Walkatjurra Walkabout: Resisting Cameco in Australia http://committeeforfuturegenerations.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/walkatjurra-walkabout-resisting-camecos-yeelirrie-uranium-project/ Kado Muir, Traditional Owner, Yeelirrie
‘Walkatjurra Walkabout – Walking for Country’ is a celebration of Wangkatja country, a testament to the strength of the community who have fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie (Cameco acquired the Yeelirrie uranium project from BHP Billiton last year) for over forty years, and a chance to come together to continue share our commitment to a sustainable future without nuclear. It is a chance to reconnect with the land, and to revive the tradition of walking for country.
“Walking for country is to reconnect people with land and culture. The Walkatjurra Walkabout is a pilgrimage across Wangkatja country in the spirit of our ancestors so together, we as present custodians, can protect our land and our culture for future generations.
“My people have resisted destructive mining on our land and our sacred sites for generations. For over forty years we have fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie, we stopped the removal of sacred stones from Weebo and for the last twenty years we have stopped destruction of 200 sites at Yakabindie. We are not opposed to responsible development, but cannot stand wanton destruction of our land, our culture, and our environment.”
AUSTRALIA’S URANIUM EXPORT REVENUE IN PERSPECTIVE YELLOWCAKE FEVER Exposing the Uranium Industry’s Economic Myths , Australian Conservation Foundation “….In WA, the Liberal National Government’s ‘Royalties for Regions’ policy was meant to use mining royalties to fund schools, health services and other community infrastructure. But $80 million was redirected to support mineral exploration and a significant amount has gone to uranium companies despite the promise that the Government would not fund uranium mining.
This issue was highlighted in the March 2013 state election context when community opposition led to the WA Nationals commitment to end R4R uranium funding…..” http://www.acfonline.org.au/sites/default/files/resources/ACF_Yellowcake_Fever.pdf
Are renewables doomed to failure in Australia?, REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson 3 May 2013 “………Mike Nahan (Western Australia) is an interesting choice as energy minister. For supporters of renewable energy, he’s actually quite a frightening one.
The American-born Nahan is a former executive director of the conservative, pro-market, anti-renewable think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, which is so intertwined with conservative policy making that many Coalition politicians refer journalists to the IPA for comment on issues such as energy and climate.
A collection of Nahan’s thoughts on climate and energy can be found on the IPA website as, like his contemporaries and successors, he was a prolific contributor to (mostly Murdoch-owned) newspapers. They give an interesting insight into his views on all things climate, energy and environment.
In 2005, he questioned the science of climate change. “Not only is the fact of global warming unclear, but a fully honoured Kyoto Agreement would have had only a trivial effect on temperatures,” he wrote in theHerald Sun.
In 2006, in the same paper, he hallelujahed the creation of the pro-nuclear and pro-business Australian Environmental Foundation, which has strong links to anti-wind farm groups. He also praised the expansion of the massive Hazelwood brown coal-fired power station, describing one of the country’s most polluting power plants as “efficient, profitable and clean.”
And, of course, he doesn’t like the Greens, accusing them of being “Watermelons” – former socialists who were red on the inside and green on the outer. He even decried the focus of Environment Day, saying such events should be a celebration of achievements – such as the fact that there were, he wrote in 2004– enough whales to support large whaling fleets.
Elsewhere, Nahan mocks the idea that the planet is depleting its resources, praises Conservative pin-up boy Bjorn Lomborg, and suggests that the global environment is actually improving rather than degrading. He also scoffed at suggestions that the Murray Darling Basin had water or salinity issues – both here and here.
Elsewhere, he dismissed the concept of “negawatts” – the idea promoted by the likes of the International Energy Agency that energy efficiency can play a critical role in decarbonising the world’s energy system, and to save money – as “activist jargon for subsidised energy conservation.” His preferred term was ‘megawatts’ – code for building more coal, gas and nuclear plants and burn as much fuel as possible.
Just in case you thought he might have evolved since being elected to state parliament in 2008, his views of wind and solar remain staunchly conservative, old school and just plain wrong. In a recent parliamentary debate, Nahan insisted wind energy required “one-for-one” backup by fossil fuel generators and did not reduce greenhouse gases, said solar cells were “hugely more costly” than polluting alternatives, and the only “low-cost, baseload, greenhouse-low energy” that existed was nuclear power.
