Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Uranium exploration a concern for New South Wales graziers

Graziers on alert as uranium exploration looms ABC News, By Jacqueline Breen 19 Oct 14 Graziers are watching closely as the state government prepares to grant uranium exploration licenses in the state’s far west.

Last month the government overturned the ban on uranium exploration and invited six companies to apply to explore for deposits near Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.

The state’s Resources and Energy Division has since held a stakeholder meeting in Broken Hill, attended by the local council, New South Wales Farmers and the West Darling Pastoralists’ Association.

Association president Chris Wilhelm says landholders will be the first affected when exploration begins and he wants their rights protected……( Map below shows areas in New South Wales where uranium deposts exist, could be explored for))

map-NSW-uranium-exploration

The ban on uranium mining in New South Wales remains in place. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-20/graziers-watch-closely-as-uranium-exploration-looms/5825950

 

October 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

A backward move for Australia’s environment: Federal govt abandons regulation to South Australia’s control

highly-recommendedSouth Australia’s Assessment Bilateral Agreement with the Commonwealth is finalised

As part of its broadly criticised ‘One Stop Shop’ agenda the Federal Government has announced that its Assessment Bilateral Agreement with South Australia has been finalised and signed by both parties.  The Bilateral Agreement will come into force 30 days after execution, on or about 24 October.

The Agreement allows the Commonwealth to now rely on South Australian environmental impact assessment processes in assessing ‘matters of national environmental significance’ defined under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.  This change has been widely criticised.  There is significant doubt as to whether existing State regulations can actually be brought up to meet the standards required under the EPBC Act.  There is also concern about whether the cash-strapped states are likely to make effective champions of our environmental assets when at the same time they are under increasing pressure to jettison environmental safeguards in order to pump through development and replenish state coffers.

http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/environment-protection/environment-assessments/bilateral-agreements/sa

October 18, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Victorian communities at Dartmoor and Drumborg declare themselves ‘gas field free’.

Residents to declare Dartmoor and Drumborg in Victoria ‘gas field free’   http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/residents-to-declare-dartmoor-and-drumborg-in-victoria-gas-field-free/story-fnkfnspy-1227093367623  CIMARA DOUTRÉ WEEKLY TIMES NOW OCTOBER 17, 2014  

TWO Western Victorian communities will today declare themselves ‘gas field free’.

A number of minor and micro party politicians will attend the events at Dartmoor and Drumborg.

It takes the number of Victorian communities to have declared themselves as gas field free to 31.

Dartmoor farmer Michael Greenham said the response to invitations was heartening.

“Unfortunately several of the major party representatives for Lowan, South Coast and Western Victoria are not able to attend, but some minor party and independent candidates will be there,” Mr Greenham said.

“In talking with them, everyone is on the same side of the see-saw on this issue of shale gas fracking — it’s just a matter of how far along the seat they sit.

“Our communities just want to make sure prospective parliamentarians keep moving down our ‘total ban’ end, to ensuring there is no budging when the heavyweights of the unconventional gas mining companies start jumping up and down on the other end. “

The Victorian Government has a moratorium on all onshore gas exploration and fracking in place until July next year.

This week, Energy Minister Russell Northe unveiled a new website to allow landholders to search for mining licenses that cover their property.

October 18, 2014 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

A vision for a modern outback in Australia

Another imagined future is to treat the Outback as a land ripe for unfettered development. It would divide the landscape into exploited and conserved (or neglected) sectors, and would seek to transform the areas by creating an economy highly reliant on intensive agriculture and mining.

It would seek to overcome logistical and environmental constraints of such industrialisation through government subsidies. This may create brief economic growth in a few districts. However, in the long term this approach would cause irredeemable loss to those values that make the Outback so distinctive and important.

