why should the people of Esperance have any faith they will be protected this time around by those with responsibility to regulate mining companies and protect the community, when they failed so badly last time?
During the Esperance lead crises, Government agencies continually downplayed the seriousness of the problem and denied any serious risk to human health.
Martin Bruckner’s remarkable book Under Corporate Skies tells the shocking story of another Western Australian “Sacrifice Zone”
The inability of WA Government agencies to effectively regulate and monitor the operations and performance of multinational corporations whose rationale is profit maximization was confirmed in a recent WA Auditor General’s Report.
Esperance WA: Sacrifice zone for the profits of the uranium industry?, The Stringer, by Colin Penter July 20th, 2015 A mining industry media outlet hasreported that the uranium industry in WA is keen to establish Esperance on WA’s southern coast, as a port export hub for radioactive uranium material mined in Western Australia. Continue reading
15 July, 2015 Ben Hagemann The Shire of Esperance has lashed out at public suggestions by Cameco that they would want to use the WA port for shipping uranium. The managing director of Cameco Australia, Brian Reilly, recently announced the company would want to explore the possibility of shipping their products through Esperance.
Shire president Malcolm Heasman said the Canadian miner had not approached the local council to discuss the prospect of exporting uranium through the Port of Esperance, before the making public statements of their intent, a move he said was “extremely discourteous”……..
Heasman said uranium was a very emotive commodity, and that the Shire of Esperance ran a “very clean port” which used world-best practice when handling cargo. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s uranium or nickel or any other product, to come through our port hey have to satisfy world’s best practice, and the community won’t stand for anything less,” he said. “I don’t know if they were just trying to solicit a comment, but it would be nice if they actually came and spoke with us.”
Cameco’s Yeeleerie project, billed as the largest uranium development in WA, is located near Wiluna some distance from Port Adelaide and Darwin, the only two ports in Australia approved for shipping uranium. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/shire-of-esperance-irate-about-uranium-remarks
Will uranium be shipped through Esperance?, Australian Mining 14 July, 2015 Ben Hagemann With the uranium industry gaining momentum in WA, Canadian miner Cameco has suggested Esperance as an export hub for products.
Cameco’s Yeeleerie project, billed as the largest in WA, is located near Wiluna some distance from Port Adelaide and Darwin, the only two ports in Australia approved for shipping uranium.
While the Yeeleerie project has been slowed to wait for commodity price recovery in the post-Fukushima uranium market, Cameco Australia managing director Brian Reilly said all options for shipping would be considered………
So far two uranium mines have been approved in WA since the 2008 lifting of the ban on uranium mining: Cameco’s Kintyre Project in the Pilbara, and Toro Energy’s Wiluna Project.
Toro Energy has already outlined plans to ship product through Port Adelaide, a 2700km journey by truck.
The issue of transporting radioactive rare earths materials came up in 2012 when Lynas Corporation rare earth shipping activities through the Port of Esperance were strenuously opposed by Greens member for Fremantle Adele Carles………http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/News/Will-uranium-be-shipped-through-Esperance
Michael Martinez: WA stance on indigenous Australia a worrying sign, MICHAEL MARTINEZ GEELONG ADVERTISER JULY 09, 2015 “…….. Mr Barnett and his pro-mining party members are trying to change the Aboriginal Heritage Act so that one bureaucrat can make a decision determining if a site is sacred or not.
There has already been a Supreme Court decision questioning the deregistering of a sacred site in Port Headland, and there are 22 other sites that the West Australian Government has removed during the past few years.
Justice Chaney said in his judgment: “I conclude that the committee did not give consideration to the question of whether or not the Marapikurrinya Yintha was a place of importance or special significance because the question did not arise for consideration in light of the conclusion that it was not a sacred site.” Continue reading
WA Greens senator says Abbott solar turn-off will hit battlers hardest, WA Today July 13, 2015 Ray Sparvell Reporter WA battlers will be hardest hit by the Abbott government’s decision to wind back investment into home solar, according to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
He said the state’s solar-driven homes were now producing as much electricity as two conventional coal-fueled power stations.
And he believes it is too soon for the Abbott Government to pull the plug on investments into the solar industry. “Retirees, people on lower incomes and people in outer metro and rural areas of the state will be hardest hit by this.
