The 15th anniversary of the Kakadu Charter is a good time for Aboriginal and environmental advocates to re-confirm our shared concern, action and effectiveness for the long awaited total rehabilitation and completion of Kakadu National Park.
The Kakadu Charter Which Helped Stop A Uranium Mine Marks 15 Years Of Shared Values https://newmatilda.com/2015/11/16/the-kakadu-charter-which-helped-stop-a-uranium-mine-marks-15-years-of-shared-values/ Tomorrow marks a significant anniversary in a landmark battle to protect a people, and a place. Justin O’Brien and Dave Sweeney explain.
No reason to fear nuclear waste dump says owner of shortlisted farm near Alice Springs, ABC News, By James Oaten, Xavier La Canna and Nathan Coates, 13 Nov 15 “……….MP can’t see significant benefits The federal Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon, whose electorate includes the farm, said the Government had done the right thing in starting a consultation process, but was sceptical about the benefits the project could bring. “I don’t think there’s any question that if the community is opposed to this site around Alice Springs, it won’t happen,” Mr Snowdon said.
“I’ve always been a sceptic about the nuclear industry but this is a process that needs to be followed through. “There would be minimal employment opportunities. “I can’t see significant benefit from this.”
Mr Snowdon said he believed it was best to have such a facility closer to where the nuclear waste originated from…..
“It’s always been my view probably better off elsewhere, closer to where the bulk of the radioactive waste is rather than being transported long distances.”
‘Just the starting point’, environmentalist says
Director of the Alice Springs-based Arid Lands Environment Centre, Jimmy Cocking, said he was concerned the proposal may be a precursor to storing more dangerous nuclear waste.
“Low-to-intermediate waste is generally the starting point,” Mr Cocking said.
“So our concern is, if established, it will in the long term not just have low to intermediate waste.
“We are opposed to it being in Hale, we think it should be located at Lucas Heights [in New South Wales] where the expertise is.”http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-13/date-farm-south-of-alice-springs-shortlisted-for-nuclear-waste/6938126
“The mining company that has benefited and profited from the use of this area and the mining lease now needs to move towards a comprehensive clean-up.
“We’re still not completely aware of contamination problems that need to be rehabilitated.
“What’s promising is the protest from Aboriginal communities against the mining is as strong as ever. There’s a lesson [from Camp Concern] in partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists sharing information together.”
Camp Concern: Activists reunite for anti-uranium mining protest 40 years later inside Kakadu 105.7 ABC Darwin By Emilia Terzon and Lisa Pellegrino , 27 Oct 15 As uranium mining near Kakadu faces an uncertain future, activists calling themselves Camp Concern have reunited inside the Northern Territory park to mark 40 years on from the launch of an anti-mining protest. Continue reading
Energy Resources of Australia Accepts Defeat on Ranger Uranium Mine Extension, http://investingnews.com/daily/resource-investing/energy-investing/uranium-investing/energy-resources-of-australia-accepts-defeat-on-ranger-uranium-mine-extension/ Uranium Investing News, Kristen Moran • October 19, 2015 Mining Australia reported that Energy Resources of Australia (ASX:ERA) has decided to accept defeat on plan to extend Ranger uranium mine beyond 2021.
As quoted in the market news:
A statement from ERA this afternoon revealed the Mirrar Traditional Owners and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation do not support an extension to the authority to mine at Ranger, in Kakadu National Park.
A statement from ERA said the company respected the views of the Traditional Owners, and would undertake a business review in light of their decision.
“In light of this development, ERA has commenced a process of assessing whether the company’s assets may be impaired,” the company said.
The news was welcomed by Environment Centre NT, where Nuclear Free campaigner Lauren Mellor said it was time for “the era of rehabilitation and a staged and managed exit from Kakadu to begin”.
“ERA must now accept full financial responsibility for the costly and complex task of rehabilitation, accept Rio’s funding offer and cooperate with all stakeholders in the transition to a post-mining phase of operations,” Mellor said.
