Rum Jungle rehabilitation project stages
Rehabilitation planning has been underway since 2009, with several project stages (stages 1, 2, 2A and stage 2B) having been completed.
The Australian and Northern Territory (NT) governments have entered into partnerships to deliver these stages under the federation funding agreement framework or preceding national partnership agreement framework.
There are 2 high-level objectives focusing on the environmental remediation and restoration of cultural values of the site within the East Branch of the Finniss River (EBFR):
- Improve the environmental condition onsite and downstream:
- surface water quality conditions within EBFR in accordance with locally derived water quality objectives
- chemically and physically stable landforms
- self-sustaining vegetation systems within rehabilitated landforms
- physical environmental conditions supportive of the intended land use plan.
- Improve onsite environmental conditions to support future land use, including cultural values:
- restore the flow of the EBFR to original course as far as possible
- remove culturally insensitive landforms from adjacent to sacred sites and relocate ensuring a culturally safe distance from the sacred sites
- return living systems including endemic species to the remaining landforms
- preserve Aboriginal cultural heritage artefacts and places
- isolate sources of contamination that may impact human health including radiological hazards
- maximise opportunities for Traditional Owners to work onsite to aid reconnection to country.
It is envisaged that the achievement of these objectives would support potential future progress of the Finniss River land claim over the Rum Jungle site.
Planning and implementation
The implementation of the rehabilitation plan for Rum Jungle Mine is expected to be a 15-year project, commencing in 2022.
The implementation phase of the project is known as stage 3.
The department is currently working to complete stage 2B and preparing to enter stage 3 of the remediation plan.
The Australian and NT Governments are currently working towards finalisation of the stage 3 federation funding agreement. This follows the Australian Government’s commitment in the 2021-22 Budget to rehabilitate the site. To read the media release, go to the Australian Government's Minister for Resources and Water website.
The stage 3 scope of work will include all physical site works to complete the planned rehabilitation of the site including:
- groundwater and surface water treatment
- bulk earthworks to deconstruct existing waste rock dumps and reform storage facilities for chemically and physically safe long term storage
- establishment of cover systems for new storage facilities
- pit backfilling with lime amended rock and establishing cover system
- realignment of water course and installation of erosion and sediment control features including fish passage features
- establishment, operation and closure of clean fill borrow pits
- ecological restoration of site and surrounds including revegetation, weed, feral animals and fire management
- supporting management of radiation, safety, environment and cultural requirements
- public road upgrades and modifications to support safety.
The full construction program is expected to be a 10 year program and will require a period of post-construction stabilisation and maintenance of the site alongside a long term monitoring program to measure project success. It is likely that a post-construction stage 4 project will be required.
In December 2020, the Australian and NT governments entered into a new federation funding agreement. Under this agreement the Australian Government committed to providing an additional $3.5 million to support commencement of on-ground works.
Activities under stage 2B include the establishment of a Kungarakan and Warai traineeship program, the commencement of revegetation works, soil treatment, weed and fire management, safety works and the ongoing environmental monitoring.
Detailed business case for stage 3 of the project was also developed and submitted to the Australian Government for funding consideration. Funding has subsequently been supported by Cabinet and was included in the 2021 Federal Budget announcement.
Stage 2B is due to reach completion in June 2022 and mark the commencement of stage 3 implementation of the major construction project.
In September 2017, the Australian and NT governments entered into a new project agreement to optimise and finalise the design for the Rum Jungle rehabilitation strategy from stage 2. Under this agreement, the Australian Government committed to providing an additional $10 million towards progressing rehabilitation at the former Rum Jungle Mine site.
View the project agreement on the Federal Financial Relations website.
The priorities for stage 2A were the completion of engineering design, implementation cost estimation and preparation and submission of an environmental impact statement (EIS). This required targeted technical investigations to reach a high level of confidence and certainty in the design and methodologies proposed in the rehabilitation plan.
To view the draft environmental impact statement, go to the NT Environmental Protection Authority website.
In 17 January 2020, the NT Government submitted Rum Jungle’s draft EIS for independent assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act 1982 (NT) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth). The draft EIS was exhibited publicly for comment from 25 January to 6 March 2020, and the NT Government submitted a supplement to the draft EIS on 18 June 2020.
Stage 2A also delivered maintenance works on the waste rock dump cover system at Rum Jungle Creek South to ensure the site continues to meet international standards for radiation protection.
Stage 2A was completed in June 2020.
In August 2013, the Australian and NT governments signed a new project agreement for the management of the former Rum Jungle Mine Site (stage 2) . Under this agreement the Australian Government committed to providing an additional $11.561 million towards progressing rehabilitation at the former Rum Jungle Mine site.
Activities under stage 2 included site maintenance and environmental monitoring, and additional technical investigations to refine rehabilitation plans.
The project submitted a notice of intent to the NT Environmental Protection Authority (NT EPA) on 30 June 2016 for consideration under the Environmental Assessment Act 1982 (NT). On 30 August 2016, the NT EPA decided that the project requires assessment under the Act at the level of an environmental impact statement. The NT EPA decision, which was summarised in the terms of reference and statement of reasons
View on the NT EPA website:
Stage 2 was completed in June 2016.
In 7 October 2009, the Australian and NT governments entered into a 4-year $7.048 million national partnership agreement (NPA) on the management of the former Rum Jungle Mine site .
The objectives of stage 1 were to develop a rehabilitation strategy achieved through ongoing environmental monitoring and comprehensive technical studies. This work improved the project’s understanding of the current environmental condition and enabled the project to develop a rehabilitation plan through rigorous assessment and consultation with key stakeholders.
In May 2013, the former NT Department of Mines and Energy successfully completed stage 1 of the Rum Jungle rehabilitation project NPA, with the development of the conceptual rehabilitation plan on the former Rum Jungle Mine site.
Last updated: 29 April 2022
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