Brief description of impact/history
The Wild Dog uranium mine was a very small project from October 1953 to May 1955 run by the South Australian Government. Discovered by prospectors, the prospect proved to be very small and after two very small shafts were dug, only 340.41 tonnes ore was mined at a grade of 0.34 % U3O8, giving a total of 1,246 kg U3O8. The ore was subsequently processed at the Port Pirie treatment plant (which was associated with the Radium Hill uranium mine not far from the SA border and Broken Hill).
The Wild Dog mine site has clearly never been properly rehabilitated, with the fence being ripped open and easy access to the No. 2 shaft. A very small waste rock dump was some 5 metres from the old shaft. There were no radiation warning signs whatsoever, and the geiger counter readings were significantly above background, including:
- No. 2 shaft entrance – 6.608 µSv/hour
- No. 2 shaft fenceline – 1.762 µSv/hour
- Waste rock dump – 0.347 to 1.582 µSv/hour
- Uranium mineralisation on No. 2 shaft wall – 160.1 µSv/hour
Typical background in the vicinity appeared to be about 0.2 µSv/hour – showing that there is a noteworthy radiation exposure for anyone visiting the site (even if only for a brief period).
Yet another example of the poor rehabilitation of former uranium mines in Australia and their ongoing legacy.