Indigenous protection of vast area in NT will educate future generations, SMH October 2015 Lucy Cormack Environment Reporter “…..the Anangu traditional owners declared more than an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA).
Larger than Switzerland and five years in the making, the Katiti Petermann IPA surrounds Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and will form part of a 48 million hectare network of nine protected areas in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia border region.
It will receive $1.6 million in funding up to 2018.
“This IPA, it’s amazing. To actually get more old people and young people to look after the land, like our ancestors,” said Mr Kenny.
“They wandered through the desert looking after their country to pass [it] down from generation to generation. Look after the country, look after the land…and the land will give back to you.”
Unique to Australia, an IPA is an area voluntarily declared and managed by Aboriginal land traditional owners as part of Australia’s National Reserve System.
The IPA manages threats from wildfires, feral animals, weeds and uncontrolled tourism, while enabling traditional owners to keep culture and knowledge of country strong.
“IPAs make a significant contribution … and protect highly significant natural and cultural values for the benefit of all Australians,” a spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said.
Across the 5 million hectares covered by the new IPA, traditional owners had eagerly anticipated the opportunities.
Peter Donohoe, land management co-ordinator with the Central Land Council, said the driving force has been involving young people.
“It’s really about that cultural knowledge transfer, and 5 million hectares is a huge area, so accessing country is a big part of facilitating that process,” he said.
The Katiti Petermann IPA will be Australia’s 70th and the fourth largest, testament to the broad array of Indigenous groups from Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, who gathered in Tjitjingati this week for the ceremony……..
Patrick O’Leary is the outback conservation partnerships manager for Pew Charitable Trust, which campaigns for IPAs across Australia.
He says one of the cricitisms of remote Indigenous policies is that they are “too monolithic,” but the world-leading IPA model has proven otherwise.
“It makes a great negotiating table between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” he said.
“IPAs have a strong track record on environment, jobs, growth, markers about closing the gap. These programs are on the right trajectory, but we need to increase the scale of federal funding.” http://www.smh.com.au/environment/indigenous-protection-of-vast-area-in-nt-will-educate-future-generations-20151001-gjz6yb.html#ixzz3p98u5UWV
Uranium miner ERA was told not to burn off on day of blaze: NT Fire Service http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-19/uranium-miner-era-told-not-to-burn-off-on-day-of-blaze/6867590
The fire, which ERA lit to manage weeds at its Ranger mine near Jabiru on October 1, became wild and threatened important Aboriginal cultural sites before it was extinguished a week later.
It is now being investigated by the federal Department of Environment.
A spokesman for the NTFRS said the organisation was contacted by ERA on the day it started the fire and its recommendation to the group was not to go ahead with the blaze.
“In response to an inquiry from the Ranger mine at 7:00am on the day in question, NTFRS recommended there should be no burn due to the high fire danger that day,” a spokesman said in a brief statement. ERA has previously said it notified Parks Australia the day prior to the fire and they were not advised against the back burn.
The miner has not specifically commented on the NTFRS advice.
“ERA is not required to seek approval or obtain a permit for such activities on the Ranger Project Area,” an ERA spokeswoman said.
“ERA followed its normal protocol to notify stakeholders prior to undertaking weed management activities.”
The miner said that on the day the burn was undertaken there was no fire ban in place in the region where the mine was located.
It has offered to pay for the aerial water bombing operations and said it is conducting its own internal investigation into the fire.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has committed to an inquiry into the fire. This is welcome but any inquiry needs to be open and transparent, not simply another yellowcake whitewash.
Kakadu has been burnt but it is ERA who should be in the firing line. The company lacks the commitment, capacity and competence to conduct such a dangerous trade in such a special place and the recent fire is further proof that it is time to close the chapter on uranium mining in Kakadu.
