The fee will be 1 per cent of the upfront environmental bond that all miners must pay, as set by the Department of Mines’ Security Assessment Board.
The Government has said the bond would be 100 per cent of clean-up costs but there is no way for the public to tell as the amount is secret. The new levy comes into effect in October. Mines Minister Willem Westra van Holthe said the impost would raise $6.5 million in its first year………. “We’re simply asking mining companies to chip in to a program that will be used to remediate legacy environmental problems caused by the industry.”
The move comes after the NT News exposed environmental disasters that festered for decades at defunct mines including Rum Jungle, Redbank and Mt Todd.
Camping is banned at the recreational lake near abandoned uranium mine Rum Jungle, 100km south of Darwin, as radiation levels are too high for long-term use…… Environment Centre NT co-ordinator Stuart Blanch said he supported the levy, but it would not be enough to clean up the polluted mine sites which could cost up to a billion dollars….. http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2013/05/08/320647_ntnews.html
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 »
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 »
The price tag of the uranium deposits in Queensland, if all extracted and sold is about $10 billion. A pretty big chunk of cash, but worth only a paltry two years of tourism dollars that the Great Barrier Reef brings in.
To anyone who has looked in wonderment at the fish on a reef, this is not an “Australian issue”, this is an issue that speaks to how we want to leave the world to future generations. Our kids will remember visiting a reef teeming with tropical fish, turtles and fluorescent coral, but what will they remember if it isn’t there to be seen? They sure as heck won’t remember the quick buck made by uranium mining companies a few decades previous
Radioactive scuba diving a potential new Aussie destination sport http://www.vancouverobserver.com/city/outdoors/radioactive-scuba-diving-potential-new-aussie-destination-sport Kevin Grandia Mar 19th, 2013 Okay, I am exaggerating, but only slightly, but new anti-regulation laws have recently been passed in Australia that could mean uranium will be shipped out directly over this oceanic masterpiece of nature. Read more »
Queensland’s last uranium mine still leaking radioactive water 30 years after production stopped John McCarthy The Courier-Mail March 21, 2013 THE state’s last uranium mine at Mary Kathleen – in the Selwyn Range between Mount Isa and Cloncurry – is still leaking radioactive water from the site 30 years after production stopped. But, according to a committee report handed to the State Government this week, the return of uranium mining to Queensland is “risky but manageable”.
“The uranium mining industry has a number of inherent environmental risks,” the report said….. The report says the Mary Kathleen mine’s pit is still full of highly contaminated water to a depth of about 50m, and since the mine closed in 1982, several other studies have found “ongoing environmental legacy issues”.
Those include the seepage of acidic, metal-rich, radioactive waters from the base of the tailings dam into the former evaporation ponds and local drainage system.
Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman Dave Sweeney said there was no evidence that uranium mining was safe because not one former mine had been rehabilitated properly.
“In the Northern Territory there is a range of old mines, maybe a dozen or more, that are still being cleaned up 50 years after the event,” Mr Sweeney said…… http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/queenslands-last-uranium-mine-still-leaking-radioactive-water-30-years-after-production-stopped/story-e6freoof-1226601866129
Uranium export through Reef not ruled out 9 News, March 18, 2013 The Queensland government won’t rule out exporting uranium through the Great Barrier Reef, after receiving a report advocating a return to mining the radioactive material.Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps made the concession on Monday after receiving 40 recommendations from a committee tasked with examining the resurrection of the uranium mining industry.
Uranium mining was banned in Queensland in 1989 and the material hasn’t actually been mined since 1982. The Uranium Mining Implementation Committee’s report has recommended uranium be exported from ports in Adelaide and Darwin, given they already have the appropriate environmental licences.
However, committee chairman Paul Bell says the option is open for a port to be opened up in Queensland if demand warrants it. Talks have already been held with the Port of Townsville, he says.
Mr Cripps has not ruled out shipping uranium through the reef…. green groups remain unimpressed and have hit out at the government for lifting the ban despite saying before the election that it had no plans to do so.
