Social and Environment
Chief Executive of ERA,
Mr Harry Kenyon-Slaney
The year 2003 saw major achievements for ERA in
environmental management and stakeholder relations, and
the decision to relocate ERA’s head office to Darwin (from
Sydney) was a further sign of the company’s determination
to strengthen its role in the Northern Territory, home of its
ERA continued its record of careful environmental management,
and maintained its commitment to protecting the neighbouring
Kakadu National Park. Towards this aim, ERA achieved certification
in 2003 for its environmental management system under the
internationally recognised ISO 14001 process. This was achieved
18 months ahead of the planned schedule.
Jabiluka, one of the largest undeveloped uranium deposits in the
world, remains a valuable asset for the company. An agreement
for long term care and maintenance was forged between ERA and
the Mirarr Traditional Owners in 2003, and was approved by the
Northern Land Council in early 2004. This agreement recognises the
continued existence of the mineral lease and allows for future
development at an appropriate time, but only with the support of
the Traditional Owners. In accordance with the proposed agreement,
ERA backfilled the underground workings at Jabiluka in 2003,
removed infrastructure and completed site preparation for
long-term care and maintenance.
The Jabiluka negotiations led to an improved dialogue with the
Aboriginal community, and the company is working in several forums
with the Mirarr’s representatives to plan for the future of the region.
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd Ranger Mine Sydney Office - Marketing For further information
ABN 71 008 550 865 Locked Bag 1, Jabiru 120 Christie Street check the ERA website at
Level 10, TIO Centre NT 0886, Australia St Leonards www.energyres.com.au
24 Mitchell Street, Darwin Phone (08) 8938 1211 NSW 2065, Australia
NT 0800, Australia Fax (08) 8938 1203 Phone (02) 9467 9811 A member of the
Phone (08) 8924 3500 Fax (02) 9467 9800 Rio Tinto Group
Fax (08) 8924 3555
The Jabiru Region Sustainability Project, a cooperative venture
between ERA, the Mirarr people, the Northern Land Council,
and several State and Commonwealth government agencies,
proved a valuable forum for discussion of the region’s
future, including issues such as land tenure, regional
development, and economic opportunities. This project, with
its many research and community development programs,
will become the Kakadu Community Development
service from July 1, 2004.
ERA operates its Ranger mine under strict regulation by
Commonwealth and Territory authorities. During 2003,
discussions continued with the Northern Land Council, the
region’s peak Aboriginal group, in relation to royalty and
other payments under an agreement pursuant to Section An associated impact of the incident was that some of the
44 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act. mixed water overflowed from a storage tank at Jabiru East.
During 2003 ERA paid $7.6 million in royalties from its Ranger It has subsequently been confirmed by the Supervising
operation to the Commonwealth Government. This money Scientist that this caused no adverse impact on the
is ultimately distributed to Northern Territory based environment and thus was not a risk to the local communities.
Aboriginal groups. In addition, in 2003 ERA paid $2.2 million
The company deeply regrets the incident and the distress
in royalties to the Commonwealth government for
caused to the 28 people who have reported symptoms after
distribution to the Northern Territory government. ERA has
having showered in or drunk some of the water. The advice
paid a total of $199 million in all royalties since the Ranger
received to date is that anyone exposed to the affected
operation began in 1980. During 2003, social payments
water is unlikely to suffer any long-term health effect.
totalling $200,000 were made under the terms of an
Medical tests are continuing and the company has
agreement over Jabiluka. Payments under Jabiluka
undertaken to provide whatever future medical support
Agreements now total $7.5 million.
may be deemed necessary to those affected.
With its commitment to the Rio Tinto Child Health
In conjunction with the regulators, the water systems were
Partnership, the company has invested in a five-year program
vigorously flushed and the water continually re-sampled
to boost the health of Indigenous children in the Northern
and tested. Operations were restarted progressively as a
Territory, working with the Federal and Territory governments
number of short and longer-term criteria were met to the
and medical researchers.
satisfaction of the company and the regulators. Specific
The company is firmly committed to the safety of all its longer term initiatives include a comprehensive assessment
employees. ERA’s safety performance has still not met the of maintenance systems and an independent review of the
company’s goal, which is to eliminate all injuries and risks integrity of all operational and management systems and
to health at ERA. A range of new initiatives was launched processes.
early in 2004 to achieve this goal.
The water incident has placed strong pressure on the
company’s relations with stakeholders, and we acknowledge
Ranger Water Incident
the concerns and worries this incident has caused. On the
While this report describes activities in 2003, it is appropriate positive side, stakeholder dialogue has remained strong
to mention an incident with significant social and during this difficult period, with many meetings and
environmental implications that took place as this report discussions on other important issues continuing as normal.
was in preparation, and which has affected our employees I am confident that the company can recover from this
and stakeholders. incident, to build on the positive social and environmental
achievements of 2003.
At the Ranger mine, during the evening of March 23, the
process water system was erroneously connected to the
system that supplies drinking and showering water. Drinking
water became progressively mixed with process water that
contained elevated levels of salts and metals, including
uranium. The problem was identified early the next morning
and operations were shut down immediately, with all non-
essential staff and contractors asked to leave site. Stakeholders Harry Kenyon-Slaney
and regulators were informed. ERA Chief Executive
ERA in the Northern Territory 4
The community around us 4
Highlights of ERA’s community involvement 2003 5
What is the future for the region? 6
Jabiru Region Sustainability Project
Exploding myths about Jabiru 7
Jabiluka long term care and maintenance 8
Aboriginal groups 9
Stakeholder Consultation 9
Payments to Aboriginal and other interests 10
Aboriginal employment and training 10
How do we look after our unique surrounds? 11
ISO 14001 12
Earth Water Life Sciences 12
People: our most important resource 13
2003 Key measurements 14
ERA Policies 16
Safety and Health Policy
The community around us
The town of Jabiru, with a resident population of 1164, is
administered through the Jabiru Town Development Act
1978 (NT) by the Jabiru Town Development Authority (JTDA),
a statutory body responsible to the Northern Territory
Minister for Local Government. As Jabiru is also within the
Kakadu National Park it is regulated by the Commonwealth’s
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act
1999, and the Kakadu National Park Plan of Management.
