Radioactive gas levels at Wimmera mining site near Horsham too high says Landcare group, ABC News, 30 June 15
A Wimmera Landcare group in south-western Victoria says monitoring it has done shows levels of radioactive gas at a mine near Horsham far exceed the maximum for public exposure.
The Kanagulk Landcare Group placed four radon gas monitors at properties surrounding Iluka Resources’ mining operations at Douglas over a three-month period.
It said analysis of the monitors’ data by Australia’s nuclear industry regulator, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, reveals levels of the gas were four times the limit.
The group’s Albert Miller said the State Government needed to step in…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-29/fears-aired-over-radioactive-gas-levels-at-wimmera/6579670
Environmental Defenders Office NT to stay open; other jurisdictions enter ‘caretaker’ mode following funding cuts 105.7 ABC Darwin By Emilia Terzon The Northern Territory wing of the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) will stay open another year despite Federal Government funding cuts, after holding an Indigenous art auction and receiving an emergency grant.
The news comes as EDOs in other jurisdictions enter caretaker mode, following the loss of $10 million in funding for the nationwide network of environment-focused legal centres.
EDO NT lost $450,000 in funding following a 2013 announcement that EDOs across the country would be completely defunded by July 1, 2015.
Offices in northern Queensland and South Australia are now entering caretaker mode, while the Western Australia office also had its State Government funding entirely withdrawn last month. Continue reading
ERA cans Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu by: BARRY FITZGERALD , Resources Editor The Australian June 12, 2015 The crash in uranium prices in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan has claimed the controversial Ranger mine inside the world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory as its latest victim.
Operated by the Rio Tinto-controlled Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), Ranger’s long-term future was to be secured by the development of an underground uranium resource known as Ranger 3 Deeps.
But ERA has canned the development, citing the “current operating environment”. The decision leaves ERA to process stockpiles from the previous open-cut operation which was dogged in recent years by water handling issues and process plant spills.
Shares in ERA plummeted after the announcement. At 2:10pm the shares were down 61c, or 47 per cent, to 69c each in trading on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio (RIO) owns 62 per cent of the ASX-listed ERA and said last night that it would likely take a $US300 million impairment charge on the investment — an acknowledgment that in the current environment, its investment is near worthless.
Rio could also be compelled to step in to ensure that in the event that Ranger’s life is not extended beyond the current treatment of stockpiles, ERA will be able to meet its rehabilitation costs of more than $600m…….
Despite seeming to baulk at having to help ERA at its annual meeting in April, Rio said last night that it recognised the “importance of ongoing rehabilitation work at the Ranger mine site”.
It said it was “engaged with ERA on a conditional credit facility to assist ERA to fund its rehabilitation program, should additional funding be required beyond ERA’s existing cash reserves and the future earnings from processing ore stockpiles”…. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/era-cans-ranger-uranium-mine-in-kakadu/story-e6frg9df-1227394169459
WWF welcomes cancellation of Kakadu uranium mine http://www.theadvocate.org.au/wwf-welcomes-cancellation-of-kakadu-uranium-mine/
WWF has welcomed the cancellation of a planned controversial underground uranium mine in Kakadu National Park.
Energy Resources of Australia, whose parent company is Rio Tinto, cancelled the Ranger 3 Deeps project in a statement to the Stock Exchange last night.
The proposed mine was in an area that had previously been excised from the Kakadu National Park and World Heritage Area.
WWF said the move was not only a victory for Australia’s environment, but also important for further economic empowerment of Indigenous communities.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman backed calls by the Mirarr Traditional Owners to ensuring the permanent protection of the natural and cultural values for which Kakadu is inscribed World Heritage.
“Kakadu is one of Australia’s environmental treasures and this development presents an ideal opportunity for the area to be rehabilitated and incorporated into the Kakadu World Heritage Area,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman.
“Now that the mine will not go ahead, WWF looks forward to ERA and Rio Tinto accelerating the rehabilitation program, ensuring that it results in the full reinstatement of the internationally recognised outstanding natural and cultural values of this important site.
“With a World Heritage Committee meeting now less than a month away, the eyes of the world will be watching how the Australian Government and Rio Tinto manage the rehabilitation of Ranger.”
The indigenous people who used to wander these lands called the radioactive plume the “puyu,” or black mist, and still are reluctant to visit despite having fought hard for the land to be returned.
“They deem it as a bad place, what they call ‘mamu,’ like a devil country,” says Mr. Matthews, whose wife is indigenous to the area…….
Maralinga, a deserted former military base in the Outback, has become ground zero for an unusual type of vacation Down Under. In a country best known for its white beaches and coral reefs, Mr. Matthews wants vacationers to wish they were here: on land once used for nuclear-weapons explosions.
Nearly 2,000 warning signs ring the red soil around Maralinga, displaying a Ghostbuster-style graphic prohibiting camping ……
The stark beauty of the hills here, on the edge of the vast Nullarbor Plain where the sun sinks in the same ocher color of the desert, belies its notorious past. Continue reading
Environmental standards face decline if all approval powers are handed to states, report finds, ABC News, By Jane Ryan, 21 May 15 Environmental standards would drop under a proposed state-based one-stop-shop environmental approval system, a new report has found.