An anti-uranium mining alliance of key environmental groups produced its own report on Monday, labelling the industry “high risk, low return”. ”Premier (Campbell) Newman was elected with a no-mines position and then broke this commitment without evidence, independent assessment or consultation,” alliance spokeswoman Robin Taubenfield said in a statement.
Australia: Koongarra is now permanently protected from uranium companies INTERCONTINENTAL CRY, BY JOHN AHNI SCHERTOW • MAR 18, 2013 The Australian government finally made good on its word. On 6 February, 2013, Environment Minister Tony Burke introduced the “Completion of Kakadu National Park (Koongarra Project Area Repeal) Bill” signalling an end to one of three long standing struggles against uranium mining within the Alligator Rivers Region of Australia’s Northern Territory.
Just a few short days ago, Australia’s senate passed the Bill, ensuring once and for all that Koongarra is permanently protected.
“This is a great day for me, my country and my culture. My mind is at peace now that I know that there will be no mining at Koongarra and that Djok lands will be protected forever in Kakadu National Park,” said Jeffrey Lee, Djok Senior Traditional Owner and the Custodian of Koongarra, in a written statement. Read more »
Koongarra’s inclusion welcome, but Kakadu remains incomplete. 14 March, 2013. The Greens today welcomed the inclusion of the Koongarra mineral lease in Kakadu National Park, but said Kakadu would remain incomplete until the Jabiluka and Ranger mineral leases are returned.
Greens Senator Scott Ludlam praised the efforts of Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee, who had been in the public gallery when the Bill was introduced in early February.
“When Mr Lee came to Canberra a few weeks ago to witness this Bill being introduced, he said ‘Money comes and goes but the land is always here… If we look after it, it will look after us.’ …It’s difficult to comprehend the pressure Mr Lee withstood so we could get to this point, but I want to pay tribute to this fine and courageous man, a softly spoken and gentle man, who stood up to some of the most powerful interests on earth, and won,” Senator Ludlam told the Senate. Read more »
A win win situation – carbon economy enables conservation, with early fire practices in Australia’s Northern Territory
There is little doubt that the new carbon economy is transforming fire and biodiversity management across northern Australia. Many areas managed for biodiversity conservation can now generate a substantial income beyond the public purse. This will surely allow the further privatisation of biodiversity conservation, at a time when non-government organisations are already playing an increasingly central, and indeed successful, role in conservation in northern Australia.
Implementing biodiversity-friendly fire regimes remains an enormous management challenge in the north. Although the carbon economy is unlikely to be a panacea, it certainly provides a much-needed income stream for sustainable land management, especially for the vast lands outside of the traditional conservation estate.
Savanna burning: carbon pays for conservation in northern Australia http://theconversation.edu.au/savanna-burning-carbon-pays-for-conservation-in-northern-australia-12185 22 Feb 13, Fire and biodiversity have a complex relationship in northern Australia. Tim Flannery and others blame the current northern biodiversity crisis, at least in part, on changed fire regimes. Improving fire management is critical to conserving savanna landscapes – but who pays for it? A new funding model, tapping into the carbon economy, has emerged in the far north and is rapidly transforming fire management and biodiversity conservation.
A new funding model for fire management
The idea that land management could be funded by carbon credits emerged from Aboriginal-owned Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. By the 1990s it was clear that the region’s enormous biodiversity values were being eroded by frequent, intense late dry season fires.
To address this problem, a trailblazing group of Western scientists and land managers, and Aboriginal Traditional Owners developed a program of prescribed burning early in the dry season to pre-empt large, intense wildfires late in the dry season.
The most innovative part of their work was to link improvements in fire management to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. They also realised that this emissions reduction (or abatement) could be used to secure resources for land management. The abatement occurs because early dry season fires tend to be patchier and less intense than late season fires, and therefore burn less fuel. Because less fuel is burnt, fewer emissions are produced.