He said Western Australia should consider nuclear power, but conceded they “do not fit the grid, because they are too big; they are too lumpy … our system is too peaky and nuclear would not fit. And then he goes on to suggest that the government should “consider nuclear power for the Pilbara,” which is an even smaller grid…………http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/are-renewables-doomed-to-failure-in-australia-47501
WA land owned increasingly by conservation and mining Science Network Western Australia, 29 April 2013 “The research focused on pastoral country from the edge of the Wheatbelt up to and including the Pilbara, which historically has been held under pastoral leases owned by families and used for grazing such as sheep and cattle stations”—Dr van Etten. Image: Stefan Jurgensen RESEARCHERS say an increasing amount of land in Western Australia is being managed for environmental conservation, however mining companies are the single largest lease holder of what was previously pastoral land. Read more »
the question of the real cost of uranium at Wiluna because if you add 10% for other charges the $37/lb becomes $40.70/lb and an extra 20% lifts the full cost to $44.40/lb.
Equity investors and the providers of debt finance to the Wiluna project will want to see something far more concrete than investment bank estimates before they provide the capital to develop Wiluna.
Dryblower on the obstacles awaiting Wiluna http://www.miningnews.net/StoryView.asp?StoryID=798350828, 8 April 2013 DIRECTORS and staff at Toro Energy had every reason to pop the corks on a few bottles of champagne last Tuesday when the Australian government provided environmental approval for its Wiluna uranium project in Western Australia, though Dryblower hopes it was just Jacob’s Creek and not Moet.
Keeping the good stuff on ice for a little longer is probably a good idea because even though one hurdle has been cleared Wiluna and Toro have a few more to clear before the serious celebrating can start. Read more »
WA GOVERNMENT TO MOVE LAST RESIDENTS FROM ASBESTOS TOWN ABC Radio National 3 April 2013 By:Catherine Van Extel The West Australian Government is looking to move a group of residents who continue to live in the deadly asbestos mining town of Wittenoom, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. But while there are moves to finally clean up the toxic site, many continue to face the legacy of their time spent growing up in or visiting the notorious town.
The 1990 Midnight Oil song ‘Blue Sky Mine’ was inspired by Wittenoom and its deadly mining industry. It’s estimated that more than 20,000 people lived at Wittenoom before the mine closed in 1966.
Asbestos-related diseases have killed more than 2000 former workers and family members of Wittenoom, a death toll that continues to rise.
In 2007, the state government withdrew Wittenoom’s town status—disconnecting services like water and electricity—but a small group of residents stayed. Now the government wants them out in order to remediate the contaminated site. Read more »
Women call shots at U-miner Nick Butterly Canberra, The West Australian April 3, 2013,
Dr Guthrie is managing director of Toro and Dr Smyth is its non-executive chairman.
Dr Guthrie acknowledged it was unusual for a miner to have both a female chief executive and a chairman…..
Dr Smyth said the fact a mining company headed by two women was succeeding showed how the resources industry was changing and stereotypes were being broken down. http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/16515070/women-call-shots-at-u-miner/
Christina’s comment – “Oh yeah! - more like the stereotype of giving the impossible jobs to women!”
Burke’s blunder on Wiluna uranium scheme 2 April 2013. The Australian Greens strongly condemned today’s decision of Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to allow the mining of uranium in Wiluna, Western Australia.
The Greens nuclear policy spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, (left) said the approval showed Labor could not be trusted to protect the environment or public health.
“Today marks the beginning of the campaign to stop Toro, and the Greens will remain a strong voice to prevent the expansion of uranium mining around Australia. With the government’s abandonment of environmental protection, the Greens will target the investment community to ensure that investors continue to shun this unwanted industry.
“While the Minister has placed 36 conditions on the approval, there is simply no safe way to mine uranium on a lake bed that floods. This is a rookie company with no operating mines. The WA Government got it badly wrong and the Federal Government just blew its chance to fix this mess.
“Under new mine closure guidelines, Toro has to find 100% of the mine closure cost, around $150 million, before it has raised the $300 million to open it. With uranium prices plummeting by more than two thirds since its peak in 2007, it is highly unlikely that Toro can open, maintain and close a mine abiding by the necessary conditions and environmental standards.
