Australian news, and some related international items

Silex dumped solar for nuclear: now nuclear has dumped Silex

Parkinson-Report-Silex tumbles after solar-nuclear switch hits market roadblock, REneweconomy By  on 28 July 2014 Silex Systems decided in June to dump its solar business to focus on nuclear. But now the nuclear industry has dumped Silex.

nuke-solar-marriageLess than one month after Australia’s Silex Systems placed its solar technology assets up for sale to focus on uranium enrichments, it has been dealt a massive blow by the suspension of its nuclear ambitions.

In late June, Silex sought to arrest its slumping share price and preserve its cash reserves by deciding to seek buyers and co-investors in its Solar Systems and Transluscent businesses.

CEO Michael Goldsworthy said at the time he wanted to focus on its laser uranium enrichment process, confident that its partnership with GE and Hitachi (GLE) could mean that the world’s first commercial laser enrichment plant could be in operation later this decade.

But those dreams are now on hold – indefinitely – after GLE said it would cease funding laser development projects at Lucas Heights in Sydney and put the main project facility near Oak Ridge in Tennessee in “cold storage”. Most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney to cease.

Silex appears to to have been shocked by the announcement, saying it was “unexpected” and GLE had already invested “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the project.

The share slump cames just days after “stock pickers” in Fairfax and News Ltd business pages rated Silex as the “best speculative stock” on the ASX. A day after a Fairfax collumnist called Silex “one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX, the stock plunged rom 94c to a low of 49c. The stock has fallen from a 2009 high of $7.97 a share, and a year ago it was trading at more than $3.

Those brazen calls – and the optimism of its mostly retail shareholders – were based on the optimistic belief that the nuclear industry is about to rebound. But this is mostly based on hope – and an arrogant distrust of renewables – than any actual evidence.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who made the call to bring the research to a halt despite investing hundreds of millions, has said privately that nuclear is “too difficult” . (GE was one of the biggest suppliers of nuclear technology in the world.”

Goldsworthy says it is clear that the global nuclear industry is “still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event” and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011.

Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply, and the market could take “several years” to rebalance………..

August 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

Queensland government willing to consider exporting uranium though Queensland Ports

beautiful-underwater-world-Cripps claims preference to export uranium from SA or NT, Australian Mining 1 August, 2014 Ben Hagemann With Queensland drumming up support for getting back into the uranium business, mines minster Andrew Cripps has not ruled out the prospect of exporting the radioactive resource from Queensland ports.

A statement from Queensland government yesterday said the Government had a “preference” for uranium to be exported from existing licensed ports.

Australia has only two licensed ports for the export of uranium, being Port Adelaide in South Australia (receiving ore from Olympic Dam), and Darwin in the Northern Territory (shipping ore from Ranger). Cripps said that the Queensland government would be willing to consider licensing a port within the state for shipping uranium.

Well if an application comes forward to assess a port for the export of uranium oxide, I mean, we’ll take it and we’ll assess it,” he said………

The Queensland government has invited tenders to reopen the Mary Kathleen mine, which has been closed since 1982.

Mary Kathleen is near Mt Isa in Northern Queensland, and bears rare earth elements such as lanthanum, cerium, praesodymium, neodymium, as well as uranium, all of which are present in tailings waiting to be processed.

Presently there are 7 million tonnes of tailings left at the Mary Kathleen mine, with an estimated 3 per cent rare earth purity……..

August 2, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

How coal will kill the Great Barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-The Great Barrier Reef and the coal mine that could kill it, Guardian, Tim Flannery, 2 Aug 14  These are dark days for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. On 29 July, the last major regulatory hurdle facing the development of Australia’s largest coal mine was removed by Greg Hunt, minister for the environment. The Carmichael coal mine, owned by India’s Adani Group, will cover 200 sq km and produce 60m tonnes of coal a year – enough to supply electricity for 100 million people. Located in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, 400km inland from the reef, it will require a major rail line, which is yet to receive final approval, to transport the coal, which must then be loaded on to ships at the ports of Hay Point and Abbot Point, near Gladstone on the Queensland coast, adjacent to the southern section of the reef. Both ports require dredging and expansion to manage the increased volume of shipping. Once aboard, the coal must be shipped safely through the coral labyrinth that is the Great Barrier Reef, and on to India, where it will be burned in great coal-fired power plants.

