Work underway at Rum Jungle

The first pieces of work in Stage 2A of rehabilitation planning at the former Rum Jungle uranium mine site have commenced.

The Project Agreement for Stage 2A, which is the final stage of rehabilitation planning at the site, was finalised in September 2017, with the Commonwealth committing a further $10 million to complete the planning.

A third round of aerial spraying to manage Gamba Grass on the Waste Rock Dump at Rum Jungle Creek South ahead of next Dry season’s maintenance work on the cover system finished up in mid-December.

A multi-stage drilling program commenced on site in December with the first stage completed on Christmas Eve. This stage was drilling the footprint of the new Waste Storage Facility, the first major piece of work for Stage 2A.

A barge was delivered to the site just before Christmas and is now floating in Main Pit in preparation for the In Pit Drilling Program. A drill rig will be mounted on the barge to enable overwater drilling into the submerged tailings in Main Pit.

It involves drilling the tailings, which are up to 40 metres thick, which are sitting under 50 metres of water cover. The results of this program will determine which rehabilitation strategy will be used in Stage 3 – site rehabilitation.

This drilling will determine the geotechnical and geochemical properties of the tailings and, from that, whether the tailings can be left in-situ and covered with waste rock when the pit is backfilled, or whether they will have to be dredged from the pit prior to backfilling.

The other components of the drilling program are:

  • drilling around Main Pit wall to determine geotechnical stability
  • drilling the backfill in Dysons Pit, which does not currently contain water
  • putting bores into the copper extraction area.

About five million cubic metres of waste rock will need to be relocated as part of the eventual rehabilitation work. The more contaminated material will be placed in the Main Pit where it will be covered to prevent leaching.

All of this investigative work will go towards informing the final design of the rehabilitation strategy for the site.

The Northern Territory Government has been working with the Australian Government and joint traditional Aboriginal owners, the Kungarakan and Warai peoples, since 2009 to develop a preferred rehabilitation strategy for the former Rum Jungle mine site.

Once finalised, the rehabilitation strategy will take about eight years to implement, with construction works limited to the Dry season. At this stage there has been no funding committed beyond the current, final stage of planning (Stage 2A).

Ongoing monitoring and maintenance activities will continue at Rum Jungle.

Barge in front of Main Pit at Rum Jungle
A barge is delivered to Rum Jungle in preparation for the In Pit Drilling Program