“150 nuclear power plants are scheduled for closure without replacement in Europe alone. Toro’s business case is based on wildly unrealistic assumptions, including the projection that the US dollar will suddenly strengthen against the Australian dollar. Tony Burke is placing our environment and public health at huge risk for precious little prospective reward.
“Australian uranium was in the four reactors of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. After more than two years, large areas of Japan are toxic and 160,000 people remain evacuated from their homes. It is time Australians got out of this industry.”
WA Should Leave Its Uranium In The GroundNew Matilda By Dave Sweeney, 6 March 13, “…….Toro Energy — a small and unproven uranium company — is seeking to open WA’s first uranium mine near Wiluna in the East Murchison region, around 600 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie. Toro has no proven corporate mining experience, and their costly and controversial project and is facing strong community, political and civil society opposition.
Toro Energy’s major shareholder, OZ Minerals, has described Toro as “a tiny company” and a “non-core asset” and Toro is facing severe financial constraints. The proposed Wiluna uranium mine is on the Lake Way arid zone lake system which includes mulga and acacia shrub land and sand dunes and spinifex plains. It is also home to a number of unique and endemic groundwater dependent plants and animals.
Despite attracting over 2000 formal public objections, state government support has seen the mine fast tracked through the state environmental approval process.
Even so, Toro’s hopes to have the project approved ahead of the state election have now stalled. Federal environment Minister Tony Burke has extended his decision-making time and requested further information on how the mine would impact on precious regional water resources and manage its radioactive mine wastes.
Given the clear policy difference between the two major political parties on whether the uranium trade has any place in the West, this lack of full and final state and federal approval means the Toro project is even more vulnerable and uncertain…… Read more »
Robin commented on the processes around Lake Disappointment in his AHA review document, Robin also visited Lake Disappointment via the canning stock route with Glen Cooke, Curtis Taylor and the Martu rangers. Robin also visited the Yantakutji waterhole – where Cameco propose to take water for Kintyre and asked personally 69 sets of questions in the Legislative Council of parliament on how the government was failing to protect Aboriginal Heritage during 2009-2012 Looking after country is important for many Aboriginal people in our Mining and Pastoral electorate. I am running to support Robin in this election campaign, and if enough people *Vote 1 for Robin Chapple* I might also get enough votes to be elected along with him. Robin must be doing something right because he’s been preferenced last by all the major political parties on the How to Vote card. We both need everyone in our electorate to Vote 1 for the Greens, Robin Chapple and Kado Muir.
Active Radio – not Radioactive http://nuclearfree.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/active-radio-not-radioactive/ Aboriginal and comunity representatives have today launched a state wide radio campaign highlighting the risks posed by uranium mining in WA. www.votenuclearfreewa.org
The campaign features a series of advertisements to be played on radio stations from the Kimberley to Kalgoorlie ahead of the March 9 state election that describe planned uranium mining as ‘today’s asbestos’ and condemn the use of Royalty for Regions subsidies to private uranium projects. The ads have been produced by the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, a network of Aboriginal, environment and public health representatives and organisations concerned about the long lasting and negative impacts of uranium mining on communities and country.
The ads are set to run on commercial, community and Indigenous radio stations across the Kimberley’s, Goldfield’s and the Pilbara.
“WA has an abundance of clean energy resources and resourceful people, our future is renewable not radioactive,” said WANFA spokesperson Mia Pepper.
“The Liberal and National Party’s plans for uranium mining have been flying under the radar so we have decided to put the issue on the airwaves.” Read more »
Creating a sustainable energy future for Western Australia http://www.infolink.com.au/c/Sustainable-Energy-Association-of-Australia/Creating-a-sustainable-energy-future-for-Western-Australia-n2501656 1 March 2013, The Sustainable Energy Association of Australia promotes the development and adoption of renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies and services.
SEA released its policy position recently, ahead of the Western Australian State Election on 09 March 2013.
The policy document ‘Creating a sustainable energy future for Western Australia’ draws on the substantive views of SEA members who were surveyed on what they would like to see from the next State Government.
