Australians going to NT this weekend ought to brace for potential gridlocks as well as changes to their time travel itineraries as uranium miner Energy Resources Australia (ERA) prepares to transfer heavy equipment for three Saturdays starting this coming weekend from Darwin to Jabiru, at speeds of only 30kmph.
ERA will move its new $220 million brine concentrator with a police escort over two days of travel down the Stuart Highway and Kakadu Highway. The convoy will start moving this Saturday at dawn. It will leave East Arm, shift down to Pine Creek before turning onto the Kakadu Highway.
"Hopefully the disruption to drivers will be minimal but we are asking for people's patience with this, but hopefully we won't interrupt their Saturdays too much," said Rob Atkinson, ERA chief executive.
Shaped somewhat like a kettle, the brine concentrator is a machine that will be used to treat 30 years of contaminated waste water. It is currently being built at the Jabiru Ranger Uranium Mine.
"It boils water, turns it into steam, and you know when in your kettle on your element you get a build up on your element, well that's what happens with our water. We take the material of the salt, collect it then we can dispose of it safely," Mr Atkinson told Vicki Kerrigan on 105.7 Drive.
"Then the steam is then condensed and we can release that because it is very, very clean water."
ERA, however, still has to receive the go light for its Jabiru Ranger Uranium Mine. Suffice to say, further mining would need to be coordinate and approved by the government, the Environmental Protection Authority and traditional owners.
"We certainly found more uranium in 2008 underground, right beside the current mine, and we want to have a look at that," he said. "Once we've had a look at what the ore's like...we'll be able to determine if it's viable."