Appendix 2.9

Appendix 2.9

Infringements of the Ranger Uranium Mine Environmental Requirements

28 February 1979 Spillage of diesel into Coonjimba Billabong, no reported environmental impact
9 November 1979 Contractor's plant encroached on fenced off vegetation; area was re-fenced and vegetation restored.
22 November 1979 -20L diesel spilled into a drain in Jabiru; spill was contained and did not enter natural waterways.
7 December 1979 Small amount of oil-tar spilled a sediment control pond at the Jabiru Police Station; no environmental effect.
23 February 1980 One tree knocked over by a contractor; no major impact on general environment.
29 March 1980 RUM pumped water from Borrow areas A & B to ponds 2 and 3 before the ponds were declared officially to be RRZ. No environmental impact.
6 June 1980 Release of 1000M3 of silty water discharged from Borrow D to Georgetown Creek, no significant environmental impact.
week ending 27 June 1980 Dry drilling in Borrow Pit A; no environmental significance but wet drilling was to be used under OH&S requirements.
11 August 1980 One sea eagle found shot near junction of Magela and Georgetown creeks; police informed.
9 November 1980 One antilopine kangaroo found shot at Gulungul creek borefield; RUM limited access to the area.
1980-81 Wet Season Sewer at old mess site became surcharged at times and sewage entered Coonjimba Billabong; RUM undertook remedial works; no lasting environmental impact

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9 April 1981 Small volume of water and silt flowed from RUM's organic dump tank to Georgetown Creek; no contamination in water and flow failed to reach main channel.
29 July 1981 Recycle water tank overflowed spilling process water from #3 pond into the neutral thickener area. Some of the water and a minor amount of tailings solids were pumped into the stormwater collection pond which discharges to #2 pond during the wet season. The estimated volume pumped was 40 m3 ; no lasting environmental impact.
31 July 1981 Fugitive slaked lime dust from a lime transfer operation blew onto the surface of Djalkmara Billabong and was noted through a pH reading of 9.3 during routine monitoring. Impact was small and problem overcome by introducing water spray on lime before and during loading.
August 1981 During commissioning of the mill process stream waste rock was used. The ground waste accumulated at one point in the tailings dam and some was exposed to air. Situation was modified once true tailings were produced and procedure introduced to move deposition pie. No environmental impact.
5 August 1981 Clarified pregnant liquor tank and associated clarifier tank overflowed into an adjacent bund due to operator error. Liquor was pumped back; further overflow stopped by adjustment of process flow rate; some slight increase in radioactivity in bund during incident but considered minor.
13 August 1981 Sewage manhole at Coonjimba Camp discharged at 3-4 litres/min and effluent was flowing on the track to the billabong; leak was due to a faulty automatic pump control which prevented pump starting; repairs effected; no environmental impact.
3-23 November 1981 2 islands of tailings appeared in the tailings dam, area about 20 sq. metres; mine closed for 4 days while authorisation and requirement for 2m water cover were reviewed. Authorisation amended to show water cover rather than specific depth. No environmental hazard.
23 November 1981 Spillage of concentrate from a drum outside the store during unloading; cleaned up; no environmental impact.
25 November 1981 Two observed emissions of concentrate dust from the scrubber stack, estimated at 2-4 kg uranium. This exceeded the daily discharge limit of 1.5 kg uranium. Repairs to control system effected to prevent recurrence; no environmental impact.
26 November 1981 Operator found in bare feet whilst working in the tailings dam; estimated radiation exposure was trivial; operator and supervisor advised on importance of following safety procedures.
11 December 1981 Small amount of tailings leaked from a pipeline to the tailings dam floor above the water level; covered with soil; no environmental impact.
14 December 1981 Small tailings spill from breather valve in tailings pipeline on inside perimeter on tailings dam embankment. Breather valves declared redundant and removed; tailings cleared up into dam; no environmental impact.
22 December 1981 #3 sewage retention pond overflowed. Contractor staff failed to be on site as required; RUM took over running plant; environmental impact, following rainfall dilution was very minor.
28 December 1981 Operator sprayed with ammonium diuranate, he showered and was treated at the first aid post; test showed no contamination.
2 January 1982 Break in tailings line inside tailings dam wall; some erosion, wall repaired with waste rock, no environmental impact.
5 January 1982 Small quantity of yellowcake spilt from two drums in transport outside packing area; cleaned up by safety officer; no environmental impact; new procedures introduced to prevent recurrence.
22-23 January 1982 About 40 dead fish were found in Coonjimba Billabong; Water quality checks showed nothing abnormal; natural fish kills occur in the area from time to time.
22 January -