The project that resulted from this early work – the 28,000 km²West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project – has operated since 2005 and is funded by one of the world’s largest energy companies, ConocoPhillips. They provide $1 million annually in return for an abatement of greenhouse gases equivalent to 100,000 t of CO₂. Read more »
Australia Places Aboriginal Land in Park to Bar Uranium Mining http://ens-newswire.com/2013/02/07/australia-places-aboriginal-land-in-park-to-bar-uranium-mining/ CANBERRA, Australia, February 7, 2013 – After 34 years of campaigning to keep uranium mining out of his ancestral land of Koongarra, Djok Senior Traditional Owner Jeffrey Lee sat in the House of Representatives Wednesday to watch this land be protected forever.
Environment Minister Tony Burke introduced a bill to repeal the Koongarra Project Area Act – a 1979 law excluding Koongarra from the original boundaries of Kakadu National Park because of its potential to be the site for a uranium mine.
“In 2010, the Government promised Mr. Lee that we would incorporate Koongarra into Kakadu National Park, to ensure that the threat of mining was banished forever,” Burke said. Koongarra is an area of native woodland of great environmental and cultural significance, now incorporated within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park. Kakadu is located within the Alligator Rivers Region of the Northern Territory of Australia, 171 kilometers southeast of the territorial capital, Darwin.
The Koongarra uranium deposit is estimated at about 14,000 tonnes. Mining companies, most recently the French company AREVA, have been trying to mine the deposit for decades despite the opposition of traditional owners. Read more »
GUNDJEIHMI ABORIGINAL CORPORATION 7 Feb 13 Mirarr Traditional Aboriginal Owners today welcomed Environment Minister Tony Burke’s introduction of a bill which clears the way for the incorporation of the Koongarra area into Kakadu National Park. This move recognises the long held Aboriginal aspiration to protect this unique area from the threat of uranium mining.
The introduction of the Completion of Kakadu National Park (Koongarra Project Area Repeal) Bill was also welcomed by the Djok Senior Traditional Owner of the Koongarra area, Jeffrey Lee AM. Mr Lee was in the Federal Parliament to witness the introduction of the bill, accompanied by a delegation representing the Mirarr. Jeffrey Lee was awarded the Order of Australia in 2012 in recognition of his work to protect his country and gift it to the nation. He has firmly opposed uranium mining on his country on the grounds of the deep cultural significance of Koongarra to its Traditional Owners and concerns about the dangers of uranium.
In his long struggle to protect his country Mr Lee has drawn inspiration from Yvonne Margarula, the Senior Traditional Owner of the neighbouring Mirarr people. Since the 1990s Yvonne Margarula has led the Mirarr opposition to the proposed Jabiluka mine, north of Koongarra and the existing Ranger uranium mine also on Mirarr land. Ms Margarula spearheaded the international campaign against mining at Jabiluka. Her resolve and leadership guided the campaign and prompted a special UNESCO mission, resolutions in the European Parliament and US Congress and several Australian parliamentary inquiries. In the late 1990s Ms Margarula won several prestigious international awards in recognition of her work to protect her country.
In 2001, the Rio Tinto majority owned mining company Energy Resources of Australia acknowledged the opposition of the Mirarr traditional owners and agreed to halt work at Jabiluka.
Ms Margarula said, “Traditional Owners must be allowed to make their own decisions about development on their country. Jeffrey has been speaking out to protect his country and we support him. He has always said no to mining at Koongarra and we support him when he says he wants to see that country put into the National Park. We want to see the same protection for Mirarr country.”
The Mirarr people have this month executed a renegotiated agreement for the existing Ranger mine, which was imposed on them in 1978. This agreement, along with provisions of the federal Atomic Energy Act, provides for the Ranger area to also be included into Kakadu National Park as the mine is rehabilitated.
The executive officer of Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Justin O’Brien, said, “This action by the government is to be applauded, although the name of the bill incorrectly implies that this completes the national park. There is further work to be done and we still look forward to the day when all of Kakadu is included in the National Park and adequately protected from unwanted industrial development.”
