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The former Rum Jungle mine site (Section 2968 Hundred of Goyder) is located approximately 105km (by road) south of Darwin, near Batchelor in the Northern Territory. The site was declared a Restricted Use Area in 1989 under the Northern Territory’s Soil Conservation and Land Utilisation Act and is closed to public access.
Mining and mineral processing occurred from 1954 to 1971 producing 3,530 tonnes of uranium oxide and 20,000 tonnes of copper concentrate.
Activities at the site led to significant environmental impacts primarily caused by acid rock drainage, resulting in pollution of the East Branch of the Finniss River. The site underwent rehabilitation from 1983 to 1986 at a total cost of $18.6 million.
The original objectives of the works were to:
- achieve a major reduction in surface water pollution;
- reduce public health hazards, including radiation levels;
- reduce pollution in White’s and Intermediate open cut pits; and
- implement aesthetic improvements including revegetation.
The former Rum Jungle mine site, contained within Area 4 of the Finniss River Land Claim (1981) was excluded from grant to the Finniss River Land Trust due to the concerns of the joint traditional Aboriginal owners of the site - Kungarakan and Warai. A decision in respect of the grant of the former Rum Jungle mine site is still pending.
Although at the time of the 1980s works the objectives were deemed to have been achieved, more recent studies have documented the gradual deterioration of the original rehabilitation works. In light of this and given advances in best practice standards in mine closure and rehabilitation, the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments recognise a need to develop an improved rehabilitation strategy for the site.
National Partnership Agreement
On 7 October 2009 the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Governments entered into a four year $7.048 million National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on the management of the former Rum Jungle Mine site .
The purpose of the NPA is to undertake various studies to inform the development of an updated rehabilitation strategy, which may then lead to future rehabilitation works under new arrangements.
The key outcomes of the NPA are:
- improved understanding of the current state of the environment;
- improved site management; and
- development of an improved rehabilitation strategy for the site.
The above outcomes will be achieved through:
- ongoing environmental monitoring programs;
- site maintenance activities; and
- comprehensive technical studies.
The NPA is complemented by an Implementation Plan (IP) which outlines the milestones, performance measures and payment arrangements. The NPA and IP are being driven by the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy with technical oversight from the Rum Jungle Working Group which comprises representatives from Northern Territory and Commonwealth Government Agencies and the Northern Land Council.
The purpose of this website is to provide a range of information regarding the history of the former Rum Jungle mine site and new information obtained under the National Partnership Agreement. This website will be updated on a regular basis.
In May 2013 the Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy (DME, formerly Department of Resources) successfully completed Stage 1 of the Rum Jungle Rehabilitation Project (NPA), with the development of the Conceptual Rehabilitation Plan on the former Rum Jungle mine site (The Plan). The Plan included the findings from the various technical studies undertaken as part of the NPA and proposed a preferred rehabilitation strategy for the site which best met environmental, cultural, financial and technical feasibility considerations, following a rigorous assessment and consultation process involving the traditional owners of the site - Kungarakan and Warai. In June 2013, the Commonwealth Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism endorsed the Plan, including the preferred rehabilitation strategy.
In August 2013, the Commonwealth and NT Government signed a new Project Agreement for the Management of the Former Rum Jungle Mine Site (Stage 2) . Under this Agreement the Commonwealth has committed to providing an additional $11.561 million towards progressing rehabilitation at the former Rum Jungle mine site.
DME will project-manage the activities of Stage 2 which include;
- Site maintenance and environmental monitoring;
- Technical investigations;
- Rehabilitation design works, including post-rehabilitation activities that meet relevant legislative, environmental and cultural requirements; and
- Construction-ready specifications, drawings and costings for the rehabilitation design works.
The Commonwealth Department of Industry (formerly Resources, Energy and Tourism) have committed to supporting capacity-building opportunities for traditional Aboriginal owners.
Stage 2 is expected to be completed by 30 June 2016.
- Videoclip from National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)
This footage of Rum Jungle has duration of 1:59 mins and was filmed by Charles and Elsa Chauvel as part of the series Australian Walkabout which aired on the ABC.
- Batchelor Museum