Five key recommendations: Read more »
Renewable energy could have a major impact on Western Australia http://www.hydrogenfuelnews.com/renewable-energy-could-have-a-major-impact-on-western-australia/859050/ BYALICIA MOORE
– FEBRUARY 21, 2013
State could reach 100% energy sustainability through solar and windWestern Australia is one of the largest energy consumers in the world. The state relies heavily on fossil-fuels, such as coal, but has been working to adopt renewable energy in recent years. According to the Greens, the state can meet its energy needs in a variety of ways that do not involve the use of fossil-fuels. The document released by the Greens highlights solar thermal and storage technologies as an adequate way for the South West Interconnected System. Western Australia’s expansive energy utility, to break away from fossil-fuels. Another option is to use photovoltaic solar energy systems and wind energy.
Costs of renewable energy considered viableThe cost for solar and wind energy has dropped significantly over the past two years. The Greens suggest that no major advances in technology are required for Western Australia to reap the economic benefits of adopting renewable energy. According to the political party, renewable energy in the region can range from $208 to $221 per megawatt-hour. This estimation represents a $60 billion upfront cost for the state to expand its use of solar and wind energy. The cost may be high, but the Greens suggest that it is significantly lower than the costs associated with a continued focus on fossil-fuels.
Politics likely to dictate future of renewable powerAs Australia’s smallest political party, the Greens have limited influence over the adoption of renewable energy throughout the country. This is particularly problematic because renewable energy is often made into a political issue rather than one of sustainability or economics. The Greens study of renewable energy and its potential to help Western Australia reach 100% energy sustainability has, nonetheless, generated a fair amount of hype in the political space.
Billionaire Miner Fights Rivals to Halt Digs on His Ranch. Business Week. By Elisabeth Behrmann and Joe Schneider on February 17, 2013 Andrew Forrest, Australia’s richest man who made his fortune digging up iron ore, is fighting bids to exploit the mineral wealth under his own half-a-million acre family ranch in the nation’s remote northwest outback.
Forrest, 51, founder and executive chairman of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd., the biggest seller of high-yield debt in the mining industry, sued to block attempts to search for uranium on his Minderoo ranch and last month failed in a bid to halt sand mining on the property….
“In Australia, by law, you only own the top meter, everything underneath, that is owned by the people of Australia,” Peter Strachan, a resources analyst at Perth-based StockAnalysis, said in a phone interview. “If someone puts in a request to explore on your land, you have to deal with that and make sure you’re compensated for access.”…..
Forrest is also fighting on a second legal front. Cauldron Energy Ltd., chaired by another mining entrepreneur, Tony Sage, applied for exploration licenses over some of Minderoo on April 4 for its Yanrey uranium project. Forrest & Forrest filed objections on May 8. A hearing date hasn’t been set yet………http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-17/billionaire-miner-fights-rivals-to-halt-digs-on-his-ranch
WA Greens Launch Energy 2029 http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3592, 14 Feb 13, Western Australia’s Greens say its Energy 2029 study offers credible scenarios for meeting the state’s south-west grid electricity demand through clean technologies and energy efficiency strategies that already exist.
The solar based scenario focuses on large-scale solar thermal facilities that provide the majority of dispatchable electricity, with balance of demand supplied by large-scale wind farms, solar PV and a smaller number of biomass, wave and geothermal generators.
In the event of a number of cloudy days and calm conditions, backup electricity would be provided by biomass ‘co-firing’ at the solar plants, pumped hydro storage and a small number of mid-tier biomass plants.
The Greens say the overall cost of a planned transition to renewable energy is similar to the cost of continuing with a ‘business as usual’ approach as while the initial costs are higher for renewables, they become more competitive over time as future fuel costs are non-existent, except for the biomass backup.
“The debacle of the refurbishment of the obsolete Muja coal-fired power station demonstrates the underlying cost of business as usual, with Western Australians asked to spend a quarter of a billion dollars to upgrade a highly polluting coal fired power station,” states the study summary.
“… the only barrier to a massive increase in clean energy here in Western Australia, is political inertia.”
The Energy 2029 initiative has been led by Senator Scott Ludlam.
“This study is a project that we should not have had to undertake,” he states in the executive summary. “Perhaps people who come across this document deeper into the age of climate change will shake their heads at the degree to which we have to contend with the monetary costs of the transition.”
With regard to nuclear options, “There is no place in this study for the obsolete failures of the nuclear industry.”
The full Energy 2029 report can be viewed here (PDF).