Further Leaks From Rio Tinto: Australian Politicians Angry
Rio Tinto’s (NYSE:RIO) Rossing Uranium mine in Namibia had its second toxic spill this month on Saturday. The previous spill occurred December 3, and was a result of a failed leach tank — one of twelve total tanks. The first failure resulted in spills into the Namibian desert, which Rio told news.com.au had been directed via trenches to holding tanks. The mining company also said that there was no environmental fall out from the spill.
While the company told news.com.au that none of the workers acquired serious injuries, a number were treated at the scene. Production at the site is unaffected by the incident, which amounts to around 4 percent of global uranium production — according to news.com.au. The second, most recent, spill occurred in Australia at the Ranger mine, and had more effects on production, with the Australian government shutting down operations temporarily.
The second spill was also a result of a leach tank problem; a 1.5 million litre tank exploded. The resultant mess is both radioactive and acidic. “Each company has commissioned a full investigation into these incidents to determine the cause and contributing factors,” said Rio Tinto — according to news.com.au.
The Brazil Sun reports that the spill at the Ranger mine has resulted in political backlash against Rio Tinto from the Australian Greens party. The toxic slurry had reportedly moved beyond the area it was being contained in at the Ranger mine — sparking political reaction.
“In addition to the toxic catastrophic at Ranger uranium mine — the latest in over 200 spills, leaks, and license breaches within the Kakadu National Park precinct — Rio is also dealing with ‘structural failure’ of a leach tank at their processing plant in Namibia,” Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam told Mining Weekly. “Rio is now on the world’s radioactive radar — both here and in Namibia where worker and environmental safety standards are much lower than at Ranger,” he said.
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