Authors: Iles, M

Open access courtesy of:


Cite As:
Iles, M 2022, 'Multiple frameworks informing closure criteria at Ranger Mine', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: 15th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 681-690,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

The Ranger Project Area (RPA), site of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.’s Ranger Mine, is surrounded by (but separate from) Kakadu National Park (KNP) World Heritage Place and Ramsar wetland. Closure requirements differ for on and off the RPA. The Mirarr Indigenous landowners source food and drinking water up and downstream of the mine and wish to resume these activities on the site after closure. The regulatory Environmental Requirements (ERs) specify that waters and tailings from the mine must not impact the KNP values which includes the local Indigenous culture, health of the local people and the biodiversity and ecological processes of the region. The ERs also state that impacts on the RPA must be as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Closure criteria for water and sediment on and off the RPA need to support these diverse values and goals. The ANZG (2018) water quality monitoring framework (WQMF) was used to identify indicators to represent KNP values, human health and biodiversity and derive water and sediment quality criteria to support management of these values. Risk and vulnerability assessments were used, as relevant components in the WQMF, to assess the results of sediment and water quality monitoring and predicted post-closure water quality. ALARA is widely understood and applied to radiation hazards but not chemical hazards. A fourth framework is required to provide information that will be used to assess if impacts on the RPA are ALARA. This paper demonstrates the role of these frameworks in water and sediment closure criteria development at Ranger Mine.

Keywords: water quality objectives, risk assessment, ecological vulnerability, as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA), closure criteria

ANZG 2018, Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality, Australian and New Zealand Governments and Australian state and territory governments,
Bartolo, R, Paulka, S, van Dam, R, Iles, S & Harford, A 2013, Rehabilitation and Closure Ecological Risk Assessment for Ranger Uranium Mine: Documentation of Initial Problem Formulation Activities, internal report 624, Supervising Scientist, Darwin.
BMT 2021, Ranger Mine Closure Water Quality Framework Project – Phase 3 Final Report, report prepared for Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, Darwin.
BMT WBM 2017, Ranger Mine Closure Framework Project – Phase 1 Review of Field Effects of Magnesium Guideline Exceedance (Final Report), report prepared for Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, Darwin.
Bryant, PA, Croft, J & Cole, P 2017, ‘Integration of risks from multiple hazards into a holistic ALARA/ALARP demonstration’, Journal of Radiological Protection, 2018 Mar, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 81–91,
Commonwealth of Australia 2000, s.41 Authority, Environmental Requirements of the Commonwealth of Australia for the Operation of Ranger Uranium Mine,
De Lange, H, Sala, S, Vighi, M & Fabera, JH 2010, ‘Ecological vulnerability in risk assessment – a review and perspectives’, Science of the Total Environment, vol. 408, pp. 3871–3879.
Domotor, S, Peterson, H, Jr & Wallo, A, III 1999, ‘DOE’s process and implementation guidance for decommissioning, deactivation, decontamination, and remedial action of property with residual contamination (IAEA-SM--359)’, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd 2020, 2020 Ranger Mine Closure Plan, viewed 10 December 2020,
Garde, M 2015, Closure Criteria Development – Cultural, ERA Ranger Integrated Tailings, Water & Closure, confidential report.
Iles, M 2019, ‘How can frameworks inform water quality objectives for the closure of the Ranger mine?’, in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2019: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 437–446,
Iles, M & Rissik, D 2021, Ranger Closure Aquatic Pathway Receptors Risk Assessment, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd and BMT report, CDM.03–1114-MR-RAS-00001, version 0.
Iles, M & Rissik, D 2022, ‘Risk-based contaminant management: Ranger Mine case study’, in M Tibbet, AB Fourie & G Boggs (eds), Mine Closure 2022: Proceedings of the 15th International Mine Closure Conference, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 634–645.
Johnston, A & Iles, M 2013, Integrated, Tailings, Water and Closure Prefeasibility Study – Analysis of Best Practicable Technology, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, Darwin.
Richardson, DL, Bourke, G, Rissik, D, Fisk, GW & Iles, M 2019, ‘Development of a vulnerability assessment framework to evaluate potential effects of mine water discharges from Ranger Uranium Mine, Northern Territory’, in AB Fourie & M Tibbett (eds), Mine Closure 2019: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mine Closure, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 1519–1532,
Supervising Scientist 2000, Ranger Environmental Requirements Section 19.2 Explanatory Material: Best Practicable Technology, viewed 26 June 2022,
Tran, NL, Locke, PA & Burke, TA 2000, ‘Chemical and radiation environmental risk management: differences, commonalities, and challenges’, Risk Analysis, vol. 20, no. 2, 2000, pp. 163–172.

© Copyright 2022, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
Please direct any queries or error reports to