Brine in decline

20 September 2013

Ranger brine concentrator, September 2013 (ERA) 460x275 
A new brine concentrator has started operation at Energy Resources of Australia's (ERA's) Ranger mine. It will process wastewater inventories and support a rehabilitation program.

The uranium mine is 260 kilometres east of Darwin in Australia's Northern Territory and surrounded by, but separate from, the Kakadu National Park. It produces 2600-5000 tonnes of uranium oxide per year, depending on ore grade. 

Concerns about the potential effects of the salt-heavy wastewater produced during mining have prevented any from being released since 1996, resulting in a substantial build up of this water in tailings dams. ERA is planning to rehabilitate the tailings area by 2026, and the new brine concentrator will now begin to work through the water using a heating and evaporation process that prepares distilled water for discharge. The AUD220 million ($206 million) facility can process up to 1.83 billion litres of water per year, said ERA.

The machine was manufactured by HPD, a subsidiary of Veolia Water Solutions and Technology.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News