Rum Jungle South Recreation Reserve Closed

Media Release
NT Government

The Coomalie Community Government Council has agreed to a Department of Resources (DoR) recommendation to close the Rum Jungle South Recreation Reserve as a precautionary measure to allow for an extensive assessment of the site to be undertaken.

Recently, a series of anomalous, low radiation readings were detected on the waste rock pile by DoR.

The site operated as a uranium mine in the early 1960’s and was rehabilitated in 1991 before being transferred to the Coomalie Community Government Council in 1998.

DoR Chief Executive Richard Galton said the readings detected were low level and there was no evidence of any public health risk, however the Department has taken precautionary action to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the site.

Mr Galton said there was no evidence that any visitors to the reserve have been exposed to a health risk.

“Tests of the water in the lake have shown it to be safe to swim in, but because the readings at a few isolated locations on top of the waste rock pile were elevated, further comprehensive tests will be undertaken,” Mr Galton said.

“The radiation levels detected were so low that a person would have to stand on an affected spot for over seventy hours to exceed the maximum annual public dose. “It is nearly 20 years since the site was rehabilitated and given that standards have evolved as well as the potential impacts of erosion and weathering on the waste rock pile, a precautionary approach is appropriate.

“The Rum Jungle South Recreation Reserve will remain closed until a comprehensive assessment of the site is completed, and a final report recommending a course of action is delivered and actioned. “A thorough assessment of the site is warranted to accurately measure the potential impact of any long-term radiological exposure.

“The Department of Resources has engaged the Environmental Research Institute of the Supervising Scientist (ERISS) to conduct the assessment and report back to government on its findings.

“This precautionary assessment will run over the wet and dry seasons so as to provide a more detailed understanding of the site,” Mr Galton said.

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