The federal government has recently directed the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to exclude household and small scale solar from further investment funding. Senator Ludlam said the government still needed to support the solar industry.
Some 180,000 WA households have installed rooftop solars and Senator Ludlam said they were now generating the equivalent of two typical coal fire power stations. “Solar powered WA homes have increased 19 per cent in just one year – overwhelmingly in outer suburbs and households with lower incomes,” he said.
WA now has four postcodes in Australia’s top 20 solar suburbs including Mandurah at number two, North east Wanneroo at eight, Canning Vale/Willeton at 12 and Cockburn at 19.
Home owners benefit from trading in small scale technology certificates at the time of installation and feed-in tariffs (selling power back into the grid). “Householders are streaking ahead of the state and federal government as they use rooftop solar to dramatically reduce their power bills, but Tony Abbott’s crusade against renewable energy is set to have a devastating effect. Continue reading
The racist and neo-liberal mindset that drives the present and previous governments’ policies on land rights and remote, self managed communities does not recognise any culture or society that may be based on community or collective principles, or practises ecological land management, developed for this environment over tens of thousands years.
The UN State of the Indigenous Peoples Report (2009) observed that free-market economies have devastated Indigenous peoples worldwide……What is going on with the forced closure of Indigenous communities and the driving of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands has all the hallmarks of a land grab – rolling back the hard won recognition of land rights and native title in Australia.
Australia’s First Nations peoples and their supporters are coming together in unprecedented numbers to fight back against community closures and policies that foster cultural genocide and disempowerment.
Racist land grab Stand against forced closures of Aboriginal communities! The Guardian Len Waster, 24 June 15 The Abbott Liberal-National government wants to shut down 150 Indigenous communities in remote Australia. Its actions threaten to leave some of Australia’s most vulnerable people without water, electricity or basic services. The remote or homeland communities that are under threat allow Aboriginal people to live on their traditional country, where they can sustain their language, their spiritual connection to land and their culture.
They are among the more than 1,200 small, discrete Indigenous communities in regional and remote Australia, which present policies place under threat of eventual closure and forced eviction.
As long as there are adequate services people experience better health and wellbeing in their homeland communities than when living in larger townships, where social dysfunction and disadvantage are often prevalent. Continue reading
Green energy for White Gum Valley development ‘an Australian first’, to benefit residents and investors, ABC News By Kathryn Diss, 19 June 15 A new residential complex south of Perth will feature solar panels and battery storage technology, providing financial benefits for tenants and investors.
Landcorp’s White Gum Valley project will include apartments, townhouses, maisonettes and single home sites, housing more than 150 people on the former Kim Beazley school site.
The WA Government said the use of renewable energy technology would cut energy and water bills by about $1,200 a year for tenants in the complex, which will feature a demonstration housing project managed as a strata development………
Overcoming barriers to solar technology Ms Green said the new business model overcomes several barriers which have prevented solar technology from taking off on strata developments.
“Barriers include getting approvals from Western Power, designing the system so that it is compliant with strata laws is really important, and also designing a system which is going to charge no more than what [residents] would pay from Synergy,” she said.
What has been designed here is something that should be affordable to the Gen Y marketplace
Ms Green said the project would be the focus of a four-year study at Curtin University into low carbon living, and is confident it will succeed.
“People are willing to buy apartments that perhaps cost a bit more, but the pay-off is they don’t pay the electricity bill,” Ms Green said………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-17/green-energy-for-new-white-gum-valley-residents/6553896
A Sydney University review of 25 studies into the possible health effects of wind turbines found none had produced evidence they were detrimental to human health and in 2014 the Australian Medical Association issued a statement saying the available evidence did not support the idea that windfarm noise harmed human health
Liberal senator wants windfarm inquiry to recognise ‘adverse health effects‘, Guardian, Lenore Taylor Political Editor, 12 June 15
Coalition figures want inquiry to acknowledge alleged health impacts and support more checks by the regulator A new federal inquiry could call for commonwealth oversight of windfarm regulations and demand recognition of the alleged health impacts of turbines on people living near them, according to Coalition senators.
