Government’s “consultation” on mining in Woomera more like a ram raid Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam. 17 May 2013. The Federal Government made a mockery of public consultation by allowing three working days for initial submissions on opening up the Woomera Prohibited Area to miners, Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said today.
“On Wednesday 8 May Defence Minister Stephen Smith and resources Minister Gary Gray released the draft exposure of legislation to increase access to Woomera Prohibited Area to miners, and three working days later on 13 May the submission period closed. It’s not good enough,” said Senator Ludlam.
“Lawyers representing the Maralinga people, who in addition to being the Traditional Owners own approximately 40,000sqkm of freehold land in the area, advise that they have not been consulted on this legislation despite approaching the Defence Minister on the issue in July 2011.
“It is a relatively short amendment at nine pages but it is high-impact legislation. This area has an estimated 78 per cent of Australia’s known uranium reserves. The implications are massive.
“After years of review and the production of an 82 page report, we do not want to see a long process brought to an abrupt and shallow end.”
Australian Uranium Association’s Paydirt Conference shortened to one day, in gloomy economic prospects
PAYDIRT URANIUM CONFERENCE IN ADELAIDE THIS MONDAY Uranium industry boosters will gather this Monday April 29 at the Adelaide Hilton for the annual Paydirt Uranium Conference. This year’s conference has been downgraded to a one-day event, reflecting industry stagnation in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.
Friends of the Earth national nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green, co-author of a new report exposing the economic myths of the uranium industry, said: “The Australian Uranium Association’s Executive Director Michael Angwin claims that Australia “has enough reserves to be to uranium what Saudi Arabia is to oil”. However Australia’s uranium export revenue in 2011 was 466 times lower than Saudi oil revenue in the same year. Others to draw asinine comparisons between Australian uranium and Saudi oil include former SA politicians Mike Rann and Kevin Foley, and Adelaide-based academics Ian Plimer and Haydon Manning.”
“For decades the uranium industry has promised great economic benefits but it never delivers. Uranium accounted for just 0.29 per cent of Australia’s export revenue in the 10 years from 2002−2011. In the last financial year, uranium revenue was four times lower than Australia’s 20th biggest export earner, eight times lower than Australia’s 10th biggest export earner and 103 times lower than the biggest earner, iron ore. Even milk and cream generate nearly twice as much export revenue as uranium − and can’t be turned into Weapons of Mass Destruction. Uranium mining and exploration accounts for just 0.015% of all jobs in Australia.”
“Last year, BHP Billiton cancelled its planned expansion of Olympic Dam, disbanded its Uranium Division, and sold the Yeelirrie uranium lease in Western Australia for about 11% of the nominal value of the resource. Just months after first production at the Honeymoon mine in north-east SA in September 2011, project partner Mitsui announced its decision to withdraw as it ‘could not foresee sufficient economic return from the project.’”
“An independent inquiry is long overdue to objectively weigh the uranium industry’s economic benefits against its effects on environmental and public health, safety and security, particularly in the shadow of the unfolding Fukushima tragedy − a tragedy directly fuelled by Australian uranium,” Dr Green concluded.
‘Yellowcake Fever: Exposing the Uranium Industry’s Economic Myths’, a report released by the Australian Conservation Foundation last Friday, is posted at:
Tony Abbott vows the Coalition would give Olympic Dam a chance to succeed BRAD CROUCH :adelaidenow April 27, 2013 FEDERAL Opposition Leader Tony Abbott today vowed to create economic conditions to help the stalled Olympic Dam mine proceed after blaming the State and Federal governments for it being put it on hold by BHP Billiton.
However, Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis accused Mr Abbott of “over-spruiking” by suggesting the Coalition could get Olympic Dam expanded, saying Mr Abbott would have to change international conditions.
Mr Abbott said he could not guarantee the project would proceed under the Coalition but said: “I can promise there will be no obstacles from government that will impede its progress.”