The proposed legislation, which is before the Federal Senate, seeks to streamline environmental approval processes by giving power of approval to state governments and cutting out the Commonwealth.
But a report by the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) warns against relegating environmental approval powers to state governments, saying the environment will suffer.
EDO principal lawyer Jess Feehely said there were several areas where state legislation did not meet the standards set by Commonwealth protections……..
Ms Feehely said Tasmania would not meet international obligations on environment protection under the proposed legislation change.”There’s a real risk that matters of national environmental significance will receive less protection,” she said. “Matters of national significance include threatened species, so habitat for the Tasmanian devil, and it includes world heritage areas and endangered ecological communities.”
She said there were four main areas where the Tasmanian law fell short of the protection afforded under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. “They don’t apply the precautionary principle, they don’t take account of our international obligations, and they don’t make it easy for people to find access to information about development decisions,” she said.
The report also commended the strong rights for public participation currently provided in many Tasmanian laws.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-22/one-stop-shop-system-would-reduce-environmental-standards-report/6489168
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has granted conditional approval to Canadian uranium miner Cameco to develop the Kintyre mine in WA’s north.
But Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said the East Pilbara mine, adjacent to the Karlamilyi National Park, will harm the environment and people.
“On Anzac eve the government has backed the wrong diggers,” he said. “This mine plan does not enjoy broad support and the mining company has said it has no immediate plans to develop the project because of the low commodity price.
“The federal government had time to genuinely examine this plan. “Instead, it has chosen to fast-track an approval before a national holiday”.
Mia Pepper, from the Conservation Council of WA, said the mine, of which Cameco owns 70 per cent and Mitsubishi holds the remainder, also threatens water quality in the region.
“It is irresponsible for Minister Hunt to have given approval for this project at this time”, she said.
“A unique part of our country faces an unnecessary threat because of this approval.
“We will continue our work with the local Parnngurr community and many wider community members and organisations to stop a poor political decision becoming a polluting Pilbara mine”.
West Australian Environment Minister Albert Jacob granted conditional approval for the mine to go ahead last month. Environment Minister Greg Hunt was contacted for comment.
Federal approval granted for Cameco to develop Kintyre uranium mine in Pilbara, ABC News 24 Apr 15 By Tyne McConnon and Ebonnie Spriggs A proposed uranium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has been granted conditional Federal environmental approval.
One of the world’s largest uranium producers, Cameco Australia, wants to build the Kintyre open-cut uranium mine 270 kilometres north-east of the town of Newman.
The project received conditional approval from Western Australia’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob last month……..
In a statement, Cameco said the approval by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt included conditions covering radiation, ground and surface water, terrestrial fauna and mine closure……..
Environmentalists fear long-term impact of uranium waste
Environmentalists have previously condemned the proposal, citing concerns over the level of radiation monitoring required of the company throughout the Karlamilyi National Park, where the mine would be located.
Campaigner Mia Pepper said current regulations for safely managing uranium in Australia were deficient. “The thing with uranium is that it’s different to other minerals. It’s radioactive, and that radiation is very hard to manage in our environment that [has] very, very dry periods and very, very wet periods,” she said.
“That radiation is so mobile in our environment when we start mining it, you know, it becomes hugely dangerous, and I don’t know of anywhere where they can safely mine uranium.
“What’s left behind after mining is radioactive mine waste, and that stays in our environment forever, really, or for at least 10,000 years. “It’s a very long period of time, and it will be there long after this company has stopped existing and long after this Government has changed.”
Traditional owners, the Martu people, signed a land-use deal with Cameco in 2012.
The company said a development decision would be made when market conditions were favourable to new uranium production…http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-24/uranium-mine-kintyre-given-federal-approval-cameco-says/6418974
As Ranger approaches its end of mine life the stark question of which company bears responsibility for the costly, complex and technically challenging rehabilitation effort is increasingly being asked. ERA says it doesn’t have the funding capacity and Rio Tinto claim it hasn’t the legal responsibility.
Rio Tinto and ERA are playing a game of corporate convenience and the stakes are very high as the miners are required by law to bring the former mineral lease to a standard whereby it can be incorporated into the surrounding Kakadu National Park.
Rio Tinto and Energy Resources of Australia: Uranium Uncertainty and Radioactive Responsibility, Environment Centre NT 22 Apr 15 “The fate of Energy Resources Australia hangs in precarious balance with majority-owner Rio Tinto growing increasingly uncertain about the competitive economics and investment risk of a life-sustaining underground expansion” Financial Review, April 2015
Rio Tinto owns 68 per cent and is the parent company of Energy Resources of Australia, an Australian-listed uranium miner who’s only operating asset is the troubled Ranger mine in Kakadu – a 30-year-old mine with a long history of accidents, spills and security breaches.
Mining at Ranger’s open pit ceased over two years ago and production is currently sustained by processing stockpiles. All mining and mineral processing at the site must end in January 2021, to be followed by a mandated five year rehabilitation period.