The proposed development will affect the reef at just about every stage. Indeed, so vast is the project’s reach that it is best thought of not as an Australian, or even an Australian-Indian project, but one of global impact and significance………..

Today, the Carmichael mine development is occurring adjacent to what is now a very sick Great Barrier Reef. A 2012 study established that around half of the coral composing the reef is already dead – killed by pesticide runoff, muddy sediment from land clearing, predatory starfish, coral bleaching and various other impacts. The coal mine development will add significant new pressures. First will come the dredging for the new ports. The 5m or more tonnes of mud, along with whatever toxins they contain, will be dug up, transported and dumped into the middle of the reef area. Some studies suggest that the suffocating sediment will not drift far enough to harm the majority of the reef. But who can say what impact tides, currents or cyclones, which are frequent in the area, will have on the muddy mass?

The raw coal itself will be another pollutant. Coal dust and coal fragments already find their way from stockpiles, conveyor belts and loaders into the waters of the reef. Indeed, existing coal loaders have already dumped enough coal for it to have spread along the length and breadth of the reef. In areas near the loaders, enough has accumulated to have a toxic effect on the corals that grow there.

There is also the ever-present possibility of a coal ship running aground on the reef……….

If the Carmichael coal mine is a global story, and the Great Barrier Reef a global asset, then the issue should not be left to Australia alone to decide. The citizens of the world deserve a say on whether their children should have the opportunity to see the wonder that is the reef. Opportunities to do this abound. Petitioning national governments to put climate change on the agenda of the G20 summit, to be held in Australia in November this year, is one. Pushing governments to play a constructive role at the 2015 climate negotiations in Paris is another, as is letting the Australian government know directly that everybody has a stake in the reef, and that it needs to act to secure its future. The Great Barrier Reef does not have to die in a greenhouse disaster like the one that devastated the world’s oceans 55 million years ago. But if we don’t act decisively, and soon, to stem our greenhouse gas emissions, it will.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Renewable energy should be the ‘norm’ say Queenslanders

map-solar-QueenslandParkinson-Report-Queenslanders want renewables to become the ‘norm’  By  on 1 August 2014

Queenslanders have given renewable energy an overwhelming vote of support, telling the state government as part of its 30-year “Queensland Plan” that they want renewables to become the “norm” in the state. The document, produced after consultations with 80,000 Queenslanders, states that their goal is for renewable and alternative energy to become the norm.

That would mean that “alternative, renewable energy is a Queensland commodity. It is affordable, commercially viable and available to all Queenslanders. Our infrastructure supports these renewable energy solutions.”

The document also states: “Increasingly, Queenslanders are turning to renewable energy alternatives. In the coming decades, as new technologies emerge, cleaner alternative energy sources may help us become better and wiser at using natural resources so they are protected and last longer.”

Premier Campbell Newman hailed the plan as “a massive and exemplary exercise in listening and consulting which involved various discussion forums from summits and community think tanks to boardroom workshops and robust family debates.”

But Queenslanders shouldn’t get too excited about Newman’s LNP government making a sudden lunge towards clean energy.

Queensland may well have more rooftop solar PV than any other state – 1.1GW out of a country total of 3.4GW – but it has very few large scale renewable energy projects, and little prospect of more in the near term. Network operators have also introduced new rules that may prevent new solar installations from exporting their output back into the grid.

The Newman Government has constantly derided “green schemes”, such as the solar feed-in tariff, for contributing towards higher power prices, even though it has benefited from a huge increase in dividends from the state owned network operators derived from big increases in network costs.

The government also wants the renewable energy target brought to a halt, rather than expanded. This appears designed to accommodate the needs of the state-owned fossil fuel generators, Stanwell Corp and CS Energy, which have called for renewable support schemes to end.

Stanwell Corp, in particular, has been critical of the role that rooftop solar has played in lowering wholesale electricity prices and forcing its books into the red.

The Queensland Energy Minister, Mick McArdle, said in his submission to the RET Review panel, that efforts to reduce emissions should be delayed until the state is rich enough.

So, how will the Newman government respond to the desire of its constituents expressed in the Queensland Plan?

The document includes some suggestions about how Queenslanders can “turn their ideas into action” and “make our vision a reality”.

Specifically, the document recommends:

“Subscribe to local and international think tanks and keep up to date about alternative energy solutions and environmental issues.”