“I want to give the Olympic Dam expansion a chance,” Mr Abbott said. “It is not on hold because of the quality of the ore body, lack of dynamism in South Australia or a lack of work ethic, it is on hold essentially because State and Commonwealth Labor governments have not created a climate in which this kind of investment can go ahead.”He also repeated promises to dump the carbon and mining taxes, put the budget “back in the black” and restore border security in a speech heavy on hope but light on specifics, such as how to fund the changes.
Mr Koutsantonis responded, saying: “He needs to change business conditions internationally, not just in Australia – what will get Olympic Dam over the line is not conditions in Australia or South Australia, it is the price of copper and uranium and the development of new technology to reach one of the most difficult ore bodies in the world.
VIDEO Mining promises too bold, concedes SA Premier http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-23/mining-promises-too-bold-concedes-sa-premier/4645662 Apr 23, 2013 South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill has conceded the Government needs to be more cautious about spruiking mining opportunities in the state. Rare earths company Arafura Resources is to scrap a minerals processing plant planned for Whyalla and keep more of its operations close to the mine site north of Alice Springs.
Mr Weatherill said he agreed with the Opposition the Government had a track record of overselling mining projects but underdelivering.
“I think this was a bit over-spruiked. It was always a speculative project but at the time it was always one that was a realistic project,” he said.”We did no more or less than back up what the company was saying about what they proposed to do, but I think we should be a little more cautious about that and obviously cases like this indicate that.”
Mr Weatherill said with both the shelved BHP Billiton Olympic Dam mine expansion and now Arafura’s project, the Government only backed up what the companies had told it.
“We did the thing we could do which was to provide speedy approvals, now to the extent to which we jump up and down and say this is going to happen is something we can control and we have to take a bit of care about that,” he said.
“It’s difficult to underestimate the significance of these projects, because they are significant.”
Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said the loss of hundreds of potential jobs was a disappointment for Whyalla, but the decision against shipping material south for processing was a win for the environment.
“There are real concerns with this sort of processing and rare earth processing – you’re dealing with radioactive materials including uranium,” he said.”You would have radioactive exposures and elevated radiation levels in the area, you’d be left with a waste stream that would include a range of radioactive materials that pose a long-term human and environmental problem.”
South Australia Solar Feed In Tariff Threatened, by Energy Matters, 23 April 13, Households and businesses in South Australia considering going solar may want to do so soon. The Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCoSA) has proposed that from 1 July 2014, the amount paid to South Australian owners of solar panel systems for surplus electricity exported to the mains grid should be slashed from 25.8 cents down to 9.8 cents.
Under current arrangements and according to information from solar systems provider Energy Matters, a 5kW solar panel system installed in Adelaide can provide a financial benefit exceeding $2,000 a year.
The CEC says ESCoSA has “used the narrowest definition of a feed-in tariff, based on the financial benefit that a solar PV owner provides to his or her electricity retailer.”….
ESCoSA has invited public submissions to its draft determination and a copy of CEC’s submission can be viewed here (PDF). http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3703
Activists check in on Olympic Dam http://www.roxbydownssun.com.au/story/1408767/activists-check-in-on-olympic-dam/?cs=1503 By Ifereimi Nadore April 4, 2013, BHP Billiton has been told to take some responsibility by stopping the sale of uranium to other countries, especially those that have nuclear energy plants.
The message was relayed to a management team based at the Olympic Dam mine this week by a 30 member anti-nuclear resistance movement group, the Friends of the Earth (Australia) which had been touring all of the uranium mines in South Australia.
The group, which is represented by various nationalities from India, Vietnam, Europe and Australia shared its concerns to the BHP Billiton management team and requested it to discontinue selling uranium to safeguard the environment and its population.
A particular case of interest which the group highlighted was the Fukushima disaster in Japan, which the group said was plagued by safety breaches, scandals, cover-ups and inadequate regulations.
Group leader and national nuclear campaigner Doctor Jim Green said the educational trip also gave the group the chance to see the uranium deposits at Olympic Dam and other uranium mines in South Australia. He said BHP Billiton had maintained that the selling of uranium had received the approval of the federal government.
