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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
28 August 1997
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has recommended stringent conditions be applied to the proposed uranium mine at Jabiluka in the Northern Territory.
The recommendation relates to the ERA proposal which would see ore mined at the new Jabiluka site and milled at the existing Ranger mine site.
Under this proposal, there will be no tailings dams on the Jabiluka site, visual effects will be minimised, a no-release water management policy will be adopted and rehabilitation will be achievable.
The Ranger mine, approximately 20km from the proposed Jabiluka site, has been one of the most intensively monitored uranium mines in the world.
Advice from the Office of the Supervising Scientist confirms that the Ranger site has not had any significant adverse impact on the surrounding environment of Kakadu.
The Supervising Scientist will perform a similar role in contributing to the environmental management of any mine at Jabiluka.
ERA expects the proposed Jabiluka mine and the nearby Ranger mine to generate revenue of $12 billion with an estimated 87% remaining in Australia.
In addition, ERA estimates the projects would support 380 direct jobs (including 110 new jobs at Jabiluka) and the equivalent of a further 1,500 indirect jobs.
The new lease would also provide an approximately $210 million in royalties to Aboriginal communities.
Senator Hill has advised Resources and Energy Minister Warwick Parer that on the available evidence there does not appear to be any environmental issue which should prevent the preferred Jabiluka proposal from proceeding.
However, Senator Hill has recommended that stringent conditions be applied to the proposed uranium mine. Senator Hill today released his advice to Senator Parer which includes 77 conditions which are recommended should be imposed in relation to the project.
The recommended conditions are designed to ensure the protection of World Heritage and Ramsar values, flora and fauna and cultural heritage (including sacred sites). It is recommended that best practice environmental management be required at all stages of the project including in relation to water management and rehabilitation.
A key recommendation also refers to ERA's continuing contribution to the Kakadu Region Social Impact Study and its implementation.
In addition, Senator Hill has advised Senator Parer that ERA has not yet undertaken some relevant contemporary environmental studies which should be conducted.
Senator Hill has recommended that ERA should undertake these studies and submit the results to Environment Australia, enabling Senator Hill to provide additional recommendations to Senator Parer for consideration.
ERA has already undertaken to conduct these additional studies. ERA has not yet conducted the studies because of its understanding that it was not permitted access to the site by the Northern Land Council (acting on behalf of traditional owners).
On the evidence available, there does not appear to be any reason why the information provided by the additional studies would be inconsistent with the data collected in earlier studies and the conclusions extrapolated from other studies in the Alligator Rivers Region.
In making his recommendation, Senator Hill has given full consideration to:
A copy of Environment Australia's assessment report and the Minister's recommendations have now been released to the public.
Media contact - Matt Brown (06) 277 7640 or 0419 693515
Copies of documentation - Environment Australia (06) 274 1111
August 28, 1997