The Key Knowledge Needs (KKNs) articulate the relevant knowledge and tools required, primarily through research and monitoring, to ensure:
- the environment and people of the Alligator Rivers Region (ARR) are protected from the impacts of uranium mining; and
- upon reaching end-of-life, uranium mines in the ARR are rehabilitated to the standard required by the Commonwealth and the community.
Identified via an ecological risk assessment, the KKNs provide the basis upon which the Supervising Scientist and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA), determine their environmental research programs.
The KKNs have been endorsed by the Alligator Rivers Region Technical Committee (ARRTC) and are revised and updated from time to time as research to answer KKNs is completed, and new knowledge needs arise. A formal amendment process, including review by ARRTC and the Ranger Minesite Technical Committee (MTC), has been developed to ensure that any changes to the KKNs are undertaken in consultation with all relevant stakeholders.
The KKNs originally encompassed the knowledge needs for all past, present and prospective uranium mining activities in the ARR. These include the rehabilitated Nabarlek mine and mines of the South Alligator Valley, Jabiluka and exploration sites. However, the focus at present remains firmly on the operational Ranger uranium mine, in operation since 1981, and this emphasis is reflected in the current endorsed set of KKNs.
The KKNs, and associated research projects, have been closely linked to the Ranger rehabilitation schedule to determine when the information will be required.