The Bureau noted that a leak of tailings water contaminated with manganese at the Ranger Uranium mine (a mine operated by ERA in an enclave of Kakadu National Park) had been reported in early May 2000. In a statement issued on 3 May 2000, the Australian Government had emphasised that it treats reports of such incidences of leak of tailings water seriously and that full explanation had been sought from ERA and the Northern Territory regulatory authorities. According to the statement issued by the Australian Government, no tailings water had escaped the containment zone at the mine site and that the independent statutory authority, i.e. the Supervising Scientist, had advised that on examination of available information there was no evidence of environmental detriment outside the project area and the water quality downstream had not been affected. The same statement emphasised that there has been no downstream impact on the World Heritage values of Kakadu National Park. The Supervising Scientist had been requested to undertake an independent assessment of the circumstances leading to the leak and of the likely environmental impacts. GAC, Australian NGOs and the Northern Land Council (NLC) had submitted reports on this subject to the Centre which were transmitted to the Permanent Delegate of Australia to UNESCO; the Australian Government had responded to the concerns of all the reports in separate letters addressed to the Director on 21, 23 and 26 June 2000.


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