Environmental review of the Radium Hill mine site, South Australia

Lottermoser, Bernd G., and Ashley, Paul M. (2006) Environmental review of the Radium Hill mine site, South Australia. World of Mining Surface & Underground, 57 (2). pp. 2-6.

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Abstract

The Radium Hill uranium deposit, in semi-arid eastern South Australia, was discovered in 1906 and mined for radium between 1906 and 1931 and for uranium between 1954 and 1961 (production of 969,300 t of davidite ore averaging 0.12 % U3O8). Rehabilitation was limited to removal of mine facilities, sealing of underground workings and capping of selected waste repositories. In 2002, gamma-ray data, plus tailings, uncrushed and crushed waste rock, stream sediment, topsoil and vegetation samples were collected to assist in the examination of the current environmental status of the mine site. The preliminary data indicate that capping of tailings storage facilities did not ensure the long-term containment of the low-level radioactive wastes due to the erosion of sides of the impoundments. Moreover, active wind erosion of waste fines from various, physically unstable waste repositories causes increasing radiochemical (up to 0.94 μSv/h) and geochemical (Ce, La, Sc, Th, U, V, Y) impacts on local soils and sediments. However, measured radiation levels of soils and sediments are at or below Australian Radiation Protection Standards (20 mSv/a averaged over five consecutive years). Additional capping and landform design of the crushed waste and tailings repositories are required in order to minimise erosion and impacts on surrounding soils and sediments.

Item ID: 8154
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
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ISSN: 1613-2408
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2010 22:35
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040299 Geochemistry not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8498 Environmentally Sustainable Mineral Resource Activities > 849899 Environmentally Sustainable Mineral Resource Activities not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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