Well, that’s a start. We trust, however, that the Newman government is not suggesting the Institute of Public Affairs. We’d recommend The Australian Institute, or the Centre for Policy Development. And RenewEconomy.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland uranium plan fails the nuclear test

 1 Aug 14 State government plans released today and promoting a fast tracked uranium industry in Queensland have been described by ACF as fanciful and irresponsible.

“The LNP’s promotion of uranium mining has the logic of a problem gambler,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. “It is a bad policy based on a broken promise and is driven by enthusiasm rather than evidence”.

Ahead of the 2012 state election Campbell Newman declared it was ‘very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland’. After the election and without any independent assessment or public consultation the LNP back-flipped on uranium and today Mines Minister Cripps is championing the sector.

His industry promotion is deeply flawed, including in relation to:

(i)    Economic benefits – these have never independently tested by LNP and the Australian uranium industry has been graph-down-uraniumseriously hurt and constrained by market fallout from Fukushima with the uranium price hovering around nine-year lows amid weak demand.

The Ministers spruiking of uranium as an economic bonanza has been released as Australia’s longest operating uranium mine – Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger mine in Kakadu – announced a further half year operating loss of $127 million.

“Queenslanders would do well to look at the facts before signing on to the fiction. This is an absurd time to be giving a green light to yellowcake,” said Mr Sweeney.

(ii)    Royalty payments: the Minister’s talk of “royalties to fund school and health services, roads and public infrastructure” fails to acknowledge that the Queensland Resources Council is currently involved in closed door talks with the LNP seeking to negotiate reduced or suspended royalties for any future state uranium mine.

(iii)     Uranium transport: Minister Cripps dismissal of community concerns over the possible future movement of uranium through a Queensland port lacks credibility.  The LNP government has not ruled out any such movements, the Port of Townsville has formally expressed interest in facilitating such movements, the federal government and uranium industry lobbyists are pushing for a new export site on the east coast and the proposed Ben Lomond deposit is just up the road.

In today’s media when asked whether it was possible for a Queensland port to be granted permission to be used as an export point, Mr Cripps would not rule it out: “Well if an application comes forward to assess a port for the export of uranium oxide, I mean, we’ll take it and we’ll assess it.”

“The Queensland community and environment deserve better than backflips, backroom deals and backward thinking,” said Mr Sweeney.

“If Minister Cripps thinks this industry adds up he should have no problem with an independent public Inquiry into the cost and consequences of the LNP’s plan for uranium mining. This industry is contested and contaminating and demands scrutiny and rigour, not wishful thinking and lame assurances,” said Mr Sweeney.

Further context or comment: Dave Sweeney 0408 317 812



August 1, 2014 Posted by | business, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s top Aboriginal adviser, Warren Mundine is a nuclear industry lobbyist

Mundine-puppetEnvironmentalists respond to Warren Mundine’s attacks  1 Aug 2014, Jim Green, Indymedia Nuclear lobbyist “………..Mundine’s role as a lobbyist for all things nuclear has been particularly offensive. In June, Muckaty Traditional Owners in the NT won a famous victory, defeating the efforts of the Howard−Rudd−Gillard−Abbott governments to impose a nuclear waste dump on their land. The racism could hardly have been cruder, with bipartisan support for legislation overriding the Aboriginal Heritage Act, undermining the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and allowing the imposition of a nuclear dump with no Aboriginal consultation or consent.

Mundine’s contribution to the eight-year battle of Muckaty Traditional Owners? Nothing. Silence.

In February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd highlighted the life-story of Lorna Fejo − a member of the stolen generation − in the National Apology in Parliament House. At the same time, Rudd was stealing her land for a nuclear waste dump. Fejo said: “When are we going to have fair go? I’ve been stolen from my mother and now they’re stealing my land off me.”

Mundine’s response to Lorna Fejo’s plight? Nothing. Silence.

When Muckaty Traditional Owners finally won their battle, Marlene Nungarrayi Bennett said: “Today will go down in the history books of Indigenous Australia on par with the Wave Hill Walk-off, Mabo and Blue Mud Bay. We have shown the Commonwealth and the NLC [Northern Land Council] that we will stand strong for this country.”