Env-AustThere is a different future that instead recognises the extra­ordinary existing inherent value in the Outback, and supports development that adapts to and works within the environmental and other constraints of remote and dry lands

A Modern Outback — nature, people and the future of remote Australia BARRY TRAILL THE AUSTRALIAN OCTOBER 11, 2014 “……  The Outback stands out as one of the great natural places globally, a place where nature remains in abundance; a landscape where the bush still stands, where the rivers still flow and where wildlife still moves as it always has to find food and shelter in a tough ­environment……..

There are especially magical, mysterious, spectacular places in the Outback — Kakadu, Uluru, the Kimberley — icons that draw visitors from the nation and ­beyond.

But these are parts of a whole, places embedded within a vast natural landscape, and dependent on the greater landscape for their ecological health. It’s essential that we think about the Outback as an entire and modern whole because its varied landscapes now face similar problems…….

The Outback is at a crossroads economically and environmentally. Social and economic development is highly dependent on maintaining the natural health of the Outback. The condition of many landscapes and wildlife species in the Outback is dependent on active human management.

It is possible, and Australia now faces the challenge and the opportunity, to create a modern Outback that depends on nature, which in turn supports people, jobs and regional economies…….. Continue reading

October 11, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Queensland government quite prepared to export uranium through Great Barrier Reef

beautiful-underwater-world-Darwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural  By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14  “……….Mr Sweeney also says he’s not convinced by the Queensland Government’s assertions that Queensland ports won’t export uranium in the near future, negating the need for transfer to Darwin or Adelaide. “The Queensland Government has had a number of direct opportunities to rule [exporting from Queensland] out and it hasn’t,” he said.

“They’ve kept the door open for future uranium exports from a Queensland Port, and particularly from the Port of Townsville.”

“We’ve seen in both the Federal Government’s energy white paper, and in clear statements by the Australian Uranium Association, an industry body, a desire to develop an east coast port for uranium exports,” he said.

Mr Sweeney suspects Townsville is the most likely city to become a future Queensland-based export hub for uranium, despite Mr Cripps’ saying it is unlikely. “The Ben Lomond [uranium] project is 50 kilometres up the road from Townsville, now you join those dots and you get a picture of ships through the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

Canadian miner Mega Uranium, although interested in the Ben Lomond site, it is yet to announce plans to re-open it.

However, a French-owned mining company is spending millions of dollars on uranium exploration near remote towns in north-west Queensland, in a race to be the state’s first uranium miner since the ban 32 years ago.

AREVA Resources has drilled more than 90 holes since late 2012, and managing director Joe Potter says the company plans to continue searching.

“The change in policy and the certainty around the ability to mine uranium in Queensland has given us the confidence to press on with our exploration and see if we can become the first uranium miner,” he said.

The company plans to continue searching around Cloncurry, west of Mt Isa, later this year……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/queensland-looks-to-adelaide-anddarwin-to-export-uranium/5666458

August 14, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Kintyre uranium project will poison groundwater

water-radiationProposed WA uranium mine will poison groundwater opponents say http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/08/12/proposed-wa-uranium-mine-will-poison-groundwater-opponents-say Environmental groups say they fear a proposed WA uranium mine will poison groundwater and affect food supplies. By Ryan Emery 12 AUG 2014   LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ARE CLAIMING THAT A PROPOSED URANIUM MINE WILL POISON GROUNDWATER AND AFFECT FOOD SOURCES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S EASTERN PILBARA REGION.

The Kintyre project, 260km northeast of Newman, will be WA’s second most advanced uranium mine if it gets final environmental approval from the state’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob.

Uranium mining had been banned in the state until the then Liberal-National government was elected in 2008.
The state’s Environmental Protection Authority has recommended that the project, backed by Canadian uranium miner Cameco, be given conditional environmental approval.

However, opponents of the mine say the assessment was flawed.Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of Western Australia says a hydrology report failed to consider the traditional owners’ knowledge of rainfall patterns and water flow at the proposed site.

