Environment groups have welcomed the announcement that a planned underground uranium mine in Kakadu – Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger 3 Deeps project – has been cancelled.

The Australian Conservation Foundation and the Environment Centre NT welcomedERA’s statement to the Stock Exchange.

“ERA’s move to abandon plans for an underground expansion at Ranger is an overdue acknowledgement that the underground mine plan lacked economic and environmental sense,” said ECNT campaigner Lauren Mellor.

“It is also a significant step towards the end of uranium mining in Kakadu.”

Local and national environment groups have for long called for ERA and parent company Rio Tinto to commit to the rehabilitation of the Ranger site.

ACF and ECNT said the announcement to the Stock Exchange showed ERA has now accepted it needs to secure adequate rehabilitation funding.

“We welcome the fact that ERA has sought an assurance from its parent company Rio Tinto that the clean-up costs will come at the expense of the company, not the public,” said ACF’s Dave Sweeney.

“ERA has lost around $1 billion on the under-performing, accident-prone Ranger project.

“We have long said the Ranger 3 Deeps project is poorly considered, risky and dangerous. 

“That ERA has finally and formally announced it won't continue with this project is very good news.

“It’s good news for Kakadu that the very contentious and long-running story of uranium mining in Australia’s largest national park seems to be coming to an end.”

The groups called for all project applications and approvals to be withdrawn and for ERA to detail its closure and clean-up plan and costings.

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