2 February 1982

Acid plant stack emissions measured to be in excess of allowable limit of 2kg/tonne of acid produced; problem due to incorrect fitting in plant since commissioning; part replaced and level fell to about 1.3 kg/tonne; No lasting environmental impact; new checking procedure introduced.
18 February 1982 Small leak from tailings pipeline detected; line shut down and repair effected within 1 hour including clean up, all tailings stayed in the RRZ. No danger to health or environment.
25 February 1982 Acid mist eliminators in acid plant flooded due to blocked drain and mist level exceeded permitted limits; plant shut down and fault rectified; no environmental impact.
4 March 1982 1m square island of tailings appeared above water in tailings dam overnight when pipe was not shifted on time; corrected during the next shift; no environmental impact.
16 March 1982 SO2 analyser on acid plant damaged by acid; alternative tests showed emissions below limit; no environmental impact.
25 March 1982 Bleeder valve on tailings pipeline leaked a small amount of tailings onto inside top of embankment; Tailings were hosed into dam, no environmental impact.
20 April 1982 30 m3 pregnant organic liquor solution overflowed from an overflow sump into stormwater system thence to 32 pond. Operation was stopped; sump modified to prevent recurrence; no environmental impact.
16 June 1982 Emissions on packing area scrubber exceeding allowable rate; unit was shut down and overhauled; system modified to prevent blockage in water filter; no environmental impacts.
22 June 1982 Filter cake form sulphur meter self ignited and was not fully extinguished before dumping in tailings dam; subsequently re-ignited and had to be dowsed with earth; no environmental impact or health risk from fumes.
June/July 1982 SO2 emissions from acid plant stock over allowable limits. Plant shut down and modified to prevent further problems; no environmental impact.
5 July 1982 Significant incident following a major spill of product, - 1 tonne of yellowcake, onto two personnel. Subsequently radiation safety measures were investigated. No environmental detriment but worker health was threatened and investigations continued.
1 February 1983 < 1 Tonne of low grade ore washed outside RRZ with 150 m3 of RRZ water following drain blockage in heavy rainfall. No environmental detriment.
9 February 1983 -200L of diesel spilt at a borefield 800m south of pit #1; No significant environmental impact outside spill site.
23 February 1983 7 personnel exposed to above permitted levels of radioactive contamination during modifications to yellowcake scrubbers; exposures were short term and less than 5% of the annual limit for designated workers; no environmental or health impacts.
March 1983 Small volume of sewage escaped from Jabiru east following entry of stormwater into system; leading to pump failure; no significant environmental damage.
9 March 1983 Labourer exposed to radioactive dust concentration above derived limits. Testing and whole body counting showed that uranium in the body was less than the detection limit of the equipment; no environmental or health impact.
22 April 1983 Less than 50L diesel escaped to Gulungul Creek from a spill at a borehole site 74/1; no environmental detriment.
July 1983 A contractor, without authorisation, pumped a small amount of RPM water outside the RRZ to use in tailings dam construction. Action was stopped by RUM staff; tests showed no measurable contamination on dam walls; no environmental impact.
15 August 1983 Minor tailings leak; contained with RRZ; no environmental consequences.
20 September 1983 -40 tonnes of low grade ore dumped outside the RRZ. Clean up was carried out by RUM staff within the day; material returned to RRZ; no environmental impact.
16 November 1983 -100L diesel fuel spilled from split fuel line at borehole 77/2 over an area of 25 sq m. Area cleaned up and reseeded no lasting environmental impact.
25 January 1984 -100 cu m RP2 water escaped from a pipeline within the RRZ; all water contained, no environmental impact.
9 April 1984 Estimated 200L spilled from a tank at bore 77/13 when it was tipped over. Area cleaned up and sanded to assist revegetation; no significant environmental impact.
11 July 1984 -200 cu m liquid from RRZ leaked outside the RRZ from a joint in a pipe carrying tailings dam seepage back to the dam. No environmental impact.
30 October 1984 -600 litres of water leaked outside the RRZ from the tailings dam seepage collector line; no environmental impact.
14-16 February 1985 Fish kill in RP2 was reported after water was pumped from RP4; no environmental significance as natural fish kills are reasonably common and also fish may have died through passing the pump. No environmental significance.
28 February 1985 Monthly sampling at product packing stack showed uranium levels close to the allowable limit; remedial work undertaken by RUM to repair scrubber system; no environmental impact.
20 March 1985 Small quantity of tailings dam water sprayed and ran off the tailings dam wall; water mostly returned through the seepage collector system in all probability; no environmental impact. The OSS expressed concern over delays in taking positive action to stop the leakage.