She says they claim water flows from the site into the nearby Karlamilyi National Park, not into the Great Sandy Desert.

“The difference between those two scenarios are really significant when you’re talking about a uranium mine and the pathways for radioactive mine waste to leak into that groundwater and just how far that contamination could spread and what areas it could impact on,” she said.

“And we’re talking about a national park, and we’re talking about communities so the impacts are really significant.”

Concerns have also beeing raised over radioactive waste management, and the impactof the mine on rare and threatened species.

The mine’s proponent Cameco has previously said it is confident it can mine in the area “in a way which maintains the ecological functions and environmental values in the area.”

A decision on ministerial environmental approval is expected in the coming months.

August 14, 2014 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | 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……..http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/cripps-claims-preference-to-export-uranium-from-sa

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. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/01/-sp-great-barrier-reef-and-coal-mine-could-kill-it

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

Questionable EPA approval for Cameco’s proposed Kyntyre uranium mine

questionIncreased scrutiny needed as EPA radioactive rubber stamp fails the nuclear test National and state environment groups have called for a dedicated public inquiry into plans for increased uranium mining in WA following an EPA recommendation to conditionally approve the proposed Kintyre mine next to Kalamilyi National Park in the Pilbara.

“The proposal to mine uranium five hundred metres from a creek system that is part of a network of significant waterways in a national park is reckless and should not be approved,” said CCWA campaigner Mia Pepper.

“This polluting plan would put great pressure on one of WA’s special places – our largest national park – and would impact on scarce water resources and a number of significant and vulnerable species including the bilby, marsupial mole and rock wallaby.

The approval recommendation follows recent disturbing allegations that former mine owner Rio Tinto made secret payments of around $21 million to silence Aboriginal concerns and opposition while it negotiated the project’s sale to current owner Cameco.

“Uranium mining is a high risk, low return activity where the proven risks far outweigh any promised rewards,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Uranium is currently trading at US$28/lb. Cameco has stated it will not mine unless the uranium prices reaches upwards of US$75/lb. The EPA is recommending a green light for yellowcake when the company has stated the finances and the plan don’t stack up.

“Uranium mining poses unique risks and long term human and environmental hazards.  It demands the highest level of scrutiny and assessment – instead we have a lower order EPA report based on the hope of ‘satisfactory implementation by the proponent of the recommended conditions’. This inadequate approach is out of step with community expectations and fails to reflect the uranium sectors proven history of leaks and failure.”

“In the shadow of Fukushima, a continuing nuclear crisis directly fuelled by Australian uranium, Bill Marmion and Colin Barnett should put this controversial and contaminating sector before the people and under the spotlight via a public inquiry.”

For comment contact: Dave Sweeney 0408 317 812 or Mia Pepper 0415 380 808

July 28, 2014 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

South Australia’s contaminated groundwater – thousands of sites

polluted-waterToxic sites in Adelaide’s suburbs number in their thousands BRAD CROUCH THE ADVERTISER JULY 22, 2014  THE Opposition has demanded a statewide audit of contaminated sites, as it emerges the dangers of trichloroethene entering groundwater was suspected as far back as the 1940s.

The call for an audit comes after Environmental Protection Authority chief executive Tony Circelli confirmed that “thousands” of sites were contaminated with various chemicals and the EPA received about 100 new notifications each year.

The State Government and Environment Minister Ian Hunter are under increasing pressure over the contamination scandal in Clovelly Park , where dozens of people have been forced to leave their homes because of health risks from the vapours of trichloroethene (TCE) rising up through the soil from industrially poisoned groundwater.

Mr Circelli, was responding to a claim by UniSA Professor Ravi Naidu, the managing director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation, that there are about 4000 contaminated sites in SA.

Mr Circelli said that claim was incorrect, but conceded the number “is in the thousands”.

Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said an audit was needed to clarify the exact number of contaminated sites and their locations. “The purpose of conducting a statewide audit would be to establish a hierarchy of sites based on potential public health risks,” he said.

