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miner busted burying waste on site

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    Miner busted burying waste on site



    THE NT Minerals Council has announced a zero-tolerance policy on environmental breaches in the wake of the suspension of a uranium explorer's project.

    The NT Minerals Council said yesterday it supported South Australia's suspension of uranium-explorer Marathon Resources' Mount Gee project by the state's key mining industry body.

    The SA watchdog said standards must be upheld to preserve the industry's "excellent" reputation.

    The uranium explorer has been forced to suspend exploration indefinitely at Mount Gee, 490km south of the NT border in South Australia, after breaching environmental protocols.

    A South Australian Government inquiry found the company buried a large number of exploration samples, drilling material and other waste at Mount Gee, near the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. The company was unauthorised to do so and was ordered to cease operations.

    South Australian Premier Mike Rann said the Government's decision sent a clear message to miners that the area might be remote, "but it is not the wild west".

    Marathon must now clean up the site before talking to the SA Department of Primary Industries about resuming operations.

    Mount Gee is Marathon's central asset, with a resource estimate of 45.6million pounds of uranium. The company has spent more than $10million exploring for uranium and other minerals in the area.

    Four drill rigs have stopped work at the site, with two already removed.

    Northern Territory Minerals Council president Chris Salisbury said he supports zero tolerance for environmental breaches.

    "Companies must meet their obligations, which will ensure the excellent reputation of the industry is maintained," he said.

    South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Jason Kuchel said as SA is home to three of Australia's four current or imminent uranium producers, it was attracting more scrutiny.

    "This breach should serve as a reminder to the minerals industry," he said.
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