Municipal services within the town are provided by the
ERA in the Northern Territory
Jabiru Town Council (JTC) which was established in 1984
• World-renowned Aboriginal culture and heritage. under the Jabiru Town Development Act. Since that
• Internationally famous World Heritage listed time the JTDA, which was established to "develop and
National Park. manage the town of Jabiru", has gradually delegated
responsibility for almost all of its local government
• One of the world’s richest uranium provinces. service functions to the JTC.
These are the unique geological, social and environment The JTDA's vision is to develop Jabiru as an economically
conditions that make Energy Resources of Australia’s diversified town administered by an autonomous local
operations in the Kakadu/West Arnhem region of the government council, providing facilities to support
Northern Territory so challenging, and rewarding. tourism as well as the commercial and administrative
ERA is the world’s third largest uranium-producing company. needs of the region.
Since 1980, the Company has mined uranium ore to produce The land on which the town of Jabiru is located is owned
uranium oxide at the Ranger Mine, 260 kilometres east of by the Commonwealth Director of National Parks. However,
Darwin. ERA sells its products to power utilities in Japan, the town is subject to a native title claim by the Mirarr
South Korea, Europe and North America under strict Traditional Owners. ERA supports an outcome that recognises
international safeguards. Aboriginal ownership while providing security of tenure for
The company aims to produce uranium oxide from its Ranger existing businesses and services. ERA, through the town of
open pit and ore stockpiles until at least 2011. ERA also holds Jabiru and the Ranger mine has been a strong supporter of
title to the Jabiluka deposit, north of Ranger. The Jabiluka both the local and Territory community. ERA plays a role in
project is currently under long-term care and maintenance. many community groups and forums.
The Ranger Project Area and the Jabiluka Mineral Lease are ERA’s operations are also part of a broader community made
located on Aboriginal land, surrounded by the World Heritage up of the Kakadu National Park, and the Aboriginal lands
listed Kakadu National Park. of the West Arnhem and Alligator Rivers region. The company
plays a part in sponsoring educational, cultural and sporting
Conditions for mining on Aboriginal land are laid down in events in this region, as well as endeavouring to recruit
Agreements with the representative body, the Northern employees from this wider area.
Land Council, under the terms of the Aboriginal Land Rights
Act (NT) Act 1976.. The Northern Territory Government is With the move of ERA’s head office to Darwin in early 2004,
responsible for the day to day regulation of the Ranger mine the company intends to play a greater role in the Northern
under the Mining Management Act. Territory’s community affairs.
The Commonwealth Minister for Industry, Tourism and
Resources has regulatory functions and the Atomic Energy
Act and the Supervising Scientist has specific environmental
responsibilities under the Environment Protection (Alligator
Rivers Region) Act.
ERA’s operations are serviced by the town of Jabiru,
established principally as a mining town, but now
accommodating many other people, organisations and
[ERA is a 68.4 per cent owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Ltd, a
diversified resource Group, and has a management services
agreement with Rio Tinto Ltd.]
Highlights of ERA’s community
Jabiru Town Council Meeting between Board Chairman
and Traditional Owners
In 2003, three ERA employees were represented on the
Jabiru Town Council, two were popularly elected by ERA holds its Operations Review Committee and Board
townsfolk, including the Chairman of the Council, Bob Povey. Meeting at the Ranger operation each September. In 2003
The company had one designated representative on the the Board Chairman, Mr Brian Horwood, and the then Chief
council, Jody Rowe. Executive Officer, Mr Bob Cleary, met senior Traditional
Owner Ms Yvonne Margarula, and other indigenous people
Gunbang Action Group with responsibilities to the land. After lunch, a group of
the indigenous people and their representatives visited the
The company was represented at the regular meetings of
Jabiluka site, along with Board members and company
the Gunbang Action Group which was set up in 1996 to
representatives, to see the backfill and related
oversee alcohol management issues in the region. The charter
works in progress.
of the group is to reduce alcohol related problems in the
Kakadu/West Arnhem region. The group has several goals,
including placing effective controls on the availability of
alcohol, providing a range of appropriate preventative On November 1, the Traditional Owners held a celebration
services, and establishing measures to reduce risks associated in Jabiru to mark the backfill and related works the company
with particular drinking environments. had undertaken at Jabiluka. Senior Traditional Owner Yvonne
Margarula spoke, as did Mr Mandawuy Yunupingu from
Indigenous Mining Enterprise Task Force the Yothu Yindi band, Labor Senator Trish Crossin, and
several others involved in environmental and community
In 2003 the company was a regular attendee of the Territory’s
activities. ERA General Manager, Mr Matt Coulter, also
Indigenous Mining Enterprise Task Force, coordinated by
addressed the crowd which was made up of former protesters
the Indigenous Mining Industry Services branch of the
against Jabiluka, mining staff, indigenous and non-
Northern Territory’s Department of Business, Industry and
indigenous townspeople, and others. The company has
Resource Development. The IMETF is a forum to exchange
undertaken not to go ahead with mining operations at
strategic ideas and practices with the aim of increasing
Jabiluka without the support of the Traditional Owners,
indigenous employment and training in the mining industry.
leading to a better dialogue with the company’s key
This regular event in Jabiru is an opportunity for the entire Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek Exhibition
community to celebrate its unique World Heritage culture.