“We are asking [BHP] to stop selling it and take some responsibilities,” he said. He said the group’s request to also visit the tailing dams had been turned down. Dr Green said the trip also provided the members the opportunity to talk to the indigenous landowners about the effect of uranium mining and what it could do to the environment.
The group’s next stop will the uranium mine in Beverly South, Australia.
New mine to ship uranium through NT, SAhttp://www.skynews.com.au/businessnews/article.aspx?id=860386 April 4, 2013 A new West Australian mine will likely ship uranium concentrate through two other states.
The federal government on Tuesday approved Toro Energy’s $269 million Wiluna uranium project, 30km south of the Wiluna township and about 960km northeast of Perth.
Toro managing director Vanessa Guthrie says shipping is likely to start from 2015 using existing rail lines between South Australia and the Northern Territory.
‘We would take it to Port Adelaide then rail through to Darwin as currently happens with the other co-shippers,’ she told ABC Radio.
The Wiluna mine will become Australia’s sixth producer of uranium and the first in Western Australia.
“Please leave the uranium underground” , Roxby Downs Sun April 4, 2013, Indian national Bhargavi Dilipkumar has a message for BHP Billiton; to leave uranium underground for it has done more than enough damage to the environment.
Bhargavi visited Roxby Downs this week with Friends of the Earth Australia to receive a first hand experience of what uranium mining was all about and be the voice of India protesting the uranium trade between the two countries.
She said she had been part of the people’s movement that is strongly opposing the building of an atomic power plant to be built at the southern part of India.
Bhargavi is an anti nuclear activitist from India who strongly believes that BHP Billiton should shelve its uranium export program and be responsible for the safety of the environment and million of lives back home.
She visited the Olympic Dam mine and tried to persuade BHP Billiton management to have a heart for the people of India who will suffer long term consequences if the atomic power plant was allowed to go ahead.
“Please leave the uranium underground,” she said.
“Don’t mine it because its destroying lives.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by German nationals Danda Petter and Miriam Ribbeck who had been part of a nation-wide protest to stop the construction of a nuclear plant at Freiburg.
Vietnamese national Hai Levan said having seen the damage caused in Japan he would “fight to the death” to stop the building of a nuclear energy plant in South Central Vietnam.
“We can’t continue chopping down trees because it will cause flooding and harm our environment,” he said .http://www.roxbydownssun.com.au/story/1408776/please-leave-the-uranium-underground/?cs=1503
Energy Matters’ Australian First For Commercial Solar Leasing http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3657 28 March 13 National solar solutions provider Energy Matter has announced a commercial solar leasing program offering South Australian businesses the opportunity to install a solar power system with zero up front costs.
The announcement was made at the recent formal unveiling of Ullrich Aluminium’s latest solar installation; a 30kW commercial system at their Pooraka, South Australia facility. Read more »
SA backs wind energy as investors hover REneweconomy, By Sophie Vorrath 20 March 2013 South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill has reaffirmed his government’s support for wind energy, saying that recent calls from within parliament for a moratorium on future wind farm development in Australia were putting investment in the industry at risk. “The government remains committed to providing ample opportunity for investment in wind energy in South Australia,” the premier told state parliament on Tuesday, adding that he would seek a vote in parliament on Wednesday backing the renewable energy sector. “Every megawatt hour of wind energy cuts about one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from the environmental benefits, wind farms also bring in vital investment to our state,” Weatherill said, pointing to the around $3 billion in wind energy investment South Australia had already attracted, as well as 842 direct jobs…… http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/mixed-greens-sa-backs-wind-energy-as-investors-hover-59380
Port Augusta, South Australia – ideal for solar thermal power plant, not for just a cheap solar booster for coal
What’s really needed is a solar thermal plant with molten storage, in
fact it is the only option if repowering Port Augusta is to be more
than just a green-washing option. The plant needs at least six hours
of storage in order to accommodate the evening peak
CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Don’t waste solar energy on coal, Business
Spectator, Matthew Wright, 14 Feb 2013 Port Augusta is the ideal
location in South Australia for a solar thermal power plant, due to
its very good direct annual solar radiation and its proximity to a
strong piece of grid infrastructure that services the old lignite
burning power plants that are located there, owned by Alinta.
