End of an ERA at Ranger Mine as operations cease after four decades

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Mine Rehabilitation & Closure / Mining & Resources

End of an ERA at Ranger Mine as operations cease after four decades

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Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has halted processing activities at the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory after four decades of operation. The move was warranted by the commonwealth and state governments after ERA failed to receive the permission of native title holders to continue mining.

ERA has been rehabilitating the site towards its expected completion in 2026. The transfer of tailings from the storage facility to pit three is continuing, along with its water treatment and pit one revegetation.

In response to the operations drawing to a close, an Aboriginal group in Kakadu National Park has demanded that the company continue to rehabilitate the site beyond its current lease expiry.

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Justin O’Brien, believes that five years is “..not long enough”.

“We are now awaiting a drafting from the Commonwealth Government for amendments to the Atomic Energy Act such that you can actually put in place an extension to the rehabilitation period.”

– Justin O’Brien, CEO of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation

Mr O’Brien said traditional owners were pushing for the rehabilitation period to be extended by an additional 26 years, which would carry the process through until 2052.

He said ERA and its parent company, Rio Tinto, had signalled their support for an extended term of rehabilitation – but the timeframe and details of that extension are still being negotiated.

In a statement, ERA said it was committed to “achieving all documented rehabilitation outcomes in its Mine Closure Plan (MCP) by January 2026”.

It confirmed negotiations were underway with traditional owners to “determine an appropriate mechanism” to extend the company’s tenure at the Ranger site, which would allow it to continue rehabilitation beyond 2026.

ERA chief executive Paul Arnold added that the mine closure was a truly historic milestone.

“Ranger has been a major supplier to global energy markets as well as being a key contributor to the Kakadu region and the Northern Territory,” he said.

“On behalf of the board and management of ERA, it is with heartfelt gratitude that we farewell many of our dedicated operational team who have contributed both to Ranger and the broader Jabiru and Kakadu community.


“… Importantly, ERA will have an ongoing presence in the region as we continue the progressive rehabilitation of Ranger.”

– Paul Arnold, CEO of ERA




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