A WRITTEN STATEMENT FROM MR LEE IS ATTACHED TO THIS STATEMENT Read more »
In depth look at plan for Ranger 3 Deeps Underground Mine- submission from Environment Centre Northern Territory
Submission to Ranger 3 Deeps Project underground uranium mine referral
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd/Mining/at existing Ranger uranium mine in Alligator
Rivers Region/NT/Ranger 3 Deeps Underground Mine
Reference Number: 2013/6722
31 January 2013
Stuart Blanch, Director, Environment Centre NT, Darwin, email@example.com / 0448 887 303.
The Environment Centre NT welcomes the opportunity to provide comment on the referral.
We make the following comments:
1. The Ranger 3 Deeps Project is proposed by Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) to be built inside
the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and surrounding internationally recognised
Ramsar wetlands of the Alligators Rivers Region. By its very nature is is a highly risky project over
the long term, given the need to manage radioactive contamination for thousands of years. The
Ranger Uranium Mine has already created very substantial long term waste management issues
over the past three decades of operation, and remains a highly controversial project in the eyes
of many Territorians and Australians.
The proposed mine is a nuclear action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act (Cth) (EPBCA). However it also poses a risk to various other Matters of National
Environmental Significance including 14 threatened species, 20 migratory species and a National
Heritage Place. ERA’s view that only one MNES, namely nuclear actions, are likely to be impacted
is fanciful and disingenuous (p81). Clearly the existing water management issues caused by three
decades of mining, let alone an even larger process water inventory, pose a significant risk to
downstream Ramsar wetlands and World Heritage values should there be an uncontrolled
discharge into Magela Creek or ongoing lateral spread of the groundwater plume underneath the
Full EIS’s are regularly conducted under the EPBCA for mines that entail much less risk to species,
places and values which are legally recognised under federal environmental law and attract
protection under international agreements.
2. Underground mining at Ranger has never been subject to an EIS, and was not addressed in the
ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY IS WRONG IN 2013.
IT SHOULD CORRECT ITS ERRORS IN THE SAME MANNER OF INTEGRITY IT IS
SUPPOSED TO CORRECT ANY LEARNED PAPER.
Is Nuclear Power Zero Emissions and Carbon Neutral, Paul Langley’s
Nuclear History Blog, 3 Jan 2013,“………..MAY THE Vice C hancellor OF ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY MODIFY HIS ENDORSEMENT OF THE ZERO
EMISSION STATEMENT HIS INSTITUTION PUBLISHES. IT IS IN ERROR.
IN 2006 SHORTLY AFTER ADELAIDE UNIVERSITY FOUND THAT NUCLEAR VETERANS
SUFFERED A FAR HIGHER CANCER RISK THAN NON VETERANS, BLAMING THIS
INCREASE NOT ON THE BOMB TESTS BUT ON PETROL FUMES IN THE DESERT (IN
ITS DRAFT REPORT) AND BY COMPLETE IGNORANCE OF ANY POSSIBLE CAUSE,
DISMISSING THE BOMBS COMPLETELY, THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT PROPOSED
THE BUILDING OF A NUCLEAR POWER PLANT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S NORTH.
CLOSE TO THE PEOPLE MOST AFFECTED BY THE BOMB FALLOUT Read more »
Dr Mudd also highlighted the use and contamination of ground water
sources in the area as a key issue, saying there have been issues at
other uranium mines across Australia and it remains unclear where
water for this site will come from or what techniques will be used to
Monash mining expert examines Wiluna uranium proposal
Science Network, 23 December 2012 AN AUSTRALIAN expert on mining
sustainability has highlighted some of the key environmental aspects
for West Australia, as the state moves closer to its first uranium
Resources company Toro Energy recently received state government
environmental approval to develop WA’s first uranium mine near Wiluna,
with the company now seeking federal environmental approval.
Monash University mining expert Gavin Mudd says the primary issues
concern the management of tailings and waste rock, as well as water
use, contamination and other aspects local to the mine site. Read more »