And it was indeed a famous victory. No thanks to Warren Mundine. He could have spoken up for Muckaty Traditional Owners in his previous role as National President of the ALP; he could have spoken up as a self-styled Aboriginal ‘leader'; he could have spoken up as a Director of the Australian Uranium Association and co-convenor of the Association’s ‘Indigenous Dialogue Group’ (which made no effort to establish dialogue with indigenous people); and he could have  spoken up as head of the Indigenous Advisory Council. But he remained silent for eight long years.

Mundine says Australia has “a legal framework to negotiate equitably with the traditional owners on whose land many uranium deposits are found.” Bullshit. Only in the NT do Traditional Owners have any right of veto over mining. And even then, sub-section 40(6) of the Commonwealth’s Aboriginal Land Rights Act specifically exempts the Ranger uranium mine in the NT from the Act and thus removed the right of veto that Mirarr Traditional Owners would otherwise have enjoyed.

Another example ignored by Mundine: in 2012 the NSW government passed legislation which excludes uranium from provisions of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983. Nothing equitable about that.

And another example ignored by Mundine: In 2011 the SA Parliament passed amendments to the SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act 1982, legislation governing the Olympic Dam copper/uranium mine. The amendments retain exemptions from the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act. Traditional Owners were not even consulted. The SA government’s spokesperson in Parliament said: “BHP were satisfied with the current arrangements and insisted on the continuation of these arrangements, and the government did not consult further than that.” Nothing equitable about that.

And on it goes. The Western Australian government is in the process of weakening the WA Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 at the behest of the mining industry. Nothing equitable about that….”


August 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Many Martu people oppose Cameco’s Kintyre uranium mining plan

Do the Martu peoples want uranium mining? Fukushima Emergency what can we do? 31 July 14 Western desert-living Martu Elder, Thelma Rawlins said that many of her people remain opposed to the “go-aheads” given to uranium mining on Martu Country.

“Kintyre should be left alone, our Country left alone.”
“This is really bad stuff in the ground, and it will be really bad stuff if it comes above the ground. We are getting too close to bad stuff happening,” said Ms Rawlins.
“Country will be made bad, our water made bad. Our water is salty, the river bed is salty. We have to be careful with our water. The uranium out of ground will take our water away.”
“Leave the uranium in the ground. It is bad stuff that they want our people to be next to, this is not good.”

But Western Australia’s controversial Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has given the thumbs up for the CAMECO company proposal to mine uranium on Martu Country, at Kintyre which is next to the significant waterways of Kalmilyi National Park in the Pilbara. The EPA has been the subject of one controversy after another and most recently with the now defunct James Price Gas Hub proposal in the Kimberley where it had also have given the thumbs up despite widespread public opposition.

Two prospective uranium mine sites in Western Australia are nearing the likelihood of becoming operational in the next couple of years, both near Aboriginal communities – the other uranium site is near Wiluna and Toro Energy may have it operational by the end of next year. By the end of the century Western Australia will be transformed into one of the world’s largest uranium miners according to insiders in the industry. Western Australia is rich in easily accessible high grade uranium. The miners are chomping at the bit, investing in uranium mining research divisions within their multinational companies. It is no secret that the State and Federal Governments are supportive of mining uranium despite the litany of well-known risks……

many Martu have said to me that they oppose the uranium mining. Many Wiluna residents, including senior Elder Geoff Cooke also oppose the proposed uranium mining.
“We are the Custodians of the Land. It must come before all else,” said Mr Cooke.
“Uranium is a poison. Our rivers will be poisoned. Our trees will be poisoned. Our food will be contaminated. Our people will become sick.”
“Uranium mining can hurt us forever, hurt every generation of our children to come.”


August 1, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto’s deceptive reporting about its “sustainability”

Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘, also reveals that Rio Tinto’s sustainability reporting contrasts sharply with the company’s actual performance in all four categories. It shows how Rio Tinto’s reckless pursuit of profit at any cost has caused disputes with numerous unions as well as environmental, indigenous and community groups. Most of the disputes covered in the report are ongoing. Rio Tinto has continued to provoke disputes in the three months since the report was released:

  • with South African regulators by illegally operating a coal mine for a decade;
  • with injured Australian workers by systematically targeting them in a layoff;
  • with leaders in Zimbabwe by reportedly reneging on a pledge to support community development programs;
  • and with the people of Papua New Guinea by rejecting calls for an investigation into the company’s role in a bloody civil war.