From June 25 - 19 July Western Arnhem Land artist Lofty
In 2003, ERA supported the festival both in kind, financially,
Bardayal Nadjamerrek held an exhibition at the Annandale
and in the large numbers of participants. For the first time,
Galleries in Sydney. The exhibition was this artist’s first solo
the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation hosted a
exhibition and attracted widespread interest in the art
demonstration of basket weaving by local indigenous artists
world. His works are represented in major public institutions
and those from the broader region, followed by a barbecue
in Australia and overseas. ERA was proud to assist with
which included magpie geese, a local delicacy. Jabiru school
travel and accommodation costs. Mr Nadjamerrek was
children performed at the event and there were many local
recently made an Officer in the Order of Australia awards.
stalls and activities. In the evening the singer Paul Kelly
appeared, among other bands.
What is the future for the region?
Aboriginal All Stars Jabiru Region Sustainability Project
Following its co-sponsorship of the Australian Rules Over the next few years some important decisions need to
Aboriginal All Stars versus Collingwood match in 1993, the be made about Jabiru – the service town to ERA’s uranium
company, in partnership with Rio Tinto, again welcomed operations in the Northern Territory.
the opportunity to support the ATSIC Chairman's Aboriginal
Although set up as a mining town, Jabiru is now home
All Stars football match held in Darwin in February 2003.
to many local Aboriginal families, including the Mirarr
Attracting a record crowd of 17,500 spectators from across
Traditional Owners of both the Ranger and Jabiluka
the Northern Territory, the Aboriginal All Stars’ speed
and skill were too much for Carlton as they posted
a 73-point victory. Jabiru also has a special status as part of the Kakadu National
Park World Heritage Area, and is home to many Federal
The Syd Jackson Rio Tinto Cup and winning medals were
Government employees, parks officials and rangers, and a
presented to the All Stars by ERA chairman, Brian Horwood,
destination focus of thousands of tourist visits each year.
following the All Stars’ victory. With the assistance of the
company, 40 children from the Jabiru Area School and ten With Ranger operations currently on schedule to end in
supervising adults attended the match and a barbecue with 2011, ERA is facilitating discussions on what the future holds
AFL legendary players, Ron Barassi and Steven Silvagni. when mining ceases.
In early 2003, ERA sponsored the establishment of the Jabiru
Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership Region Sustainability Project (JRSP), in partnership with the
In October 2003 ERA pledged $125,000 over five years to many decision-making bodies involved in determining the
the $5.2 million Rio Tinto Child Health Partnership aimed future of Jabiru. These include the Territory and
at improving the health of indigenous communities by Commonwealth governments, Traditional Owners, Parks
tackling pre-natal health problems. Australia North, and the Northern Land Council.
This partnership brings together the Federal and Northern The JRSP enables all stakeholders to collect, share and
Territory governments, indigenous people, and business consider information to make the right decisions about the
groups to improve health of indigenous children. future of Jabiru and the region it serves.
The initiative will build a clear picture of indigenous child Among the JRSP’s tasks are to advise on how to secure
health problems, through better data collection, and will commercial interests, recognise traditional ownership, reform
encourage healthier pregnancies in indigenous women, local governance, maintain services and facilities, celebrate
through reducing exposure to smoking and alcohol. and respect local Aboriginal culture, protect the environment,
and maintain World Heritage values, effectively communicate
The partnership also aims to improve indigenous participation
with the region, establish local businesses, improve
in health care, to reinforce the message that healthier
employment opportunities and support local youth.
pregnancies mean healthier babies.
The JRSP Working Group has agreed to establish a website
The initiative came from 2003 Australian of the year, Professor
so that regional information can be made available to the
Fiona Stanley, of Perth’s Telethon Institute for Child Health
public – in English and Gundjeihmi, the language of the
Research. Three working groups have been set up within
local Traditional Owners.
the Northern Territory Department of Health and Community
Services to oversee the partnership. The JRSP is coordinated by Mathew Fagan – law graduate,
community development worker and resident of Jabiru since
1998. In late 2003 Mr Fagan set up an office in Jabiru to
carry this work forward. He has published a series of useful
research papers on the region, and assisted the establishment
of local businesses and community programs.
Exploding myths about Jabiru
In his ongoing series of articles in the Jabiru newspaper
(The Jabiru Rag), Matt Fagan, coordinator of the Jabiru
Region Sustainability Project, sets the record straight
The population of Jabiru, Kakadu,
and the West Arnhem region
One of the most common set of misconceptions about Jabiru Nonetheless, the results for Jabiru and Kakadu are interesting
and Kakadu relates to the population of the region. and somewhat surprising.
I have heard residents, visitors, tour operators and The count for 'usual residents' of Jabiru on Census night in
government officials quote population figures for Jabiru 2001 was 1118 and the count for 'usual residents' in the
ranging from 800 to 2300. I've also been told that the rest of Kakadu National Park was 479.
population is 'dropping' or 'increasing' at dramatic rates
A common misconception somewhat debunked by the
(usually at the same time!). Some researchers have further
Census figures is that Jabiru is 'white' and the rest of Kakadu
confused the situation by quoting the 'total' figures and
National Park is 'black'. While there is a majority of non-
not excluding the hundreds of domestic and international
Aboriginal people in Jabiru, there are also a significant
visitors in the region on Census night.
number of indigenous residents. In 2001, the people
So, let's lay some myths to rest once and for all. The latest identifying as indigenous in Jabiru was 214 and the usual
figures for 'estimated residents' (in June 2003) were released non-indigenous population was 828. (A total of 77 people
by the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently, and Jabiru's in Jabiru did not answer this question).
