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Incidents from 2004 can be downloaded as a pdf and are reported in accordance with the Bachmann Reporting Criteria 

Date of incident: 28 February 2012

Date reported: 29 February 2012
Quantity: 30-34 m3

Description of incident:
The incident occurred at approximately 12.25 pm on 28 February 2012 in the central wellfield.

The size of the spill was over an unconfined area due to local creek flooding and site inundation. Volume of spill was estimated from a water mass balance (inflow – outflow) and calculated from actual pipe length and diameter.

A blowdown valve (BDV) was damaged on the extraction trunkline. The BDV is used to empty mining solutions from isolated sections of trunklines for maintenance and repairs. The solution can either be sent back to the wellfield or transported to the Water Management ponds on site. After flood waters subsided a risk assessment was undertaken and an action plan was implemented.

Comments: 

It was difficult to contain the spill due to the extreme weather conditions (over 200 mm rainfall in 48 hrs).
Probable cause was floodwater moving an injection lateral pipeline causing it to come into contact with a blow down valve on the extraction trunkline, shearing the valve stub off. This caused a spill of extraction solution (pregnant liquor) into surface run-off. The immediate corrective action was a plant shut down including shutdown of extraction well pumps to prevent any flows within the well fields.

Water and soil samples have been collected for testing. Radionuclide levels are low due to dilution by fresh water during the extreme rainfall event. The incident did not result in injury to personnel or any environmental harm.

Final investigation report was received 28 June 2012.


Date of incident: 19 February 2011
Date reported: 19 February 2011 (with follow up reporting 21 February 2011)
Quantity: 10-15 m3

Description of incident: 
The incident occurred at approximately 3:15 am and due to heavy rainfall was not discovered until 4:00 am. A filter canister failed in E2 Wellhouse causing a spill of between 10 to 15 cubic metres of injection mining solution (7 ppm U) at the Beverley East E2 Wellhouse. The area affected by the spill was 400 m2 however the footprint area is somewhat subjective due to the influence of rain prior to and subsequent preventing defined edges to the affected area.

Rainfall recorded at the Beverley Weather Station approximately 5 km northwest of the spill location on the evening prior to the spill was 6.6 mm. Rainfall recorded later in the day following the spill was 12.8 mm. 

Comments:

The exact cause of the spill is being investigated – there is minor damage to a part of the thread of the filter canister lid however this is not significant. The filter canister involved has been locked out of service and replacement of the filter canister will not occur as the wellfield is nearing the end of its mineable life. When the wellhouse is turned back on, the filter canister in question will remain locked out. The remaining solution has been retrieved from the culvert.

When the area is suitably dry, soil samples will be collected from the area of the spill as well as at two or three points downstream of the spill location. One of these sample locations is a permanent soil sampling location (S16) and is part of annual sediment sampling, hence background analysis is available. S16 is approximately 1.25 km downstream (southeast) of the spill location. A grab sample will be collected from North Mulga Dam, approximately 2 km downstream of the spill location, when safe access is available. 

Background analysis of water from this dam is also available for comparison. The incident does not appear to have caused any environmental harm or injury to personal.


Date of incident: 20 December 2007
Date reported: 20 December 2007
Quantity: 500 L

Description of incident:
A small split approximately 150 mm long occurred in the underside of an injection pipeline. This allowed some fluid to escape into a bunded corridor around the pipeline. However, it is estimated that 500 L of solution containing approximately 0.003% uranium went outside the bund. This area was previously disturbed and no live vegetation was adversely affected.

Comments: 
The pipeline was replaced and the bunded area repaired. Any affected soil was removed. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 30 September 2007
Date reported: 30 September 2007
Quantity: 580 L

Description of incident:
A buried HDPE pipe that is used to transfer liquid waste from the plant to the approved liquid waste disposal well, was pierced by a steel fence post, which was being put into the ground to prevent vehicle access to an ephemeral watercourse. The disposal pipe is buried where it crosses the ephemeral watercourse. An initial estimate suggests approximately 580 L of disposal liquid was released. The spill was discovered by an operator, who observed a damp patch of soil around the post.

Comments: 
The discharge of disposal liquid was stopped and the punctured section of pipe bypassed. The saline disposal liquid contains low levels of dissolved radium and uranium and, any contaminated soil will be assessed to determine appropriate remedial action. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 6 August 2006
Date reported: 6 August 2006
Quantity: 1 L

Description of incident:
Two flanges in the southern trunkline were found to be slowly dripping solution onto the ground below. The location of the drip was in an undisturbed environment making it a reportable incident. The injection solution contained some 0.005% uranium and the extraction fluid contained 0.013% uranium.

Comments: 
The pressure in the trunkline was immediately reduced and the leaking flange bolts tightened. An inspection of all other flanges in the trunkline was also undertaken. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 20 July 2006
Date reported: 20 July 2006
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:
One of two reverse osmosis units became contaminated when a maintenance technician mistakenly added 4 L of solution containing 0.4% uranium to the unit instead of hydrochloric acid. Some of the solution made its way into the potable water system.

Comments:
The reverse osmosis plant and associated pipe work has been disconnected from the circuit and the unit replaced. A full investigation of the incident was undertaken by the appropriate State government agencies. All staff were notified and restrictions placed on the use of potable water.