Rio Tinto will go on provoking disputes and operating in an unsustainable manner unless it believes that doing so could threaten its license to operate. To reform Rio Tinto, first we must threaten its ‘license to operate’

liar-nuclear1Rio Tinto’s ‘Sustainable Mining’ Claims Exposed By Kemal Özkan  July 31, 2014 Global mining giant Rio Tinto markets itself as a ‘sustainable company’. But serious failures in its reporting, and its attempt to hold an Australian indigenous group to ransom, reveal a very different truth: the company is driven by a reckless pursuit of profit at any cost. Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate. Now, a global campaign is demanding that Rio Tinto live up to its sustainability claims.

Rio Tinto subsidiary, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has threatened the Mirarr people that if it is not allowed to expand its Ranger uranium mining operations underground, it may be unable to fully fund rehabilitation of the open pit mine. The Ranger mine is located in the traditional lands of the Mirarr, the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park in Australia’s Northern Territory. If ERA does not complete rehabilitation of the site, which suffered a radioactive spill last year, the water, air quality and soil in the area could be scarred with toxic radiation for generations.

‘It’s not our problem’ When a shareholder confronted Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh about this at the company’s April annual meeting, Walsh flatly refused to commit to full rehabilitation or take responsibility for the mess. Continue reading

August 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

Warren Mundine’s allegiance is to Tony Abbott, not to the Aboriginal people

Mundine-and-AbbottEnvironmentalists respond to Warren Mundine’s attacks  1 Aug 2014, Jim Green, Indymedia

“……….Tony Abbott’s ‘kindred spirit’  Abbott describes himself as John Howard’s political love-child and he describes Mundine as a “kindred spirit”. Mundine’s willingness to provide political cover for Abbott knows no bounds. Abbott said Australia was “unsettled or, um, scarcely settled” before European invasion and Mundine said he knows Abbott’s “heart is in the right place” and ”we just need to do a bit more education, within the government, on this area.”

Mundine said that the Abbott government’s cuts of more than $500 million from indigenous spending over the next five years are not as bad as had been planned while praising the government for listening to the Indigenous Advisory Council. And when confronted with hostility from indigenous people for his role on the Indigenous Advisory Council, Mundine said he doesn’t represent anyone but Prime Minister Tony Abbott!

Gary Foley wrote about Mundine’s “bromance” with Tony Abbott in Tracker magazine in August 2013: “It would seem at the present time that the former National President of the ALP, Mr Warren Mundine, has momentarily eclipsed the Cape York Crusader Noel Pearson as the Aboriginal Man of the Moment. Whilst Mr Mundine may lack the intellectual firepower of Noel Pearson, he has nevertheless elbowed his way to the front of the pack with his dazzling late-life conversion to the cause of all things Tony Abbott. Mundine’s strategic realignment to become best buddies with Abbott at the beginning of the 2013 federal election campaign may have been a surprise to some, but only those who have not been taking notice of Mundine’s mundane comments on Aboriginal matters over the past few decades.”

Abbott said he wants to be a ”Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs” and wants to make a ”new engagement” with indigenous people one of the ”hallmarks” of his government. But there’s nothing new about finding opportunists like Mundine to provide political cover for a racist government. That tactic is tried and tested. Only the names change…….


August 1, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Uncertainty over Renewable Energy Target is hurting South Australia’s economy

Renewable Energy Projects at Risk Across Australia Laura Close – Finance – Jul 20, 2014 With the uncertainty over the Renewable Energy Target renewal, several project meant to add hundreds of jobs and millions of investment dollars for South Australia are on hold or at risk of getting shut down. The Renewable Energy Target’s goal was to increase renewable energy generation to 20 percent by 2020. This included energy produced from sources like wind, solar or geothermal.

Companies involved in the renewable energy game have been reconsidering their plans eversince the Federal Government decided to review the RET. The review is expected to be completed soon – sometime by the middle of this year – but it has left several companies with an unsure future.

Pacific Hydro, a clean power firm has made it clear that shelving their 42-turbine, $240 million project near Keyneton is having a negative effect on several players. With the ability to power 68,000 homes a year and provide 500 construction jobs, the hit to the region is noticeable.

In a letter to Premier Jay Weatherill, the company says it has $550 million in South Australian projects “ready to go if the current renewable energy target is retained.” “These projects could provide hundreds of jobs in construction and deliver around $260,000 annually through community fund grants,” the letter says. “While the RET review uncertainty continues these projects will remain on the shelf, depriving the state of potential jobs and investment.”