population was recorded as 1164. This was a small drop
Perhaps even more surprisingly, the people identifying as
from 1175 people in June 2002 and 1181 people in
indigenous in the rest of Kakadu was 207, and the non-
indigenous population was 188 (although 77 people in the
Jabiru's population decline in 2002-2003 of 0.9 percent was rest of Kakadu did not answer this question). At first glance,
above the Northern Territory average of 0.2 percent, but the figure for 'usual resident' non-Aboriginal people outside
far below Katherine's decline of 2.8 percent (or 288 people). of Jabiru seems too high. Yet when one considers the
population of Kakadu ranger stations, the Border Store and
The last Census was conducted on a single night in August
resorts such as South Alligator and Cooinda (especially in
2001 across Australia. However, before we look at the results
the month of August) the figure appears plausible. In
in more detail, a note of caution: Census data in remote
addition, a survey conducted by the Djabulukgu Association
Aboriginal communities is notorious for being incorrect.
in 2001 recorded the Kakadu outstation population as 225,
While the figures for Jabiru are probably accurate, the
which is reasonably in line with the Census count.
figures for Kakadu could be 'wobbly' due to language and
access difficulties on Census night. In addition, Aboriginal Another myth that the Census seems to counter is that there
people quite often move in and out of Kakadu and West are only a few 'long-term' residents in Jabiru. In 2001, 403
Arnhem, creating a highly variable population from one people had been in the area for at least 5 years (and a
season to the next. further 72 people did not answer this question).
A comparison of regional population figures
1000 Total population
NUMBER OF PEOPLE
Jabiru Kakadu Kunbarllanjnja
On the other hand, some common views about the construction commenced in June 1998, but attracted heated
population of Jabiru and Kakadu are confirmed by the protests from environmental and Aboriginal groups.
Census. For example, there are very few elderly people Stage 1 construction was completed in September 1999, but
in the community. agreement was not reached with Aboriginal groups for
Jabiluka ore to be trucked to Ranger for processing.
In 2001, Jabiru had 264 children aged 12 or under; there
Subsequently, a commitment was made to the World
were 84 teenagers; there were 201 'twenty-somethings';
Heritage Committee that full scale commercial mining at
255 'thirty-somethings'; 175 in the roaring forties; and
Jabiluka will only occur after the scaling down of production
102 in their fifties.
In contrast, there were only 37 people aged over 60.
Relations between the company and the Aboriginal
In the rest of Kakadu National Park, there were 95 Traditional Owners suffered during the Stage 1 construction
children aged 12 or under; there were 37 teenagers; period. Rio Tinto acquired North Ltd in August 2000 and
there were 102 'twenty-somethings'; 107 'thirty- with it assumed control of ERA. Senior Rio Tinto executives
somethings'; 55 in the roaring forties; and 50 in their have made it clear that Jabiluka will not be developed
fifties (and 15 people did not give their age). without the support of Aboriginal Traditional Owners.
Sadly, in the rest of Kakadu National Park outside of In 2003 ERA proposed a new regime for the long term care
Jabiru, there were only 18 people aged 60 or over and and maintenance of the Jabiluka site. This followed
no person aged over 68. discussions held with Traditional Owners in 2002 in which
The reasons for the lack of elders in Jabiru and Kakadu they expressed environmental and cultural concerns with
are probably twofold. First, it is very difficult to retain the prevailing care and maintenance regime.
housing in Jabiru unless one person in the family is An agreement – the Jabiluka Long Term Care and
employed. Unfortunately, as people reach retirement Maintenance Agreement – was drafted to formalize this
age they (often reluctantly) leave the region. Second, understanding between ERA, the Northern Land Council
it is a disturbing fact that Aboriginal people have a and the Mirarr Traditional Owners.
much lower life expectancy than non-Aboriginal people
- there are simply very few elderly Aboriginal people Although the agreement is still to be formally signed, in
left in Kakadu. August 2003 ERA commenced backfilling the Jabiluka decline
and undertook some other rehabilitation measures on the
Interestingly, the population of Kunbarllanjnja (Oenpelli) site. ERA took this action for economic and environmental
is fast approaching that of Jabiru. In June 2001, the reasons, as well as in response to the concerns of the
estimated resident population of Jabiru's closest Traditional Owners. These works were completed in
neighbour was 940, up from 881 the year before. When December 2003.
one considers that Kunbarllanjnja's population probably
increases in the wet season (as people come into town The Northern Land Council approved the agreement in
from West Arnhem outstations), it may already be the April, 2004. This agreement relieves ERA of the annual
case that Jabiru has a smaller population than Deed Poll payments in respect of Jabiluka and allows for
Kunbarllanjnja at this time of year. Indigenous people future exploration on the Jabiluka lease. Importantly, it
make up around 90 percent of Kunbarllanjnja’s has helped with building relationships with Mirarr Traditional
usual residents. Owners of both Jabiluka and Ranger.
Environmental aspects of Jabiluka
long term care and maintenance
The backfill and other rehabilitation measures were
Jabiluka long term care successfully completed at Jabiluka between August and
and maintenance December 2003.
Uranium was discovered at Jabiluka in the early 1970s. In
The works represent a significant reduction in the potential
1991 ERA purchased the Jabiluka mineral lease, adjoining
environmental risk at the Jabiluka site. While comprehensive
the northern edge of the existing Ranger project area, from
monitoring has shown that the Stage 1 operations had not
Pancontinental Mining Ltd. An agreement to develop the
impacted on the environment, ERA sought to apply best
lease was reached with the Northern Land Council
practicable technology to minimize environmental risks.
representing Aboriginal interests in 1982. Development was,
The placement of the mineralized stockpile deep
however, delayed for a variety of reasons including at various
underground, the cleaning of the interim water management
times, Aboriginal and environmental groups’ opposition,
pond and placement of accumulated sediment deep
and Federal Government policies.
underground, and the backfilling of the remaining parts of
In 1997 ERA, then under the ownership of North Ltd, received the decline and box-cut with non-mineralised waste rock,
permission to proceed with Stage 1 of Jabiluka. Stage 1 has removed any environmental risk in the area.