Uranium miner in the firing line over Kakadu burn http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/10/13/comment-uranium-miner-firing-line-over-kakadu-burn A week-long fire in the World Heritage listed Kakadu has caused significant environmental damage and threatened Aboriginal art and cultural sites, writes Dave Sweeney. The smoke is finally starting to settle over Australia’s largest national park. For a week Kakadu has been burning following the escape of a “controlled” fire lit by the uranium mining company Energy Resources of Australia.
In a case of good luck rather than good management, no one was seriously injured but, as the flames die down and the damage assessment and questions start up, more of ERA’s shrinking credibility has literally gone up in smoke.
While the full extent of the damage is not yet known, the fire burned over 200 square kilometres of the World Heritage listed Kakadu, causing significant environmental damage and threatening ancient and important Aboriginal art and cultural sites. Continue reading
ENERGY Resources of Australia produced 457 tonnes of uranium oxide in the September quarter, down 19 per cent on the same quarter last year.
- Production was up 17 per cent on the June quarter, when output was impacted by a mill shutdown to carry out maintenance.All ore milled in the September quarter was taken from existing stockpiles, and no exploration expenditure was incurred during the quarter.ERA lost half its board in June after deciding a proposed new underground mine at Ranger in the Northern Territory will not proceed to a final feasibility study due to a sluggish uranium market.
The company’s total evaluation expenditure for the September quarter dropped to $1 million, from $3 million in the June quarter, due to “close out activities” of its Ranger pre-feasibility study……..http://www.ntnews.com.au/business/era-sept-quarter-production-down-19-pct/story-fnjbnvte-1227567072625
R** Solar cars tested in tough NT conditions ahead of World Solar Challenge 2015
On a remote road an hour out of Darwin, dozens of solar-powered cars have been pushed to the limits for the past two weeks.
R** Solar car on track to become Australia’s first road-legal solar vehicle.
3 October 2015. This group of students are the latest in a long line of undergraduates from the University of New South Wales that have been working on solar cars.
Kakadu bushfire: Dept of Environment to investigate Ranger mine burn-off that spread to national park, ABC News, 9 Oct 15 The federal Environment Department says it will investigate a fire started by Energy Resources Australia (ERA) that spread into Kakadu National Park, threatening important cultural sites.
The fire started at ERA’s Ranger uranium mine a week ago and spread into the World Heritage-listed park, threatening several culturally sensitive Indigenous sites. In a statement to the ABC, a spokesman for Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt described the fire as a “very serious matter”.”Minister Hunt has asked the Department and Parks Australia to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the cause of the fire,” the statement said.
“No permission was sought and no approval was received for the lighting of the fire by ERA.
“We will not hesitate to seek reimbursement for the costs of firefighting if negligence or wrongdoing are in any way shown.
“Additionally, a breach of the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act can result in fines of up to $8.5 million.”
The ABC understands the NT Department of Mines and Energy will also be investigating the fire………
Aboriginal groups angry over fire
Justin O’Brien from the Gunjeihmi Corporation, which represents the area’s traditional owners, said ERA needed “to be taught about the sensitive environment” they operate in. “There’s an argument to say they should be prosecuted for what they’ve done, this is the second year in a row that they’ve done this, It’s almost a replica of last year,” he said.
“They are not learning so they need to be taught about the sensitive environment which they’re operating in.”
The Northern Land Council (NLC) said it was not confident a federal investigation would find anyone accountable for the fire.
Joe Morrison, CEO of the NLC, said he wanted to see traditional fire management practices reinstated.
“There’s been lots of fires and lots of investigations in relation to Kakadu and surrounds for a long time, we wouldn’t want to hold our breath,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison said he wanted to see Aboriginal people “take control of that agenda and reinstate their traditional fire management practices”. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-09/dept-of-environment-to-investigate-era-kakadu-fire/6842436
NT uranium mine fire: Traditional owners call on mine operator to take responsibility for blaze http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-07/kakadu-uranium-mine-fire/6832666Traditional owners are calling on the operator of the Ranger Uranium Mine to take responsibility for a fire that is threatening important cultural sites in Kakadu National Park.