Date of incident: 15 July 2006
Date reported: 15 July 2006
Quantity: 2 L

Description of incident:
An operator was disconnecting the discharge line from a sump pump. The residual pressure in the discharge line caused some of the solution to spray outside the concrete bund, making it a reportable incident. The solution containing some particulates of uranium. 

Comments: 
All of the solution and particulate material was recovered and transferred back into the circuit. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 22 April 2006
Date reported: 23 April 2006
Quantity: 14.4 m3

Description of incident:
The spill occurred during the filling of a tank. The level alarm failed to operate resulting in the tank overflowing into the sump area below the tank. The liquor, contained approximately 0.5% uranium.

Comments:
The liquor was collected in the sump and transferred back into the processing circuit. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 14 February 2006
Date reported: 15 February 2006
Quantity: <100 grams

Description of incident: 
Small droplets of uranium concentrate were dropped from old piping during a changeover of ABS pipes to HDPE piping. The droplets were outside the thickener bund in the plant area. 

Comments: 
Area flagged off and the material recovered. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 31 October 2005
Date reported: 1 November 2005
Quantity: 27.3 m3

Description of incident:
An injection well in the central wellfield was not locked 'out of service' in accordance with standard operating procedure, and as a number of additional wells were brought online, fluid commenced flowing from the pipe connected to the injection well. The night shift operator noticed fluid on the ground during an inspection of the wellfield.

Comments:
The spilt fluid was contained within the bunded well field. All residual surface fluid was recovered and the area affected by the spill was flagged off.

Heathgate advise that disciplinary action has been taken in relation to this incident.


Date of incident: 8 August 2005
Date reported: 8 August 2005
Quantity: 13.5 m3

Description of incident:
An extraction well started producing sand and consequently was turned off. The sand from the well made its way into the wellhead and fouled the non-return valve in the pipeline. This allowed extraction fluid to flow back down the well casing which filled, and the excess extraction fluid started flowing from the top of the well onto the surrounding ground.

Analysis indicated that the fluid contained approximately 124 ppm uranium.

Comments:
The spilt fluid was contained within the bunded well field. Standard clean up measures were implemented, and the excess water around the extraction well was collected returned to the evaporation pond. The company has checked the installation of all other probes and drip trays, reinforcing to all wellfield staff the importance of the correct installation procedures. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 19 May 2005
Date reported: 19 May 2005
Quantity: Small quantity

Description of incident:
An alarm in the control room was triggered which indicated a leak between the liners during the commissioning of a new pond. The leak was very small and analysis of the fluid recovered between the primary and secondary containment liners contained traces of uranium.

Comments:
The pond was subsequently emptied to enable repairs to the primary HDPE liner. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 7 March 2005
Date reported: 7 March 2005
Quantity: 76.7 m3

Description of incident:
Injection fluid was found flowing from an open 90 mm pipe disconnected from the wellhead of an injection well. The fluid contained only low levels of uranium, approximately 0.019%. All of the fluid was contained by the internal bunds within the wellfield and none of the fluid reached the outer perimeter bund of the wellfield.

Comments:
Most of the escaped fluid was recovered and returned to the ponds. Heathgate are reviewing internal Standard Operating procedures for tag out isolation and will apply engineering solutions to ensure such incidents do not occur in future. Because the spill was contained within the wellfield bunds the incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 5 February 2005
Date reported: 8 February 2005
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:
The electronic leak detection system under the primary liner of evaporation pond 5 was triggered during the commissioning of the pond. Subsequent analysis confirmed that a very small amount of disposal fluid had migrated to between the primary and secondary liner of the pond. 

Comments:
Immediate action was taken to empty that area of the pond to enable a detailed inspection of the liner and to undertake any subsequent repairs. The internal communication processes within Heathgate Resources are being reviewed. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 30 January 2005
Date reported: 30 January 2005
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident:
Leak detection system under the primary liner of evaporation pond 5 was triggered during the commissioning of the pond. Analysis confirmed that pond solution had migrated to between the primary and secondary liner of the pond.

Comments:
Immediate action was taken to empty to pond to enable a detailed inspection of the liner and to undertake any subsequent repairs. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 8 December 2004
Date reported: 8 December 2004
Quantity: 2.3 m3

Description of incident:
Spill of injection mining solution resulting from a rubber gasket failure in the off-take fitting from the central trunk line. The solution contained approximately 0.028% uranium.

Comments:
Some of the mining fluid ejected beyond the bund surrounding the trunkline. The escaped fluid was recovered and the gasket replaced. The incident did not cause any environmental harm or injury to personnel.


Date of incident: 25 April 2004
Date reported: 26 April 2004
Quantity: n/a

Description of incident: 
The sulphate concentration in a perimeter monitoring bore (MW 012) on the eastern side of the orebody in the Namba Formation was measured at 3.4 gms/litre, which is approximately 20% above the upper control limit for the sulphate parameter. All the other three indicators remained within control limits including uranium levels, which were below detection limits.

Comments:
Recent extraction of clean Namba water from the eastern side of the orebody for use as make up water probably caused a migration of fluids towards monitoring bore.

As this incident involves low concentrations of sulphate levels in an underground situation, the incident, although reportable, is considered to be of no risk to the public, workers or the environment.

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