But as the window on mining at Ranger closes there is growing concern that Rio Tinto may seek to avoid its near $700 million rehabilitation responsibilities and leave a lasting radioactive hole in the heart of Kakadu National Park.
RIO HOLDING THE REINS AT RANGER Continue reading
Lake Way flooding proves Wiluna unviable http://www.robinchapple.com/lake-way-flooding-proves-wiluna-unviable 27 Mar 15, (Good photos) After yesterday flying over Lake Way to see the extent of flooding in the area, WA Greens spokesperson on uranium Robin Chapple MLC has expressed deep concern about the future of proposed uranium mining on the lake bed.
Chapple says water could increase the risk at Toro, Kalgoorlie Miner, 26 Mar 15 Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple has expressed concerns about plans to mine uranium in Wiluna after the “flooding” of Lake Way.
His comments came this week after a flyover revealed what Mr Chapple termed flooding on the lake bed. Toro Energy plans to store radioactive tailings from the proposed Wiluna uranium mine — up to 100 million tonnes — in the mined-out Centipede and Millipede pits, which will also be on the lake bed and are now underwater. The company has cited flooding as a non-issue, claiming the lake to be a natural drainage point, according to Mr Chapple.
Mr Chapple said the extensive flooding at Lake Way raised serious concerns about Toro’s ability to manage water effectively while mining on a lake bed. “I do not believe this company has properly accounted, nor planned, for potential flooding to the extent we have seen this week at Lake Way,” he said
“Not only would floodwaters of this magnitude carry radioactive material to other parts of the ecosystem, but on drying out could potentially release large quantities of oxidised uranium … into the atmosphere.
Mia Pepper Nuclear Free Campaigner Conservation Council of Western AustraliaAbout the flooding of Lake Way – the proposed site for the “Wiluna uranium project” including three pits on Lake Way. We’ve raised the issue that Toro Energy want to store about 100 million tonnes of radioactive tailings in two mined out pits on the lake bed (Centipede and Millipede) – the Department of Mines and Petroleum haven’t yet approved or even seen a tailings management plan from the company. We are focused on making sure the tailings don’t end up in this lake!
Pilbara uranium mine: Minister dismisses concerns over environmental approval ABC News 6 Mar 15 Western Australia’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob has dismissed concerns about his conditional approval of a Pilbara uranium mine. One of the world’s largest uranium producers, Cameco, is proposing to build the Kintyre open-cut mine about 270 kilometres north-east of Newman.
Environmentalists have condemned the decision, citing concerns over the level of radiation monitoring required of the company throughout the Karlamilyi National Park, where the mine would be located……..
the WA Conservation Council’s Mia Pepper said the Government should ensure any animal which is consumed by traditional landowners, not just those that are endangered, also remain protected.”In that area there is a lot of hunting and the big concern is around the radiological uptake in bush foods, which could impact public health,” she said.
“Whether there’s a big risk or a small risk, the point is that there should be monitoring and there should be evidence that the company can provide to the community to say that there is no risk.”……..
Traditional owners, the Martu people, signed a land-use deal with Cameco in 2012.
Kintyre now requires federal environmental approval.
The Conservation Council said environmental groups have vowed to continue to fight the project and will take their concerns to Canberra.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-06/minister-dismisses-concerns-over-uranium-mine-approval/6286908
Australia Silently Stopped Testing of Food Imports http://fukushima-news-en.senmasa.com/post/112680359130/australia-silently-stopped-testing-of-food-imports [Mathaba News Network]Australia has ceased all testing of food imports from Japan, other Asian countries food also contaminated, ongoing leakages from Fukushima nuclear plant The north Pacific Ocean is already contaminated by large amounts of toxins and pollution from dumping .
Why Don’t Australia and Europe Test Food for Radiation Contamination from Fukushima and Chernobyl? Living Safe, Nicole Moir, 8 Nov 14, I am bringing this important issue to the forefront over and over again as I want, as do many others, for the Australian and European government to take steps to protect us from radiation in food and raw ingredients. I have spent the last few months researching into food and raw ingredients, especially certified organic products, grown and harvested from regions affected by radiation by the two huge and tragic accidents of both Chernobyl and Fukushima. Unbelievably it seems the official organic certification bodies in both Australia and Europe don’t test food and raw ingredients for radiation, but trustingly and surprisingly,
rely on the government bodies to advise them in this area and in Australia ARPANSA the government body doesn’t feel there is enough of a risk to warrant it! Radiation contamination takes hundreds of years to dissipate and not just a few years, as is the case with Fukushima and a couple decades as is the case with Chernobyl…..
The ACO pointed me in the direction of ARPANSA- Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, see my prior correspondence with them here.
a reply letter from the European Commission Unit F4.2. ………….was even more worrying, as they admit they don’t conduct regular testing, yet they admit that in the last few years they were notified of higher than acceptable levels of radiation is some wild foods grown in Italy and the Ukraine/Belarus. I knew this as I had seen articles in newspapers of radiation in certified organic blueberry jam made in Italy from imported ingredients and also high radiation in wild mushrooms imported into Switzerland.……….
Correspondence with ARPANSA and European Commission are included in this article