Both Ranger and Jabiluka are located on Aboriginal land, business focussed with the objective of accumulating assets for
granted to the Mirarr people under the Aboriginal Land Rights the long term benefit of its members as well as assisting the
Act (NT) 1976. various Clan Groups to enter into business for themselves.
The Gagudju Association is managed by an elected Committee
ERA accepts its responsibility for prudent land and environmental
management and acknowledges the needs and expectations
of the Aboriginal landowners, the Mirarr clan (represented by Northern Land Council
the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation). There are several other Legally, on matters of land, ERA must direct all its dealings with
Aboriginal representative bodies associated with ERA's activities the Aboriginal owners through their legal representative, the
in the Northern Territory. Northern Land Council (NLC). The NLC was established under
the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) Act 1976.
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation was established in 1995
to represent the interests of the members of the Mirarr clan
who are the Traditional Owners of both the Ranger and Jabiluka For this year's report ERA consulted key stakeholders about
areas. With approximately twenty-six members, all of whom our 2003 performance, by circulating this report in draft
are members of the Djabulukgu and Gagudju Associations, the form, and calling for comments and suggestions. Several
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation has been the recipient of organisations provided comments on the draft report which
local community royalties generated by ERA and is focussed on were helpful in improving accuracy and relevance. Some
protecting the cultural heritage of the Mirarr people. The senior stakeholders decided against commenting on this year's
traditional owner is Yvonne Margarula, and she met ERA report. Two stakeholders provided comments for publication;
executives for informal discussions several times in 2003. these are included below.
ERA believes in the importance of stakeholder consultation,
and will continue seeking outside input to the Social and
Environment Report in future years.
The Djabulukgu Association congratulates the ERA
commitment to enter into the Jabiluka Long Term Care and
Maintenance Agreement with the Mirarr via the Northern
Land Council. This agreement has opened up a considerable
window of opportunity, as historical sparring partners can
and will collectively focus on issues that will result in outcomes
for the common good of the Kakadu community. The
Djabulukgu Association would also like to acknowledge the
Djabulukgu Association support that ERA provided to Lofty Bardayal Nadjamerrek.
The Djabulukgu Association was formed in 1982 to receive the Lofty's first solo exhibition, held at the Annandale Gallery
royalties from the Jabiluka mine (now on long term care and in Sydney, was an outstanding success. ERA provided much
maintenance). Djabulukgu consists of the Traditional Aboriginal needed funds that assisted Lofty with the travel and
owners and affected Aboriginals of the Jabiluka lease, totalling accommodation costs associated with the exhibition.
approximately 80 people, directed by an elected Committee. Liam Maher
The Djabulukgu Association has been the identified ATSIC service Djabulukgu Association
provider to the Aboriginal Out Stations and living areas in
Kakadu for the past eight years. This includes managing ERA's environmental performance was significantly damaged
community housing and associated essential services as well as by the water contamination incident in March 2004. I'm not
operating a Kakadu based CDEP (Community Development qualified to comment on the technical aspects, but I can
Employment Program). The Association also owns and operates address the community relations effort associated with the
several tourism enterprises within Kakadu. The strategic plan incident. In my view, ERA spent too much time dealing with
for the Djabulukgu Association will see the organisation devolve media and lawyers and not enough effort discussing actual,
itself of social services and focus more on business development potential and perceived impacts with residents of Jabiru
and members' services in the future. and neighbouring communities.
Gagudju Association In nearly all other respects, ERA's social performance has
The Gagudju (the original word for Kakadu) Association is the improved remarkably over the last three years. I believe
largest of the associations and consists of about 250 Aboriginal there is genuine goodwill within the company to form
people associated with the Kakadu region. It was established regional partnerships that achieve outcome-driven
in 1980 to manage royalties payable from the Ranger mine plus community development. There is also now real
a number of other objectives. The Gagudju have invested in respect within ERA for the rights and aspirations of
businesses such as the famous Crocodile Hotel at Jabiru, the traditional owners.
Cooinda Lodge, the Border Store, Civil Contracting, housing Mathew Fagan
and the Jabiru Mobil service station. The Association is principally Coordinator, Jabiru Region Sustainability Project
Payments to Aboriginal and Aboriginal employment and training
other interests For most of 2003 the average number of indigenous
During 2003 ERA paid $7.6 million of Ranger royalties to Australians working at Ranger was 30. The proportion during
the Commonwealth Government. This money is ultimately 2003 was 17 percent of the total workforce in March falling
distributed to Northern Territory based Aboriginal groups. to 13 percent in December.
Additionally ERA paid $2.2 million in royalties to the The Indigenous employees included four full-time Aboriginal
Commonwealth government for distribution to the Northern
Apprentice Trade Trainees, five Aboriginal Trainees, and
Territory Government during 2003. Ranger has paid a total
21 full-time Indigenous employees working in all areas
of $199 million in royalties since the project began.
of the operations. A total of 11 of the 30 Indigenous
During 2003, ERA spent $0.2 million in social payments employees were recruited from the Alligator Rivers Region,
under the terms of an agreement over Jabiluka. Payments with the remaining employees recruited from within
under Jabiluka Agreements now total $7.5 million. the Northern Territory.
In 2004 the trainee intake will be
increased, with three additional
trainees to come from a new program,
linked to the Commonwealth’s
Community Development Employment
Program (CDEP). Under this program
ERA will host three CDEP participants
as fixed term, full time employees. The
Host participants will remain on CDEP
wages which are 'topped-up’ by ERA,
with the aim of the eventually filling
a position at ERA. ERA has appointed
a full time Indigenous supervisor to
help trainees gain an improved
understanding of mine-site culture and
In 2004 the current levels of Indigenous
employment will be sustained, while
attempts continue to increase the
representation of Aborigines from the
Alligator Rivers Region.