28 June 1985 RUM detected a level of acid mist above the authorised limit; remedial work alleviated the problem and prevented recurrence; no environmental significance.
31 July 1985 A tailings pipeline failure led to -kg of tailings being sprayed outside the RRZ; no environmental significance.
1 and 19 August 1985 A tailings pipeline failure led to -kg of tailings being sprayed outside the RRZ; no environmental significance.
September 1985 Scaffolding stained with ammonium diuranate was shipped off site to Darwin for re-use; no environmental significance.
2 September 1985 -50 cu m of RRZ water was released accidentally onto an area outside the RRZ adjacent to the irrigation area; no environmental significance.
3 September 1985 A small island of tailings appeared above water in the tailings dam; no environmental significance.
17-18 September 1985 Approximately 25 cu m of tailings being sprayed outside the RRZ on each day. No environmental significance after clean up had been completed.
24 September 1985 A tailings pipeline failure resulted in -25 cu m of tailings being deposited over an area of 1250 sq m to a depth of 2 cm, outside the RRZ. No environmental detriment after clean up.
3-7 October 1985 Estimated 500 cu m of process water accidentally sprayed onto land application plots in the RRZ. No lasting environmental detriment.
26 November 1985 200L of water leaked from a pipeline between the central seepage collector sump and the north wall of the tailings dam. No environmental detriment.
4 March 1986 Comparatively high levels of sulphur dioxide emitted during acid plant start up; no environmental detriment.
6-7 March 1986 Small tailings island developed in the tailings dam overnight; no environmental significance.
3 June 1986 -5 cu m of tailings dam water was spilled outside the RRZ from the return pipeline; no environmental detriment.
5 December 1986 RUM reported the unlawful removal from site of an empty but radiologically contaminated water tank (truck mounted; after negotiating with the owner the tank was returned to site and RUM control; no environmental significance.)
March 1987 DME determined that RUM were 6 months overdue in submitting a report on revegetation of waste rock as required by ER 26. Also water from RP3 (RRZ) had been used for dust suppression outside the RRZ on a waste rock dump haul road. Neither incident was considered to be of lasting environmental significance.
March 1987 -500 cu m of RP4 water was inadvertently released via the pipeline to Magela Creek following a valve malfunction and when the creek flow was below the minimum approved rate; no lasting environmental significance and a blanking plate was inserted into the pipeline.
1-2 February 1988 An overflow occurred of mill process froth from a tailings neutralisation patchuca; approximately 13 cu m of liquid ran into RPM but no liquid left the RRZ; no environmental significance.
31 August 1988 Minor RRZ infringement when a contractor inadvertently used a small quantity of RRZ water for dust suppression outside the RRZ; no adverse environmental impact.
22 October 1988 A small quantity of tailings sprayed, mostly into the tailings dam itself, from a burst gasket in the tailings dam. No risk to workers nor harm to the environment resulted from the spill.
November 1988 Following a malfunction of ore discriminators material containing low grades of uranium was being dumped incorrectly on the waste rock dump, up to 500,000 tonnes of material may have been involved. The area of the waste rock dump was redesignated as RRZ. No environmental detriment was detected as a result of this incident.
20 March 1989 RPM water level was allowed by RUM to reach a level almost 1 m above the agreed wet season limit desirable to prevent overtopping as a result of a 1-in-100 year storm event. No environmental detriment.
Approval was given by the NT supervising authority for release of water from RP4 via the spillway. This provided less assured control of the environmental impact of the released water than direct discharge to Magela Creek via the installed pipeline.
Approval was given by the NT supervising authority to shut down temporarily (for up to two years) the seepage collector system in the Ranger tailings dam in contravention of ER10. The purpose of the closure was to obtain information on the migration of seepage away from the tailings dam so as to calibrate a theoretical model of ground water solute migration.
9 April 1989 The daily approved application rate of water to the land application area was exceeded. There may have been a small amount of runoff. No environmental detriment was detected as a consequence of this incidence.
13-14 August 1989 About 315 cu m of RRZ water were used for fire fighting when a bush fire threatened both the Ranger and Alligator Rivers Region Research Institute laboratories. No environmental detriment as a consequence of this incident.
25 April 1990 A small quantity of tailings sprayed from a pump when the casing failed. No material left the RRZ and a thorough clean up was completed with no environmental detriment.
22 June 1990 Approximately 2.5 to 3 cu m of tailings leaked from a split pipe; all material was contained with the RRZ, no environmental detriment.
