnston said.

The maximum concentration of uranium downstream from the mine, for example, was lower that the safe value for animals and plants by a factor of more than 100 and lower than the drinking water limit by a factor of about 200.

"This means that I can now provide assurance to the Traditional Owners and other Aboriginal people in the region that it is safe to drink the waters of Magela Creek and to eat bush tucker as they have always done," said Dr Johnston.

Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage Dr David Kemp has asked Dr Johnston to ensure that the people and environment are protected before the mine reopens.

Dr Johnston said that his staff were still assessing the drinking water quality at the mine and that he would have to be certain that mine staff were not at risk before he could recommend that it reopened.

Dr Johnston plans to discuss the incident and the results of the monitoring program with Traditional Owners and the broader Jabiru community at meetings in Kakadu tomorrow, Tuesday 30 March.

Media contact:
Jacqui Rovis-Hermann
Telephone (08) 8920 1180
Fax (08) 8920 1199
Mobile 0407 140 070
Email jacqui.rovis-hermann@deh.gov.au