Mining giant Rio Tinto’s plans to clean up the controversial Ranger uranium mine have been thrown into doubt after objections from a Singapore-based hedge fund.
The mine is owned by ASX-listed Energy Resources Australia (ERA), which in turn is 68% owned by Rio Tinto. ERA is required to remediate the mine site and return it to a state fit to be incorporated in the surrounding Kakadu national park, by 2026.
There have been longstanding concerns about the risk of a uranium leak from the Ranger mine, amplified by its location at the eastern end of the remote national park in the Northern Territory.
A decade ago it was revealed contaminated water was leaking every day from a tailings dam. In 2013 a burst leach tank at the mine released up to 1m litres of acidic radioactive slurry.
Those concerns, which contributed heavily to Mirrar native title holders insisting that mining cease, underscore the risk if the site is left without remediation.