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Note: Incidents are reported in accordance with the Bachmann Reporting Criteria (PDF 125KB)

Date of incident: 20 February 2016
Date reported: 20 February 2016
Quantity:  Approximately 8980 litres (of which approximately 275 litres entered the undisturbed environment)

Description of incident:
A spill of barren injection solution occurred at the Pannikan Satellite Plant. Approximately 8980 litres was spilled, which comprised of approximately 4545 litres being captured within the lined bund, approximately 4160 litres escaping onto a compacted calcrete roadway, and approximately 275 litres entering an undisturbed environment.

Comments:
The company reported no environmental impacts and no health, safety or radiological impacts to employees or members of the public. Soil samples were collected for third party analysis with results confirming negligible impacts. All contaminated material was contained and managed in accordance with site procedures.

The spill was a result of a design fault in a new static mixer that had recently been installed. The spill occurred as a result of internal corrosion within the static mixer vessel wall.

To prevent a recurrence, a number of actions have been implemented, including the use of an improved static mixer design, installation of additional leak detection equipment and installation of improved bunding infrastructure.


Date of incident: 31 December 2014
Date reported: 2 January 2015
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:
Compliance Monitoring Well PAMW050 at the Pepegoona Wellfield returned results exceeding the excursion control limit (ECL) for pH, sulfate and uranium.

Comments:
This incident was a result of ongoing management of water balances since the cessation of mining in January 2014 in nearby wellfields. The company reported no compromise to the environmental values of the Eyre Formation Aquifer.

With the support of hydrogeological modelling, the company implemented adjustments to nearby wellfield water balances to assist drawback of mining solution.


Date of incident: 2 December 2013
Date reported: 2 December 2013
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:An early warning leading indicator monitoring well PAMW072 at the Pepegoona Wellfield returned results exceeding the excursion control limit (ECL) for pH, sulfate and uranium. No compliance monitoring wells returned exceeded ECLs.

Comments:This incident resulted from over-injection activities in the nearby wellfield. The company reported no compromise to the environmental values of the Eyre Formation.

With the support of hydrogeological modelling, the company implemented adjustments to nearby wellfield water balances to assist drawback of mining solution.


Date of incident: 30 November 2013
Date reported: 1 December 2013
Quantity: 22.4 m3

Description of incident:Approximately 22.4 m3 of bleed solution was spilt when a poly tanker trailer became detached from the prime mover, after leaving the Pepegoona satellite plant.

Approximately 7.7 m3 of bleed solution was contained within the road footprint. An estimated 14.7 m3 entered the undisturbed environment, of which 3 m3 entered a nearby minor ephermeral watercourse.

Comments: The company reported no environmental harm, no abnormal radiation exposure to the workforce, and no impact to members of the public as a result of this spill.

The third party investigation identified that the prime mover was travelling too fast to safely negotiate the corner in the road.

Soil samples were collected for third party analysis with results confirming negligible impacts. Remedial measures where undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements.


Date of incident: 21 July 2013
Date reported: 22 July 2013
Quantity: 1200 litres (1.2 m3)

Description of incident:
Approximatley 1200 L of barren injection solution leaked from a failed butterfly valve at the Pepegoona Satellite Plant.

The majority of the spill (approximately 680 L) was contained within the plant bund.  An estimated 520 L entered the undisturbed environment of which 60 L entered a minor ephemeral watercourse, as a result of solution penetrating the bund where 2 smaller pipes pass through the bund structure.

Comments:
The Company reported no environmental harm, no abnormal radiation exposure to the workforce, and no impact to members of the public as a result of this spill. The butterfly valve was isolated and the plant and wellfield shut down upon identification of the incident.

A faulty valve was identified as the cause of the incident. The valve was replaced, the 2 pipes were removed from the bund wall and the bund reinstated prior to re-commissioning. Soil samples were collected for third party analysis with results confirming negligible impacts. Remedial measures were undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements.

Investigations into the root cause of the incident have been completed, and have resulted in a number of actions to minimise the risk of recurrence.


Date of incident: 17 July 2013
Date reported: 17 July 2013
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:
The Pannikan Wellfield Compliance Monitoring Well PAMW012 (adjacent to the mining zone) returned water chemistry results for uranium in exceedance of the Excursion Control Limit (ECL) of 1mg/L. Approximately 5.3 m3 of pregnant injection solution leaked from a split vent valve at the Pannikan wellfield.

The majority of the spill (approximately 3.7 m3) was contained within the wellfield bund. An estimated 1.6 m3 entered the undisturbed environment as a result of failure of the earthen bund.

Comments:The company reported no compromise to the environmental values of the mining aquifer and no health, safety or radiological impacts to employees or members of the public. Operations have ceased at the Pannikan wellfield.

PAMW012 is adjacent to Compliance Monitoring Wells PAMW010 and PAMW017, which were subject of an existing Rectification Plan relating to similar ECL exceedances. The company has developed a management plan to control solutions within the mining aquifer.


Date of incident: 1 April 2013
Date reported: 1 April 2013
Quantity: 5.3 m3

Description of incident:Approximately 5.3 m3 of pregnant injection solution leaked from a split vent valve at the Pannikan wellfield.