The prime minister, Tony Abbott, dismayed the wind industry on Thursday when he told Sydney radio announcer Alan Jones that he wished the government had been able to reduce the number of new windfarms more than was possible in a recent renewable energy deal with Labor, and agreed windfarms had “potential health impacts”. Continue reading
Paladin (PDN) will take over Energia Minerals’ Carley Bore uranium project in north west Western Australia for $15.8 million in cash and shares.
The Carley Bore project in the Carnarvon Basin consists of three connected exploration licenses, located 100km south of Paladin’s Manyingee uranium project, and will increase the miner’s mineral resources in the area by more than 30 per cent……….But the miner has said it will not develop any new projects before it is confident of a sustainable uranium price of at least $US70 a pound. The material has traded between $US34 and $US40 a pound this year.
“The current low uranium price and sustained sector weakness have created an opportunity to consolidate our portfolio in strategically important regions,” Paladin chief executive John Borshoff said.
The takeover is subject to regulatory approval by the Foreign Investment review Board, as Paladin is deemed to be a foreign corporation under Australian law. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/paladin-signs-uranium-land-deal/story-e6frg9df-1227377778419
WA farming family opts for solar power battery system over costly grid connection, ABC News By Kathryn Diss 3 June 15 When Katherine Naughton’s family moved to a farm in Northam, north-east of Perth, it was going to cost them up to $60,000 to connect their house to the power grid.
But for just two thirds of that cost they have been able to install a solar power storage system, harnessing all of their electrical needs from the sun.”Not having that $400 bill every three months is just fantastic,” Ms Naughton said.
Perth-based company Solar Balance designed the system with Chinese battery manufacturer BYD.The batteries charge from rooftop solar panels during the day and store the energy for use when the sun goes down.
And unlike connecting to the grid, it is an investment that pays for itself. “With the cost of power going up, it’s quite scary how much it keeps going up by every single year, and you don’t know how much it’s going to be in the next five years,” Ms Naughton said. “So if we can go solar then we don’t have to worry about that bill.”
Battery storage an affordable option
With the entry of new players it will put downward pressure on battery costs which is going to be good for everyone over time because it will become more and more affordable. – Rod Hayes
The power revolution may be taking place slowly, just one household at a time, but the industry believes that is set to change………..
Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute’s Jemma Green said the power grid will become less relevant.
“The grid will have a place but it will become more of a back up system as electricity prices go up even further and the price of solar and batteries decline further, the economics of grid defection are going to stack up sooner.
“This is going to have an impact on the utilisation of the grid and therefore the revenue that the government currently derives from using it.
“I think the grid and the business models of the utilities, that is the generators and the poles and wires will need to evolve to deal with this changing energy system which is effectively a centralised and decentralised energy model,” Ms Green said.
Bosche, LG and Samsung have also indicated they plan to enter the market. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-03/farming-family-opts-for-solar-power-battery-system/6519960
Yellow Rock Resources has been accepted as an associate member of the Clean Energy Council of Australia.
The membership will allow Yellow Rock to engage with industry participants and policy makers.
Yellow Rock’s admission as a member demonstrates the company’s commitment to developing its world-class Gabanintha vanadium deposit in Western Australia specifically for emerging technology servicing the renewable energy market.
Gabanintha is a project which has the ability to support renewables as a supplier of vanadium for Vanadium Redox Battery technology.
Yellow Rock in discussions with renewable energy suppliers
Yellow Rock has initiated discussions with renewable energy suppliers SunEdison and Total Energy Australia, among others, focused on potential collaborative opportunities at Gabanintha.
Vincent Algar, chief executive, commented: “The latest excellent drilling results give us another opportunity to expand our relationships in the financial and renewable energy sectors.
“Gabanintha is a project which has the ability to support renewables as a supplier of vanadium for battery storage technology.
“In addition, Gabanintha can be supported by renewable energy generation to reduce its own operating costs, making it a unique opportunity for investors.”
The Gabanintha deposit is an intrusive layered intrusive body smaller, but displaying similar characteristics to the igneous Bushveld Complex, host to some of the world’s most significant platinum, vanadium and chromite deposits.
The project will have continued newsflow over coming weeks as more results flow through from the recent reverse circulation drilling program. commence on receipt of all assay results.
Currently 167 historical drill holes support an Inferred Resource of 125 million tonnes at 0.70% vanadium, 8.64%TiO2 and 32.6% iron.
