Kakadu's Ranger mine expansion has been put on hold as the price of uranium slumps

Aboriginal dancers at Yellow Water in Kakadu National Park. Adam Pretty/ALLSPORT

Plans to expand the Ranger mine in Kakadu have been put on hold with commodity prices falling and uncertainty over the market for uranium.

Energy Resources of Australia, with its major shareholder Rio Tinto, says the uranium market has not improved as expected.

“The Ranger 3 Deeps project will not proceed to final feasibility study in the current operating environment,” the company says.

Energy Resources has been doing feasibility work since 2011 on an expansion.

Rio Tinto says it’s looking at a potential non-cash impairment charge of $US300 million relating to its shareholding in Energy Resources.

Energy Resources is talking with Rio Tinto about funding support to begin rehabilitation in the area.

“Rio Tinto recognises the importance of ongoing rehabilitation work at the Ranger mine site, which is surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park,” Rio said in a statement this morning.

The mine, back in production after spills from a holding area, produced 489 tonnes of uranium oxide from stockpiled ore in the March 2015 quarter.

The traditional owners, the Mirarr people who are paid 4.25% of gross revenue from the mine, want to eventually see the mine area incorporated into Kakadu National Park.

Energy Resources shares fell 45% in early trade to $0.705.

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