“As well as playing an important community awareness role, the audit could also provide a benchmark for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of contaminated sites for the EPA and assist with any future contamination investigations………http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/toxic-sites-in-adelaides-suburbs-number-in-their-thousands/story-fni6uo1m-1226998071395?nk=38b4e03626cff750bb726e65c1a3e9f4

July 23, 2014 Posted by | environment, South Australia, water | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Australian land management a failure, compared to traditional Aboriginal methods

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Modern mismanagement of the Australian landscape? http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-14/mis-managing-a-huge-land-mass3f/5593848 NSW Country Hour   By Sally Bryant Bill Gammage says modern Australians are missing the point in how we look after our natural heritage, ignoring lessons from one of the most successful and sustainable management regimes in history.

book-biggest-EstateHis view of traditional Aboriginal land management is at odds with the theory held by European settlers; that the traditional owners were hunter gatherers, opportunistic and simplistic in their approach to the land and native flora and fauna.

As an historian, Professor Gammage has studied written and visual records, from the history of the Australian landscape and he says it’s clear to him that Aboriginal people had developed a complex and sophisticated suite of tools, to keep their country healthy and productive.

He says he first became interested in the issue while working on a rural property in the New South Wales Riverina, and from writing a history of the town of Narrandera.

“It became clear that what was now trees had been grassland when Europeans arrived, the riverbanks for example are described as being grassy and a pastoral paradise,…………

Professor Gammage says it’s not surprising that European settlers disregarded Aboriginal people when it came to land management; he says it is typical of the European consciousness and disregard of indigenous knowledge.

“It’s pretty typical of how Europeans treated Aboriginal people.”

And what outcome would Professor Gammage like to see, if any, from discussion of his theories? “I’d like to see us using fire to manage the landscape, to control regrowth so we’re not as exposed to the really big bushfires. “But it has to be done in conjunction with species protection.

“This is something that Aboriginal people are really good at, managing species survival; and this is when they’re managing animals and plants they are using as a food sources.” He concedes that fire might not be an ideal tool to manage large tracts of farmland, and heavily populated areas, but says there are vast tracts of Australia under natural bushland which need to be better managed.

July 16, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Aboriginal land rights and economic prosperity

Env-AustRICH SOIL: CAN INDIGENOUS LAND RIGHTS AND AUSTRALIA’S ECONOMIC INTERESTS COEXIST? RIGHT NOW, By Christine Todd 14 July 14  The Indigenous population in Australia has a long and proud history of careful land management. In the many centuries preceding British colonial settlement, Aboriginal people maximised productivity of the land, using their knowledge of navigation, the tides and the cyclical nature of the seasons to regulate their travel and food supply. They worked in tandem with the land; where the land didn’t suit their needs, they managed burns to clear undergrowth and fuel, with new growth luring grazing animals to hunt. Ecological management shaped the land and ensured continuity and balance.

With colonial settlement came European ideas of what it meant to manage the land. European agriculturalists worked the land to the extent they needed within their boundary fences. Lost was the management of the land as a cohesive, sustainable whole, replaced by a fragmented, needs-based exploitation of the land to achieve economic ends.

Dispossessed from the land they knew so intimately, entire Indigenous communities were often placed on reserves that remained under the control of the Crown. Even here, the right to merely exist on reserve land was not secure, if the government of the day chose to revoke use of the reserves.

Economic development in Australia and the management of traditional Indigenous land has been viewed as mutually exclusive, if not directly conflicting.

In 1963 the Commonwealth government chose to do just that, granting mining company Nabalco a long-term mining lease on Yirrkala Aboriginal Reserve in Arnhem Land. Home to the Yolgnu people, the decision provoked anxiety in the local community. A now-famous bark petition was organised by the Yolgnu to illustrate that the excised land was sacred to them, and vital to their present-day livelihood.