The majority of the spill (approximately 3.7 m3) was contained within the wellfield bund. An estimated 1.6 m3 entered the undisturbed environment as a result of failure of the earthen bund.

Comments:
The company reported no environmental harm, no abnormal radiation exposure to the workforce, and no impact to members of the public as a result of this spill. The vent valve was isolated immediately upon alarm activation. The earthen bund was reinstated and all other vent valves inspected prior to re-commissioning.

Soil samples were collected for third party analysis with results confirming negligible impacts. Remedial measures were undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. Investigations into the root cause of the incident have been completed, and resulted in a number of actions to minimise the risk of recurrence.


Date of incident: 17 January 2013
Date reported: 18 January 2013
Quantity: 72 m3

Description of incident:Approximately 72 m3 of barren injection solution leaked from an injection trunkline at the Pepegoona Satellite plant as a result of a weld failure.

The majority of the spill (approximately 54 m3) was contained within the plant area and tertiary perimeter bund. An estimated 18 m3 entered the undisturbed environment as a result of failure of the earthen bund.

Comments:
The company reported no environmental harm, no abnormal radiation exposure to the workforce, and no impact to members of the public as a result of this spill. The injection pipeline was isolated immediately, repaired and hydrostatic pressure tested prior to re-commissioning. The earthen bund was reinstated with improved design and containment capacity.

Soil samples were collected for third party analysis with results confirming negligible impacts. Remedial measures were undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection Authority (EPA) requirements. Investigations into the root cause of the incident have been completed, and resulted in a number of actions to minimise the risk of recurrence.

A site inspection was conducted by DMITRE and EPA representatives on 31 January 2013, which confirmed that the spill was cleaned up and that the appropriate correctives measures are in place to prevent recurrence.


Date of incident: 17 May 2012
Date reported: 17 May 2012
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:The incident was initially detected at the Pannikan wellfield on 12 May 2012 after water sampling a lateral compliance monitoring well PAMW010. A sulfate (SO4) chemical analysis above 2.4 g/L concentration was measured.

This resulted in a non-compliance with PEPR program 'Measurement criteria and Environmental Outcome for Hydrogeology' (Chapter 6, Table 6-6, ID 4.1).

Sulfate levels decreased briefly to within compliance limits in July 2012, however have since increased to stabilise at approximately 2.9 g/L. pH currently remains near neutral acidities.

U3O8 concentrations initially exceeded the excursion control limit (ECL) of 1ppm on 12 July 2012, and has since increased to 23ppm. The holder of the tenement has failed to achieve an outcome specified in a program for the purposes of Section 70B(2)(b)(i) of the Act (as measured according to criteria adopted to measure that outcome).

Comments:
An exceedence of more than 20% in one excursion control limit (ECL) for sulfate (SO4) initially occurred indicating an in situ recovery (ISR) mining excursion at the lease boundary. Since July the same well has also been in exceedence of the U3O8 EC limit of 1ppm. An ongoing rectification program has been implemented to return the SO4 and U3O8 concentrations to below the EC limits including:

  • Reconfiguring the wellfield to increase extraction rates near the lease boundary with the purpose of containing mining fluids and flare within the wellfield
  • Increasing the frequency of mining aquifer sampling and monitoring
  • Maintaining the hydraulic gradient from the lease boundary toward the mining zone to ensure aquifer water is being pulled toward the wellfeld
  • Reviewing management systems with respect to wellfield installation, management and monitoring

Investigations have identified the root cause of the excursion as being improper wellfield design when mining close to the mineral lease (ML) boundary. Heathgate Resources are currently revising a final Rectification Plan which will provide a program to return the excursion back into compliance.


Date of incident: 2 May 2012
Date reported: 4 May 2012
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:The incident was initially detected at the Pannikan wellfield on 2 May 2012 after water sampling a lateral compliance monitoring well PAMW017. A sulfate (SO4) chemical analysis above 2.4 g/L concentration was measured.

This resulted in a non-compliance with the PEPR 'Measurement Criteria and Environmental Outcome for Hydrogeology' (Chapter 6, Table 6-6, ID 4.1).Leading Indicator Observation Well (PAOB05) did not detect an increase in sulfate concentrations prior to elevated (SO4) reaching the lateral compliance monitoring well.

Sulfate concentrations returned to below excursion control (EC) limits on 11 June, however on 2 September Uranium U3O8 concentrations exceeded the EC limit of 1ppm, and has since increased to 18 ppm. The holder of the tenement has failed to achieve an outcome specified in a program for the purposes of Section 70B(2)(b)(i) of the Act (as measured according to criteria adopted to measure that outcome).

Comments:
An exceedence of more than 20% in one excursion control limit (ECL) was detected for sulfate (SO4) indicating an in situ recovery (ISR) mining excursion at the lease boundary. Sulfate concentration has since returned to within compliant limits, however as of 2 September uranium U3O8 concentrations at this well have exceeded the EC limit of 1ppm.

An ongoing rectification program has been implemented as described above.


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For more information, contact:

For inquiries relating to this mining operation please contact the Mining Regulation Branch
Phone: + 61 8 8463 3484
Email: DSD:MiningRegRehab@sa.gov.au