How do we look after our
Environment Weeds management
A number of significant outcomes in environmental A weed management plan was finalised in July 2003 to
management were achieved in 2003. address the risks associated with the proliferation of plants
near ERA's operations that are not local to the area. The
ERA was formally recognised for its world-class environmental
plan was developed to be consistent with the overall weed
management system by achieving certification to the
management objectives for the immediately surrounding
international standard for environmental management
areas of Kakadu National Park. Development of the plan
systems, ISO 14001. (See below)
followed detailed on-the-ground mapping of different weed
During 2003 there were no significant environmental incidents species and their abundance. The weed management plan
which had any detrimental impact on the surrounding outlines the priority weed areas and presents the timing
environment. Routine water monitoring programs conducted for future measures to control weed infestations.
by ERA, the Commonwealth Supervising Scientist and Implementation of the plan has been supported by both
NT Department of Business, Industry and Resource airborne and ground based weed spraying, together
Development verified that the environment of Kakadu with improved controls to minimise the spread of weeds
National Park remained protected from activities at both or introduction of new weed species. Areas will be
the Ranger mine and Jabiluka site. remapped during 2004 to assess the performance of
A number of improvements in water management weed management controls .
performance at Ranger mine were observed during the
2002-03 wet-season. These improvements followed the Senate inquiry
program of civil earthworks conducted in late 2002 and the In July 2002 the Senate asked its Environment,
improvement of some key operating procedures. Significant Communications, Information Technology and the Arts
amongst the improvements seen was the reduction in the References Committee to inquire into regulatory, monitoring
concentration of uranium in Retention Pond 1, a key point and reporting regimes that govern environmental
of water discharge from the Ranger mine, with levels performance at the Ranger and Jabiluka uranium operations
dropping to the lowest concentrations recorded since 1999. in the Northern Territory and the Beverley and Honeymoon
ERA’s on-the-ground commitment to continuous improvement in situ leach operations in South Australia. The original
in performance included further civil earthworks conducted deadline was December 2002, but the report’s deadline was
during the latter part of 2003. These works extended to October 14, 2003. The majority report,
built on the program of the previous year and included representing the views of the Democrats and the ALP,
works to improve the segregation of poor quality process presented 15 recommendations relating to Ranger and
water from intermediate quality pond water. These Jabiluka. Government members of the committee
improvements support the company's strategy on water delivered a dissenting report and the Greens Senator
management which focuses on reducing inputs to the process Kerry Nettle added additional comments to the report.
water system and treatment of poorer quality inputs to the The 300-page document, including the separate
pond water system. Treatment technologies are being piloted reports and addenda, can be found at
during the 2003-04 wet season. http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/ecita_ctte/index.htm.
At time of printing the Federal Government had not yet
Waste management responded to the Senate’s report. ERA put a detailed
submission to the inquiry and participated in hearings.
A plan was developed during 2003 to enhance controls for The ERA submission can be found at the above website,
the management of wastes. Development of the waste along with other submissions.
management plan followed an external audit at Ranger
mine of waste generation, segregation and disposal practices.
Key outcomes of the audit included the identification of
further opportunities to reduce the on-site disposal of waste
through improved recycling and treatment of waste materials.
In addition, improved practices were implemented for the
management of the Ranger landfill based on the relevant
NT guideline for the operation of solid waste disposal sites.
Opportunities for further improvement to waste management
practices will be obtained through the development in 2004
of a Total Waste Management Approach that will consolidate
all waste management activities through one waste
ISO 14001 Earth Water Life Sciences
ERA was formally recognised for the quality of its EWL Sciences Pty Ltd (EWLS), a specialist commercial
environmental management system by achieving certification environmental consulting business based in Darwin, is wholly
to the international standard ISO 14001 in December 2003. owned by ERA. EWLS is a Commonwealth Government
registered Research and Development agency. Revenue for
Due to some intense work by the environmental and other
2003 was $3.2 million of which $1.3 million was generated
departments this was achieved 18 months ahead of the
from external (non-ERA) projects. These external projects
company’s original schedule.
benchmark the company’s scientific and technical capability
The ISO14000 series of standards have been developed by and enhance ERA’s capacity for strategic environmental
the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) based management at Ranger and Jabiluka.
in Geneva, Switzerland.
Key project work at Ranger and Jabiluka in 2003 focussed
In order to attain ISO14001 certification management on strategic technical environmental investigations including:
demonstrated that environmental risks were well understood,
• planning for closure of Ranger mine;
appropriate controls were in place, performance was
constantly checked, and there was a genuine commitment • assessing the potential impacts of process water and
to continuous improvement. tailings rising above the previously approved limits in
Pit #1 at Ranger;
Now that certification has been achieved, ERA will be
audited by an external accredited auditing body every six • modelling the security of in-pit tailings storage in the
months, and will undergo a full re-certification audit required (by the Authorisation) 10,000 year time-frame;
every three years.
• development of the technical and scientific strategy for
The Environment Management System ensures environmental implementation of the approved Jabiluka long-term care
management is integrated into ERA’s daily operations, long and maintenance regime;
term planning and other management systems. It provides
• scientific rationalisation of statutory and operational
an objective assessment of the processes in place to protect
environmental (principally surface water and
groundwater) monitoring programs at Ranger which
The framework of ISO14001 can be broken down into were approved by stakeholders and implemented
four basic principles: Plan-Do-Check-Act. One of the main by ERA;
tasks is to assess the environmental aspects of ERA's activities.
• process water and pond water treatment technologies
These include potential or actual hazards as well as
and treated water disposal strategies; and
normal and abnormal work activities. These aspects are then
compiled into registers and each aspect is assessed and • development of target habitats and ecosystems for
allocated a level of risk depending on the impact it poses construction on the rehabilitated Ranger mine site.
on the environment. EWLS continues to represent ERA on the Alligator Rivers
The EMS requires organisations to take an active role in Region Technical Committee. The role of this committee is
examining their practices, and then determining how their to oversee and make recommendations to the Federal
impacts should best be managed. This approach encourages Minister for the Environment and Heritage about the nature
creative and relevant solutions from all levels of the and extent of research necessary to protect the environment
organisation. Communication and training are two key in the Alligator Rivers Region from any effects of
areas associated with the successful implementation of an uranium mining.
