Environmental impact of uranium mining and milling in Australia

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 822, 1980

DESMOND M. LEVINS Australian Atomic Energy Commission Research Establishment, Lucas Heights

Australia has almost twenty per cent of the Western World's low-cost uranium reserves, located mostly in the Alligator Rivers region of the Northern Territory. At present, only one uranium mill is operating in Australia, but a number of new mills are planned for the early 1980s.Details are given of Australian uranium mining and milling proposals and the measures taken to minimize their environmental impact. Major factors affecting environmental impact are discussed, including treatment of liquid wastes, water management, control of radon and other airborne releases, and disposal of tailings.
Keywords: Uranium, Australia, Environmental control, Mary Kathleen mine, Ranger deposit, Nabarlek deposit, Yeelirrie deposit, Jabiluka deposit, Water management, Tailings, Alligator River ores.