There has been a campaign for some time to repower Port Augusta, after
the town was named as one of 12 key power generation sites in the Zero
Carbon Australia stationary energy plan.
This campaign has garnered a lot of support and gained a great deal of momentum.
But now we’re at a turning point where we may get a type solar thermal
plant that is of little use in promoting a shift away from fossil
fuels. A plant that will not create an inspiring vision, nor support
greater understanding and learning-by-doing that will shift us from a
19th century fossil fuel economy, to a 21st century renewable-powered,
The plant being proposed is a cheaper option being proposed by
electricity company Alinta. But buyer beware – you get what you pay
The marketing name sounds alright – it’s a “solar booster”. The idea
is that steam is preheated in a solar thermal mirror field then fed
into the steam cycle of the existing coal fired power plant.The
problems with this are many and varied and it would be far better to
invest in a 100 per cent solar thermal plant independent of coal, with
molten salt energy storage**.
Lock-in of inferior technology Read more »
VIDEO http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-06/bhp-billiton-slashes-jobs-at-sa27s-olympic-dam/4504834 ABC News, 7 Feb 13, BHP Billiton slashes jobs at Olympic Dam mine BHP Billiton is cutting dozens of jobs at its Olympic Dam mine in the South Australian outback, but it is unclear exactly how many positions will go.
At least 60 employees and an unknown number of contractors will lose their jobs.
In a statement, BHP Billiton said a reduction in functional and operational roles at Olympic Dam was necessary and would affect employees and contractors…..
Drones have become a mainstay of warfare but are shrouded in secrecy. The US, ramping up its drone program under President Barack Obama, has used them against “kill list” targets in place such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Britain’s Taranis tests Australia appealed because it contains a lot of wide open spaces with next to no electromagnetic signals. He believed the tests would take place around Woomera in South Australia…..
It is estimated about 3000 people have been killed in US drone strikes, including hundreds of civilians
$190 million drone coming to Australia, The Age Asher Moses, January 16, 2013 An unmanned British stealth drone that can fly faster than the speed of sound and go undetected by radar will soon have its first test flight in Australia.
The £125 million ($190 million) Taranis, named after the Celtic god of thunder, can attack targets across continents, automatically dodge missiles and other efforts to bring it down and independently identify targets. It can refuel in mid-air and carry weapons including laser guided bombs and missiles.
Designed to avoid having to put human lives at risk (?) Read more »
It is understood the commonwealth will offer the Kokatha $2 million to
compensate them for their concerns over the land use, which if
accepted will allow the ILUA to proceed.
Warring remote clans delay expansion of military training area BY:
SARAH MARTIN : The Australian January 14, 2013
THE creation of one of Australia’s largest military training areas in
South Australia’s outback has been delayed by up to five years because
of a territorial war between two Aboriginal groups.
The Cultana training area near Port Augusta, 300km north of Adelaide,
was to be tripled in size to 1600sq km by 2009 to allow for live
firing exercises for a full battle group. The area, which resembles
the terrain of Afghan battlefields, was also intended to host training
exercises for the Army’s 7th Royal Australian Regiment Battle Group,
which relocated to the Edinburgh base in Adelaide’s north from Darwin
However, a delay in finalising the Indigenous Land Use Agreement for
the expansion has pushed the completion date to beyond next year. Read more »
but each time you burn, the UV
radiation causes damage to the DNA in your skin and as you get older
your body’s ability to kill those damaged cells is scaled back.”
Skin cancer message not getting through Health reporter Jordanna
Schriever Adelaide Now, The Advertiser January 09, 2013 SOUTH
Australians are being sloppy when it comes to avoiding sunburn.
SA Health latest figures to the end of November show 33 people were
treated in hospital for sunburn and 17 for sunstroke.
Of the total, 11 were children and, in all but one case, the children
were admitted because of sunburn.
Cancer Council SA chief executive Brenda Wilson said she was deeply
concerned by any sunburn-related hospital admissions because of the
avoidable, long-term health consequences. Read more »