ISO14001 certified EMS.
Externally, ERA's commitment was realised through
transparent communication with regulators and Aboriginal
representatives to ensure stakeholder expectations were
met and that our operations continue to have no detrimental
impact on the surrounding environment.
Internally, employees are made aware of their requirements
through information sessions and training. Specific training
modules continue to be implemented to better inform
employees of their role in the Company's environmental
management programs in such areas as flora and fauna
water and waste.
Improved environmental management practices are then
incorporated into every employee’s daily work activities.
People: our most important resource
Safety and health
ERA’s goal is to eliminate all injuries and risks to health.
During 2003, ERA achieved a reduction in the All Injury
Frequency Rate, down to 3.37 from a rate of 4.2 at the end
of 2002. Notably, the Process team achieved no lost time or
medical treated injuries for 2003.
Whilst the total number of injuries dropped, there was an
increase in the number of injuries that resulted in “lost
time”, where employees are unable to return to their normal
duties at the next shift.
EWLS prepares a number of scientific and technical evaluation
reports on behalf of ERA each year. These include the annual Specific health and safety outcomes in 2003 included:
Wet Season Interpretative Reports and the annual Plans of
• ERA won the 2003 Northern Territory Recognition Award
Rehabilitation for Ranger and Jabiluka. The wet season
in Resource Development in the Workplace Safety
reports summarise all environmental monitoring data
collected during the high rainfall wet seasons in the tropics,
evaluate the effectiveness of ERA’s strategies in managing • Rio Tinto conducted an audit of ERA conformance with
the complex interactions between mine landforms and corporate safety standards in October. The audit identified
infrastructure with natural surface waters and groundwaters. a significant improvement in implementation of the
They also look at historical trends which will lead to effective standards since the previous audit. ERA received a
strategies for decommissioning and rehabilitation. These commendation for its computerized program for tracking
reports are submitted to regulators (the Territory’s and controlling training.
Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development, • A two-day safety shutdown was held in January to further
the Commonwealth’s Supervising Scientist) and stakeholders promote safety standards and procedures. Under the
(the Northern Land Council and Traditional Owners) for direction of the General Manager Operations, the entire
comment and approval. workforce was engaged in a Ranger site clean up. On
Plans of Rehabilitation for both Jabiluka and Ranger are the second day of the shutdown, presentations on safety
required by the regulations to be updated annually. They standard requirements and other key safety procedures
are costed on the basis of a potential premature shutdown were made to all employees and site contractors.
of mining operations. In the case of Ranger Mine, the • The SiteSafe computer system was introduced as the
estimated cost of implementing the decommissioning and central database for managing safety data and
rehabilitation strategies detailed in the Plan are reviewed information. The system is used for reporting on hazards
and approved by the regulators and stakeholders, checked and incidents in the workplace and for recording the
by an independent assessor appointed by the Commonwealth outcomes of inspections and audits. SiteSafe is also used
Government and finally approved by the Commonwealth for establishing and tracking corrective and preventative
Minister for Resources. The approved cost of rehabilitation actions.
sets the value of the Ranger Rehabilitation Trust Fund that
is held by the Commonwealth Government. In the case of • ERA’s risk assessment process was strengthened with the
Jabiluka, the approved cost of rehabilitation defines the development of a formal risk assessment model known
value of a Rehabilitation Bond. as SAFER (Safety, Assets, Finance, Environment and
Reputation). SAFER uses the consequence and probability
The annual amended Plan of Rehabilitation for Ranger Mine method of evaluation to rank risks and establish priorities
is related to the life-of-mine closure plan which outlines for managing risks. Using this approach, a series of risk
strategies and costs for decommissioning and rehabilitation assessment workshops was conducted to identify key
after mining and processing operations have been completed. safety and health related risks.
ERA’s Authorisation to Operate, and the Commonwealth’s Emergency Response and Disaster Management & Recovery
Environmental Requirements determine the rehabilitation processes were updated, including the development of
objectives, which are primarily to establish environments procedures for specific emergency threats. A number of
similar to those in the adjacent areas of Kakadu National desktop and live simulation exercises were conducted during
Park such that the rehabilitated area could be incorporated 2003 to test ERA’s response to potential emergency and
into the National Park at a future date. disaster scenarios. The outcomes of debriefs from these
exercises have been recorded to enable further improvements
to be made.
2003 Key measurements
ERA used 149 ML of freshwater with an efficiency of
29 kL per tonne of uranium oxide produced.
ERA used 848 Terajoules of energy with an efficiency of
165 Gigajoules per tonne of uranium oxide produced.
ERA had on-site greenhouse gas emissions of
54 k tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents and an
2004 Key objectives efficiency of 10.5 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents
• Ensure environmental per tonne of uranium oxide produced.
legal compliance ERA emitted 108 tonne of SO2. The efficiency
• Ensure no environmental was 21 kilograms of SO2 per tonne of uranium
critical incidents oxide produced.
• Maintain freshwater use Performance against 2003 targets
efficiency as production
increases Zero significant environmental incidents.
• Increase energy use • Zero reported.
efficiency in the Zero technical or administrative infringements.
• Zero reported.
• Implement processes and
30% reduction in Unplanned Environmental Events in 2003
practices to improve waste
based on the 2002 level.
management at the
Pit1 landfill • Increase in events reported reflected improved
reporting on environmental incidents.
Reduce energy use by 22% per tonne of ore milled by 2003
from to the 2000/01 base year.
