June 15, 2011

Energy Resources To Restart Ranger Mine Operations

Published on Wednesday June 15 2011 (AEST)

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) Ltd (ERA) says it will begin a progressive restart of processing operations at its troubled Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory on Wednesday.

ERA, which is 68.4 per cent held by Rio Tinto Ltd, was forced in late January to suspend uranium processing operations at the mine for the remainder of the wet season after heavy rains filled the tailings dam to near capacity.

In a announcement late on Tuesday, the company also said it was revising its 2011 first half loss guidance to be between $20 million and $30 million, from previous guidance of between $30 million to $50 million issued in April.

ERA said good dry season conditions in the Top End had allowed work to restart at Ranger on Wednesday.

"Since late April 2011, typical dry season weather conditions have been experienced," the company said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

"These weather conditions have reduced the total process water inventory at the Ranger mine to a level that allows ERA to re-commence processing plant operations.

"ERA expects that it will take approximately one month for the processing plant to return to normal production levels."

The company said it was provide further guidance on production for 2011 when it releases its June 2011 Quarter Operations Review.

Shares in ERA have plunged in the past year as production declines at the maturing Ranger mine ahead of its expected closure in 2021.

ERA shares closed down 21 cents, or 4.94 per cent, at $4.04 on Tuesday, prior to the announcement.

The stock was trading at just under $14 one year ago.

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