27 March 1991 Approximately 320 cu m of additional water were applied to the land application area following equipment malfunction. The water fully infiltrated and there was no runoff. No environmental detriment.
24-25 August 1991 Approximately 1300 cubic metres of RRZ water (from RP2) was inadvertently used on the perimeter road of the tailings dam to suppress dust. Because of the quantity and quality of the water involved, and of the location of the incident, there would have been no ecological impact and there was no health risk to workers or members of the public.
26-27 February 1992 During a high rainfall event, water from the high grade ore stockpile, which contained significant concentrations of uranium, escaped from its containment sump and flowed into Georgetown Creek, then into Magela Creek. The concentrations of uranium that eventuated in Magela Creek from this incident were too low to have had an ecological effect and the quantity of uranium lost to the environment would have caused no harm to human health.
27 September 1992 Approximately 430 cubic metres of water from RPM was transported by mine trucks to locations outside the RRZ for use by the Ranger emergency fire crew in containing and controlling a bushfire burning in and near the Ranger Land Application Area. The fire, which was fanned by strong winds and was burning on a number of fronts, threatened infrastructure, including monitoring installations and powerlines close to RPM, and also threatened to move towards the light industrial area and the Jabiru East site. There were no alternative sources of water in sufficient quantity available to fight the fire. The Supervising Scientist assessed the transfer of water from the RRZ as constituting an infringement of the Ranger Authorisation and a breach of the ERs. The risk to the environment from the reported use of this water was negligible.
25 January 1993 During heavy rainfall a blocked drain caused a small volume (less than 100 cubic metres) of water to escape from the RRZ. The Supervising Scientist assessed this event as being an infringement of the Ranger Authorisation and a breach of ER27. The release of this water would have had trivial environmental consequences.
21 October 1993 Failure of a component in the tailings dam sprinkler system, used to minimise dust generation resulted in wind blown spray drifting over the dab embankment outside the RRZ boundary. This resulted from coincidental high winds from the NNW at the time of the failure. The quantity of water was small and the area was cleaned up within two days. An evaluation of the likely radiological effect suggested there was no radiological impact beyond natural background. The sprinkler system was repaired and has functioned correctly since the incident.
13 April 1994 About 60 cubic metres of combined rainfall-runoff and seepage from the high-grade ore stockpile discharged outside the RRZ following a pipe joint failure. The pipe ran alongside the drain downstream of the RRZ boundary at the bund in the high-grade ore stockpile drain. Samples taken along the flow path showed an increase in uranium concentration in Georgetown Creek but no change in uranium concentration could be detected in Georgetown Billabong. The pipe has since been relocated wholly inside the RRZ.
10 May 1994 About 50 cubic metres of RPM water was accidentally discharged outside the RRZ during the installation of a new section of pipe at the RPM pumping station. The pipe was part of the network that serves the irrigation area. The incident caused no measurable environmental impact.
20 July 1995 About 10 cu m of RPM water was used in pre-production drilling at ore body #3 outside the RRZ. The incident was not considered to be of any environmental significance.
1 August 1995 Approximately 120 cu m of RPM water was accidentally discharged outside the RRZ due to a failure in a pipeline carrying water to the constructed wet land filter adjacent to RP1. The incident was not considered to have any lasting environmental significance.
6 December 1995 -12cu m of diesel spilled from tanks at the power station and ran into RPM. Although the spill was cleared up the spill was responsible for the death of 40 water birds. The Supervising Scientist regarded this incident as the first example of an unacceptable environmental impact at Ranger since operations began.
13 December 1996 An administrative error resulted in a repeat of the incident of 6 December when the residual diesel/water mixture was spilled back to RPM. There were no further bird deaths associated with this incident.
23 January 1996 2-3 cu m of tailings spilled from the tailings line and went outside the RRZ. The incident was the result of a valve failure. The area affected extended over about 60-80 sq m. This soil and grass in this area were removed and the site mulched and reseeded. The valve and the associated support structure were replaced. There was no lasting environmental impact from this incident.
18 February 1996 -2 cu m of tailings sprayed from a leak in the pipeline running along the top of the tailings dam embankment. Approximately 0.25cu m fell outside the RRZ on the outer wall of the dam. This area was scraped up and returned to the tailings dam. There was no environmental impact as a consequence of this incident.

 

 

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