2004 Key targets
• ERA’s energy use per tonne of ore milled has
• Zero environmental reduced by 22.6% compared to 2001.
Zero leaks and spills of chemical and fuel from underground
• Zero environmental or on ground tanks and pipes.
• One incident reported - On 23 April 2003 approximately
• Zero increase in freshwater 300L of diesel was lost onto the road below a light vehicle
use per tonne of product diesel bowser header tank at Ranger mine. The tank
(from 2003 base year) overflowed due to a faulty solenoid on the inlet control
• 2% decrease in energy use valve to the tank, resulting in the valve remaining open
per tonne of ore treated and the tank and bund overflowing. The diesel was
(from 2003 base year) contained on an area with a sealed surface and absorbed
using booms, diatomaceous material, pads and crushed
• 100% conformance with limestone. The valve was overhauled to ensure that it
landfill management was functioning appropriately. There was no detrimental
standard operating impact to the environment arising from this incident.
Designated employee mean annual radiation dose
Maximum recommended annual limit
Average recommended annual limit
Designated employee mean annual dose
1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
The radiation exposure pathways at ERA’s operations are The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of
comprehensively measured and reported throughout the Atomic Radiation reports (2000 Report to the UN General
year using limits recommended by the International Assembly) that the: “worldwide annual exposures to natural
Commission on Radiological Protection. Designated workers radiation sources would generally be expected to be in the
are those employees in work categories that have the range 1 – 10 mSv, with 2.4 mSv being the present estimate
potential to exceed 5 millisieverts (mSv) per year. of the central value”.
There are over 100 designated employees at the Ranger During 2003 a Radiation Management Plan was implemented
operation and limits of 100 mSv over five years or a maximum for the backfilling of the Jabiluka underground workings.
of 50 mSv in any one year must be met. Designated employees The Plan involved radiation surveillance of conditions in
received a mean radiation dose of 1.6 mSv during 2003. the underground workings as well as direct consultation
The following graph depicts the mean annual radiation dose with the contractors performing the work. The highest
assessed for designated employees working throughout individual radiation dose assessed for this work performed
the operation. The graph also reflects the exposure over a six-week period was 0.4 mSv.
in comparison with Australian as well as internationally
Also during 2003 work commenced on analysing
approximately 20 years worth of radiation monitoring data
Employees who work at the mine site but are not working collected around the Ranger and Jabiru areas. This analysis
in areas of high exposure (non-designated employees) are will form the basis for development of a risk-based approach
subject to the same dose limits as designated employees and to radiation monitoring that will provide ERA with an
in 2003 the maximum dose was 1.0 mSv. Importantly, the effective radiation surveillance program that, once
exposure of Jabiru residents and surrounding communities implemented, will be consistent with the requirements of
is also monitored and the contribution from the mine was the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Occupational
assessed as 0.01mSv in 2003. The natural background in Health and Safety Management Systems, AS/NZS 4801:2001.
the area is 2-3 mSv. A radiation practice must not expose
members of the public to more than 1 mSv per year above
Environment Policy Safety and Health Policy
As the operator of the Ranger uranium mine and Jabiluka Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) is one of the world’s
project on Aboriginal land in Australia’s Northern Territory, largest uranium producers that mines, processes, and exports
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) recognises that the uranium ore. ERA operates the Ranger mine in Australia’s
natural and cultural values of the Company’s Mineral Leases Northern Territory.
and the surrounding World Heritage listed Kakadu National
Our goal is to eliminate all injuries and risks to
Park must be protected.
health at ERA
Environmental management is a core business requirement
ERA will maintain a safe and healthy workplace and provide
essential to long-term success. ERA will comply with all
information that allows all employees, contractors and visitors
relevant legislative requirements and commitments
to make safe decisions.
applicable to our operations and, where practicable, exceed
these requirements. In addition, ERA is committed to To support this policy, ERA will:
achieving environmental management excellence through
• Include safety and health as a strategic business goal.
continuous improvement of our environmental performance.
• Fully comply with internal safety standards, operational
To support this policy, ERA will:
authorisations, relevant legislation, published standards
• Respect all agreements with the Northern Land Council and codes of practice.
and Aboriginal traditional owners of the Ranger Project
• Document individual responsibility and accountability for
Area and Jabiluka Mineral Lease.
safety and health outcomes.
• Implement and maintain an Environmental Management
• Provide necessary resources and safety support, including
System (EMS) certified to the ISO 14001 standard.
training, to ensure that safety and health objectives and
• Ensure open consultation with employees, and consider outcomes are achieved.
key stakeholders positions, in setting environmental
• Adopt AS4801 so that ERA’s safety and health
objectives and targets.
objectives are met.
• Consider the actual and potential impacts of our activities
when setting environmental objectives and targets and • Continually and systematically improve safety, radiation
review them periodically. and occupational health management performance.
• Ensure the efficient use of resources and pursue the • Provide clear communication and consultation processes
implementation of practices that minimise emissions and to ensure employees, are kept informed of safety and
commit resources to ensure appropriate waste health developments.
management. • Ensure this policy is available to all interested parties and
• Research processes, practices and innovative technologies is periodically reviewed so that it remains relevant and
that will ensure the ongoing protection of the appropriate to ERA’s operations.
environment from ERA’s mining and processing activities.
• Prepare, test and maintain procedures for response to
potential emergency situations.
• Prepare, maintain and review annually plans for the
eventual closure of the operations that aim to establish
an environment that could be incorporated into Kakadu
• Provide employees with the education, training and
resources required to fulfil their environmental
responsibilities integrated with their day-to-day activities.
• Communicate this policy, objectives, targets and individual
accountabilities and responsibilities to ERA employees,
and contractors where appropriate.
• Communicate this policy to stakeholders and the general
public by including it in public and corporate
• Conduct periodic audits and senior management reviews
of this policy and the EMS to ensure their suitability,
identify deficiencies and implement improvements.