They are also warning if the out-of-control fire spreads into Kakadu’s escarpment country, it will be too difficult to contain. Parks Australia said the blaze started when the mine’s operator, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), began weed management burning which then spread into Kakadu.
Justin O’Brien from the Gunjeihmi Corporation, which represents the area’s traditional owners, said ERA should fund efforts to put out the fire. “I mean there’s an argument to say they should be prosecuted for what they’ve done, this is the second year in a row that they’ve done this, It’s almost a replica of last year,” he said. “They are not learning so they need to be taught about the sensitive environment which they’re operating in.”
Mr O’Brien said the fire was close to escarpment country, where it would be very difficult to put out. “If this fire gets into the escarpment, there’s no water in there,” he said “You can’t do suppression from the air, you cannot get boots on the ground in that country, it’s too rugged. “All you can do is wait for it to put itself out, that’s not acceptable.”
Mr O’Brien said hundreds of rock art galleries, plants and animals in Radon Springs are threatened by the fire. One of Kakadu National Park’s most significant cultural sites, Nourlangie Rock, featuring Indigenous rock art showing early contact with Europeans, as well as other art up to 50,000 years old, has been closed to tourists.
Mirarr recognise 70 years since nuclear bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki 06 Aug 2015 The Mirarr traditional owners of lands in Australia’s Northern Territory, including parts of Kakadu National Park and the Ranger and Jabiluka uranium deposits, acknowledge with sadness the seventy year anniversary of the world’s first nuclear bomb attacks.
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Mirarr, is supporting commemoration events around the country in recognition of the strong links between Mirarr country and Japan and the great damage that the nuclear industry has inflicted on people and country over these 70 years.
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation CEO Justin O’Brien said: “There is a strong history between Mirarr country and Japan. Mining began at Ranger- against the wishes of the Mirarr – in large part because of agreements between the Australian and Japanese governments.”
In 1978 before Ranger mine opened, then Senior Traditional Owner Taby Gangale was worried the uranium from his land might be used in nuclear weapons stating: “What if they make an atom bomb or something? Same as they did in Japan. Very dangerous.”
The Mirarr feel great responsibility for the impacts of uranium sourced from their land. Soon after the nuclear emergency started at Fukushima, Mirarr senior traditional owner Yvonne Margarula wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon expressing her concern and sadness at the devastation that uranium from her lands was causing in Japan: “This is an industry we never supported in the past and want no part of in the future. We are all diminished by the events unfolding at Fukushima” Ms Margarula wrote at the time.
“In 2014 the Mirarr hosted a visit from Naoto Kan, who was Prime Minister of Japan at the time of the Fukushima nuclear emergency. Mr Kan’s visit marked a new chapter in the longstanding partnership between our two countries. We discussed the ways in which uranium has damaged both Mirarr country and Japan and the importance of working together towards peaceful energy sources and better outcomes for all people.” Mr O’Brien concluded
For details of commemoration events visit the website of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons www.icanw.org.au For further information including photographs of the Mirarr, Naoto Kan and Ranger mine contact Kirsten Blair: 0412 853 641
ERA’s loss widens to $255m, Yahoo 7 Finance, 1 Aug 15 Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia has slumped to a $255 million half year loss after shelving a major mine expansion in challenging conditions.
The Rio Tinto-controlled miner will not pay a half year dividend and said the uranium market remained challenging as an oversupply kept prices week……Half of the company’s board quit last month after ERA decided its proposed new underground mine at Ranger the Northern Territory would not proceed to a final feasibility study due to a sluggish uranium market.
Controlling shareholder Rio Tinto then pulled its support for any expansion of the mine, despite ERA saying it would seek to extend its authority to operate Ranger in order to re-visit the expansion at some stage.
ERA’s net loss in the six months to June 30 is significantly larger than the $127 million loss incurred in the same period of 2014, due mainly to a $197 million writedown related to the mine decision……https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/eras-loss-widens-255m-051004998.html