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Nuclear Free NT

The ECNT has been working for a long time to see the Territory become nuclear free. In 1983, the ECNT was borne through community opposition to Ranger Uranium Mine, and the desire for Kakadu National Park to be established free from the threat of uranium mining.

Australia’s nuclear industry is dangerous, expensive and creates long-lived radioactive waste that has the potential to end up in nuclear weapons. Our team advocates for a nuclear free future for the Territory, and promotes alternative options to the exploration, mining, transport and dumping of radioactive materials.

We have worked hard with Indigenous Traditional Owners, unions, health professionals, governments, fishermen, and others in the community to rid the Territory of the threats posed by mining, processing, transporting and storing uranium and its waste products.

We worked with the Mirarr to support their blockade of Jabiluka in 2003, which led to Rio Tinto agreeing to place the mine in care and maintenance mode in the absence of Mirrar support for the mine. Mirrar remain steadfastly opposed to the mine.

Since 2006 we opposed plans by Australian Governments – both Liberal and Labor – to dump nuclear waste at Muckaty Station north of Tennant Creek. By working with a wide range groups who were supporting the Indigenous traditional owners of Muckaty who were opposed to the dump the Federal Government abandoned its plan in 2014.

The key focus area at the moment is the rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine.

The Ranger mine, which in its more than 30-year existence has had a number contamination and fire incidents, including one that prompted a six-month shutdown, will stop operations by January 2021 and close by January 2026

A new report has found Australia’s largest national park is at long-term risk unless the clean-up of the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu is done comprehensively and effectively.

Unfinished business, co-authored by the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI) at the University of Sydney and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), identifies significant data deficiencies, a lack of clarity around regulatory and governance frameworks and uncertainty over the adequacy of current and future financing – especially in relation to future monitoring and mitigation works for the controversial mine site.

Mine operator Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and parent company Rio Tinto are required to clean up the site to a standard suitable for inclusion in the surrounding Kakadu National Park, dual-listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Tailings, the waste material remaining after the processing of finely ground ore, are one of the serious environmental risks outlined in the report. The report examines how ERA and Rio Tinto intend to deliver on the federal government’s requirement to protect the Kakadu environment by isolating any tailings and making sure contaminants do not result in any detrimental environmental impacts for at least 10,000 years.

“Long after the miners have gone this waste remains a direct human and environmental challenge,” said report co-author Dave Sweeney from ACF.

See the 'Unfinished Business' Report on the Australian Conservation Foundation website

See the ECNT's Response To The Ranger Mine Closure Plan here