Despite a strong community response, the government ignored their claims to the land, instituting the Mining (Gove Peninsula Nabalco Agreement) Ordinance 1968 (NT), which revoked part of Yirrkala Aboriginal Reserve to enable the development of a mine by Nabalco. Those impacted by the government’s decision challenged the legislation in the Supreme Court in the now famous “Gove land rights case”, however lost on account of a lack of recognition for communal native title within Australian law.

Historically, the economic needs of the Australian government, particularly in the granting of mining projects and the management of vast mineral resources, has conflicted sharply with the acknowledgement of Indigenous land ownership. Small progress has been made over the past three decades as governments initiate land rights legislation and slowly navigate native title to return land to the Indigenous population.

But the mere acquisition of land is only the first step in a process of comprehensive reunification with the land for Indigenous communities. For years, economic development in Australia and the management of traditional Indigenous land has been viewed as mutually exclusive, if not directly conflicting. On the contrary, mutually beneficial enterprise and economic development of Indigenous land must occur in regions that can sustain it, not for the Indigenous population, but by the Indigenous population.

Statutory authorities, such as the Indigenous Land Council (ILC), are already assisting in achieving this goal. Central to their work is the belief that Indigenous land management can lead to the provision of training and employment outcomes for Indigenous people, resulting in a sustainable cycle of Indigenous-driven economic development.

A 2010 Northern Australia Land and Water Taskforce report strengthened this resolve……….

Other bodies, such as the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce, also aim to link the interests of Indigenous business with the economic prosperity of Australia, by facilitating Indigenous self-reliance and business management. Again, the sentiment here is that ownership of traditional Indigenous land and the economic prosperity of Australia ought not to be viewed as mutually exclusive. They can potentially operate hand in hand, with Indigenous knowledge of the land integrating into the Australian corporate landscape through the development of uniquely Indigenous business initiatives.

Case studies of this approach are plentiful. …….

This approach to creating Indigenous business enterprise, in partnership with building the business capacity of the community, is innovative in its ability to marry social and economic use of the land. Protection of culturally important regions can be achieved alongside an acknowledgement of Indigenous land as a unique environmental resource that the communities themselves can manage. To provide long-term benefits to Indigenous communities, a sustainable Indigenous economic foundation must be laid on Indigenous-held land. Here, opportunity, enterprise, and cultural pride may strengthen a connection to the land that many had considered lost.

Christine Todd is a staff writer for Right Now. http://rightnow.org.au/writing-cat/article/rich-soil-can-indigenous-land-rights-and-australias-economic-interests-coexist/

July 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

The real cost to Queensland of uranium mining may be very high

Queensland lifts its uranium ban, but is the price worth the cost? The Conversation Maxine Newlands Lecturer in Journalism, Researcher in Environmental Politics at James Cook University Liz Tynan Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator Research Student Academic Support at James Cook University 1 July 14, 

As of today, Queensland has lifted a 32-year ban on uranium mining. That decision was taken within months of the 2012 state election, despite Premier Campbell Newman’s pre-election promise not to restart mining the radioactive mineral.

 

Miners are being invited to apply to restart the industry under the Queensland’s government’s uranium action plan, which will mean Canadian company Mega Uranium can reopen the Ben Lomond and other mines in north Queensland.

Queensland’s resumption of uranium mining comes only days after Australia’s newest uranium mine, Four Mile in South Australia, officially opened on 25 June.

fearYet the price of uranium has fallen from a high in 2007 of US$70 a pound to $US28, due to factors including oversupplyand what the Wall Street Journal has described as a “post-Fukushima funk”.

Given the prices are so low that The Australian has reportedthat Four Mile is already losing money, while the Beverley mine has been mothballed since January, why are Australian states looking to open more mines?………….

Battles ahead over Queensland exports

The highest concentration of Queensland’s uranium mines sit in the northern tropics, an area prone to Category 5 cyclones.