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis has been lobbying for the RET to remain, but to instead make changes like extending the timeline and cutting compliance costs. He has also made the request that the scheme should not be reviewed more than once every four years.

A decision is expected in the next couple months, but until then several companies are left waiting to move forward with millions of dollars worth of projects.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Coober Pedy a great test case for off-grid renewable energy

renewable-energy-pictureCoober Pedy Converts to Renewable Energy Marc Howe 31 July 14 A new renewable energy project in outback South Australia is set to prove the viability of solar and wind power for remote locations.The project calls for the widespread deployment of solar and wind power in the outback town of Coober Pedy and promises to radically increase the community’s usage of renewable energy, thus reducing its dependence upon costly fossil fuels trucked in from afar.

It is being developed by Clean Energy Council member Energy Developments Limited with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and is expected to supply as much as 70 per cent of Coober Pedy’s electricity needs.

The EDL project will see the construction of a two-megawatt solar photovoltaic installation and three megawatts in wind power installation, as well as a short-term energy storage facility. These extensive renewable energy facilities provide will take significant pressure off of Coober Pedy’s 3.9-megawatt diesel power station, which is currently the mining town’s chief source of electricity.

According to Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton, Coober Pedy’s sustainability experiment will prove the viability of solar and wind power for outback communities and mining operations in remote areas.

Thornton hailed the project for providing “clean and reliable power to an outback opal mining community which has to weather the constant challenges of extreme heat and dust.”

He pointed in particular to reduction in dependence on diesel fuels, which must be trucked in from elsewhere at significant cost, as a major advantage of renewable energy in remote locations.

“Reducing the amount of expensive diesel that needs to be used is a big win for these communities,” he said. “It will also show other outback towns and remote mining operations what is now possible using renewable energy.”

Thornton said the EDL project is part of a rising trend of mixed energy portfolios which make use of multiple supply sources.

“As renewable energy gets cheaper and fossil fuels such as diesel become more expensive, these kinds of hybrid renewable-diesel projects start to make more and more sense,” he said.

Coober Pedy’s EDL project arrives just as leading figures in the mining industry advocate the increased usage of renewable energy to deal with the remote and power-intensive nature of many operations in the resources sector.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | energy, South Australia | Leave a comment

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) reports a loss – AGAIN!

graph-downwardERA posts $127m loss in tough conditions, Trading Room,  PERTH, July 31 AAP  Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has reported a first half net loss as the uranium price hovers around nine year lows amid weak demand.
The uranium miner reported a $127 million loss in the six months to June 30 after posting a $53.5 million loss a year earlier.

The company did not produce any uranium oxide during the period…………..ERA said in the short term, the uranium oxide market remained challenging for producers.

“All Japanese reactors remain offline three years after the Fukushima accident and the market continues to be oversupplied,” the company said in its half year results.

“The spot price for uranium oxide has now fallen below $US30 per pound, the lowest level since 2005.”
ERA only restarted the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory last month after a toxic leak forced it to close in December.

The company said production in the first half was adversely impacted by the suspension of processing operations…….ERA is no longer mining new ore at its open pit and is exploring underground to see whether there is enough uranium to justify a new mine at the site, which is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park……..ERA shares fell 0.5 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $1.34 on Thursday.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Tony Abbott’s secret nuclear dreams are out of step with reality

Abbott-dancing-3It’s time for Abbott to dump secret nuclear ambitions  Echo Net Daily, By Giles Parkinson, RenewEconomy, 29 July 14 Michael Goldsworthy is not the only one  who has been betting the house on  nuclear beating renewables to be the low carbon energy source of the future.

Last month, Goldsworthy announced that the ASX-listed Silex Systems would look to jettison its solar assets and focus instead on its uranium laser enrichment technology, confident that the global nuclear industry would rebound and that his technology would be worth billions within a decade.

Now its partners, GE and Hitachi, have dashed the plans by suspending all work on the nuclear technology.

Two of the world’s biggest suppliers to the nuclear industry no longer have faith in the industry. Silex shares crashed in response. The Tony Abbott government, it seems, is prepared to do exactly the same, jettison the country’s renewable energy industry and achievements in favour of a belief that the centralised form of generation will remain dominant for decades to come, and that nuclear will one day be the answer.