This includes a separate high grade Indicated and Inferred Resource of 60.4 million tonnes at 0.98% vanadium, 11.4% TiO2 and 42.15% iron.
Carnegie Wave Energy based in Perth is a world leader in wave energy technology. In 2014 the company began deployment of three wave energy converters at the Garden Island naval base off the coast near Perth. Large buoys rise and fall with passing waves. Each is tied by rope to the sea floor. As waves pass, the buoys rise, the ropes tighten and extremely high pressure is created in a water-based fluid. This is piped to shore where the pressure powers water desalination and the production of electricity. This technology, known as CETO, has application for small coastal towns and remote islands where oil or diesel is often used in generators. The Perth project is the first demonstration of a complete grid-connected CETO system anywhere in the world.
Alinta’s solar plan to cut bills, The West Australian Daniel Mercer June 1, 2015 Gas giant Alinta is hatching a plan to sell solar panels and batteries to households, allowing them to slash power bills by reducing reliance on the electricity grid.
Alinta is also weighing the idea of offering micro gas generators, which could pave the way for households to disconnect from the grid altogether.
The plan looms as a direct challenge to taxpayer-owned electricity provider Synergy, which has been losing millions of dollars as customers switch to solar en masse.
There are about 170,000 households in the South West grid alone which have photovoltaic cells on their roofs, and this figure is expected to soar by the end of the decade.
Under Alinta’s plan, tipped to start this year, it would lease solar panels to residential customers, who would then provide any power they did not use back to Alinta to sell into the market.
The Sydney-based company would also offer batteries to store surplus solar power and small gas-fired generators that could be used as a backup in the event it was cloudy for days.
Efficient and affordable battery storage has long been regarded as the holy grail of renewable energy and US firm Tesla announced last month it was on the verge of being able to produce it………https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/28289418/alintas-solar-plan-to-cut-bills/
Funding withdrawal from Environmental Defender’s Office criticised as ‘systematic attack’ on community groups, ABC News, By Stephanie Dalzell, 28 May 15, The Conservation Council of Western Australia has accused the State and Federal Governments of launching a “systematic attack” on community groups which scrutinise policy decisions.
The criticism comes after WA’s Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO) had its funding completely withdrawn by the State Government, effective from the end of this financial year.
The decision follows similar action by the Federal Government in 2013.
The EDO, which also relies on grants and donations, said the combined cut in state and federal funding would leave it with a gap of $250,000 in annual operating expenses. Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen said the cut appeared to be a direct response to the EDO’s advocacy for groups which challenged policy or development decisions.
“The EDO is an extremely important organisation in our community and it brings scrutiny to environmental issues often where government make bad decisions or go wrong in relation to environmental management,” he said. “I think the Government’s keen to remove that scrutiny.
“I think this is part of a systematic attack on community groups around the country that engage in advocacy on environmental issues and stand up for clean water, healthy land, and healthy ecosystems.
“And when that doesn’t align with government policy or the industries that government [is] supporting, that’s when government [feels] uncomfortable with that advocacy and [starts] to cut funding.”……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-27/conservation-council-criticises-funding-withdrawal/6499492
Covert negotiations, whispered announcements and an awkward about-face reveal a political agenda behind reaching consensus. Mazzarol, Winthrop professor in the business school of the University of Western Australia, is reciting the long list of hoops a proponent must jump through to gain approval for a research centre at the university.
“Normally they have to demonstrate they will contribute to research output of the university and the reputation of the university,” he says. “They must have at least six full-time equivalent academic staff engaged in research at the university, a viable plan for the growth of the centre, the capacity to be self-sustaining. They must have an academic and a business plan, a clear indication of the resources, facilities, funding, negotiated targets for research, training, publication volume, output quality and how that will all be measured.”
He continues, citing the criteria listed on the UWA website: “It must also have the approval of the academic council, normally has to have an interdisciplinary role, and to have demonstrated consultation with other parts of the faculty that might be involved.”
The list of requirements and processes is detailed, but Mazzarol’s point is simple. “This one didn’t go through any of those steps.”
He is referring to an entity proposed by Danish climate change contrarian Bjørn Lomborg, ironically named the Australia Consensus Centre (ACC), whose establishment was secretively negotiated over six months, quietly revealed six weeks ago, and then abandoned after an ugly collision between academe and politics. Continue reading