A 2013 Swiss study found uranium was far more mobile than originally thought. Uranium once extracted, becomes soluble in water, increasing the chances of contamination or radioactive dust carried in high winds and heavy rainfall.

If Ben Lomond is reopened, the quickest way to export its uranium would be through the city of Townsville, home to 190,000 people, which is only 50km from the mine.

The Port of Townsville has said it has the capability to “facilitate the transportation and export of yellowcake”. The Queensland’s government’s uranium action plan recommends that:

Queensland’s efforts should be [put] on facilitating the use of existing ports and shipping lanes by industry for the export of uranium.

However, the Port of Townsville sits within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and close to sensitive environments including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, dugong protected areas, seagrass beds, fringing coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Last year, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt told the ABC that:

I think shipping of any toxic cargo would be of concern. But really we would have to see a proposal and we would have to consider that.

So this is set to be a contentious issue: while economic development of the north has bipartisan support at a federal, state and local government level, a number of locals and environmental groups have said they will challenge any plans to reopen uranium mines and exports from Queensland.

The big question for Queensland residents to consider now is whether the return of uranium mining to the state will be worth the wait for the uranium price to recover, given the risks attached to transporting the mineral through populated and environmentally-sensitive areas.http://theconversation.com/queensland-lifts-its-uranium-ban-but-is-the-price-worth-the-cost-28105

July 2, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Australia needs to learn from traditional Aboriginal knowledge about fire

bushfireLiving sustainably with fire, Aboriginal Knowing 26 May 14, 
Where to burn, where to grow”………..I would suggest that the planning of Adelaide, surrounded by parklands with open spaces is based on this Aboriginal model of clearing land to create clear space around where you live. Australians need to think in this manner to protect ourselves from intense and destructive bushfires. We need to clear the trees around where we live, and we need to grow trees and plants in the right places.

Decisions of when and where to burn are informed by many environmental and social considerations, and vary with country. Our sophisticated patterns of land burning, the knowledge of what and where to burn is encoded within traditional knowledge. Such rules tell of wind directions, cloud formations, smoke patterns, soil condition, the position and movement of constellations and planets, the type of plants and stage of growth, the presence or absence of particular plant and animal species and so on.

Fire and water are interconnected. Water is a fuel for fire and fire fuels the rain. After a large fire, it usually rains.

Burning and planting in the right place can increase rainfall. (excellent references)  http://aboriginalknowing.com/2014/05/22/living-sustainably-with-fire/

May 27, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

The beautiful giant cuttlefish is back – thank goodness no desalination plant at Spencer Gulf

Here is some good news.   Note that if BHP Billiton’s plans had gone ahead – for the world’s biggest man made hole at Olympic Dam – well, this news might not have been possible.  BHP’s grandiose plan involving building a desalination plant at Mount Lowly. That would have altered the delicate balance of salinity and fresh water in upper Spencer Gulf  – a balance that is essential for the embryo cuttlefish to survive.

Australia would have lost a unique and beautiful  animal – one as special as the koala, kangaroo, platypus –  –  a gain for the uranium industry, a loss for the tourist industry, and for Australia’s ecology.

cuttlefish,-giant

Giant Australian cuttlefish swarm back to SA Spencer Gulf breeding site ABC News, 21 May 14, Hundreds of giant Australian cuttlefish have swum into breeding grounds at the top of Spencer Gulf in South Australia, reversing a worrying decline of recent years.

The population had been dwindling and local diver Tony Bramley says he had not been expecting to see any this season, based on that trend.

He says it has been warmer-than-usual weather for the start of the breeding season and more cuttlefish might arrive as temperatures drop.

Mr Bramley says he does not know where the cuttlefish have travelled from as there has been no sign of many gathering offshore in recent weeks…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-20/cuttlefish-swarm-back-to-sa-breeding-site/5463854

May 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, South Australia | Leave a comment

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