Numerous studies suggest that this is nonsense, that the emergence of solar, storage and software solutions will results in at least half the world’s electricity generated (and stored) ‘on site’.

But the conservative side of politics doesn’t want to know. It wants to extend the life of fossil fuel generators, pursue various of forms of emission reduction technologies for coal generators through its Direct Action plan, and leave the door open for nuclear.

The nuclear option is as yet unstated by the Abbott government, but you don’t have to scratch far beneath the surface to reveal a deep-seated belief in nuclear energy.

Abbott has surrounded himself with nuclear advocates. Most significantly, the man he appointed to adjudge the fate of the renewable energy target, and the wind and solar industries in Australia, climate change denier Dick Warburton, is convinced that nuclear is the only alternative to coal.

In an opinion piece he co-wrote for Quadrant magazine in 2011, Warburton wrote:

‘Except for nuclear power, there are no straightforward strategies for reducing dependence on fossil fuels without large economic costs. Wind and solar generators often cannot function when needed.’
Others in Abbott’s orbit of business advisors share similar views. So do many of his cabinet colleagues and backbenchers.

Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has explicitly written in nuclear as a consideration for the upcoming energy white paper.

In an issues paper released last December, Macfarlane’s team wrote that  nuclear technologies continue ‘to present an option for future reliable energy that can be readily dispatched into the market’.

It also says: ‘A growing area of global interest is in the use of small modular reactors, which have the potential to reduce the cost uncertainties and construction time frames associated with current generation reactor designs.’

The conservative commentariat is full of references to nuclear as a potential solution to safe-guarding Australia’s cheap energy status ………….

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Secret gagging of the Australian Press is revealed by Wikileaks

highly-recommended civil-liberty-2smWikiLeaks reveals Australian gagging order over political bribery allegations Superinjunction reported to have been issued on 19 June to block reporting of claims involving international politicians   The Guardian, Wednesday 30 July 2014 

A sweeping gagging order issued in Australia to block reporting of any bribery allegations involving several logo-Wikileaksinternational political leaders in the region has been exposed by WikiLeaks.

The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne “to prevent damage to Australia’s international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings”.

The Australia-wide gagging order is a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret. It was issued on 19 June and states: “Subject to further order, there be no disclosure, by publication or otherwise, of any information (whether in electronic or paper form) derived from or prepared for the purposes of these proceedings including the terms of these orders.”

In a statement published with the leak, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said the gagging order relates to a case that “concerns the subsidiaries of the Australian central bank”.

He said it was the first blanket suppression order of this nature in Australia since 1995. “With this order, the worst in living memory, the Australian government is not just gagging the Australian press, it is blindfolding the Australian public,” said Assange, who is himself Australian. “This is not simply a question of the Australian government failing to give this international corruption case the public scrutiny it is due. Foreign minister Julie Bishop must explain why she is threatening every Australian with imprisonment in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing corruption scandal involving the Australian government. The concept of ‘national security’ is not meant to serve as a blanket phrase to cover up serious corruption allegations involving government officials, in Australia or elsewhere. It is in the public interest for the press to be able to report on this case.”

Assange has been holed up for more than two years in the Ecuadorian embassy in London evading extradition to Sweden where he is wanted to face questioning over allegations of sexual assault.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | Leave a comment

How the Australian media WRONGLY hyped up Silex Uranium Enrichment Technology


GLE suspends Silex laser treatment of uranium as market bites, Matthew Peach
29 Jul 2014
Focus switches to reduced US program after Japanese shutdown narrows market; Silex hopes for resumption when conditions pick up. Silex Systems, an Australian high-tech company developing energy and materials technologies, has announced that the Licensee for Silex’s Uranium Enrichment Technology,GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, is reducing its funding and commercialisation program of the laser treatment technology in response to “current adverse market conditions” – with the result that related operations in Australia are stopping.
GLE will consolidate its efforts on the technology development activities to its Wilmington facility in North Carolina, USA. The Silex annoncement said, “most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, to cease.”………
Dr Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO and Managing Director, said, “the global nuclear industry is still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011. Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply.”……..
Media speculationJust two days before the GLE announcement, Australian daily newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that “With a share price down 65 per cent in the past year, [Silex] is one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange)”, adding, “The enrichment market is expected to be worth US$10 billion by 2019.”

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, media, uranium | Leave a comment


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