BHP Billiton looks like pulling out of Yeelirie uranium mining
BHP’s Yeelirrie doubts reflect high risk and low return from uranium mining, 20 June 11, WA’s peak environment group today welcomed news that BHP Billiton’s Yeelirrie uranium mining project is indefinitely on hold, with growing speculation that BHP will pull out of the project altogether.
Conservation Council of WA nuclear free campaigner Mia Pepper said “the nuclear industry is increasingly unpopular and unprofitable and BHP Billiton has seen the writing on the wall for the uranium trade in WA”.
“There is no bipartisan support for uranium mining in WA and public support for the wider industry has been dropping following the Fukushima nuclear emergency in Japan.
Kado Muir, Traditional Owner from Yeelirrie said “Traditional owners and local landowners have always been opposed to this project and would be happy to see it shelved indefinitely. We don’t want this toxic industry in our backyard and we don’t want be responsible this poison from our country harming other people overseas.”
Mia Pepper, continued “The Yeelirrie project has also contributed to international criticism and reputational damage to the mining giant, with a global alliance of environment and social justice groups putting BHP Billiton’s corporate social behaviour in the spotlight of their Annual General Meetings for 3 years running.
“It is now becoming apparent not only to ordinary Western Australians, but also to large resource companies like BHP, that the risks of the uranium industry far outweigh the low financial rewards.
“It has been reported that the Yeelirrie project has not met internal BHP standards; raising the question that if the world’s biggest mining company can’t mine uranium safely and profitably then who can, and what standards will be applied?
“The deposit at Yeelirrie is one of the largest in WA. Uncertainty about this deposit places doubt over many smaller deposits, including Toro’s Wiluna project and Mega’s Lake Maitland project.”
“News reports of the ‘significant political and community backlash’ here and overseas in relation to BHP Billiton’s plan cast serious doubt over uranium mining at Yeelirrie, Wiluna, Lake Maitland, Kintyre, Mulga Rocks and other deposits in WA.
Tomorrow, public opposition to the uranium mining industry will be demonstrated at Parliament House with over 10,000 expressions of support to reinstate the ban on uranium mining in WA being presented to political leaders.
Media: Mia Pepper 0415380808
Nuclear Free Campaigner, Conservation Council WA
Kado Muir 0419866506
West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, Yeelirrie Traditional Owner
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