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.”
“Please leave the uranium underground” , Roxby Downs Sun April 4, 2013, Indian national Bhargavi Dilipkumar has a message for BHP Billiton; to leave uranium underground for it has done more than enough damage to the environment.
Bhargavi visited Roxby Downs this week with Friends of the Earth Australia to receive a first hand experience of what uranium mining was all about and be the voice of India protesting the uranium trade between the two countries.
She said she had been part of the people’s movement that is strongly opposing the building of an atomic power plant to be built at the southern part of India.
Bhargavi is an anti nuclear activitist from India who strongly believes that BHP Billiton should shelve its uranium export program and be responsible for the safety of the environment and million of lives back home.
She visited the Olympic Dam mine and tried to persuade BHP Billiton management to have a heart for the people of India who will suffer long term consequences if the atomic power plant was allowed to go ahead.
“Please leave the uranium underground,” she said.
“Don’t mine it because its destroying lives.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by German nationals Danda Petter and Miriam Ribbeck who had been part of a nation-wide protest to stop the construction of a nuclear plant at Freiburg.
Vietnamese national Hai Levan said having seen the damage caused in Japan he would “fight to the death” to stop the building of a nuclear energy plant in South Central Vietnam.
“We can’t continue chopping down trees because it will cause flooding and harm our environment,” he said .http://www.roxbydownssun.com.au/story/1408776/please-leave-the-uranium-underground/?cs=1503
27 March 13, NSW Parliament today received a petition of over 2,000 people opposing uranium exploration and mining in NSW and calling on the government to maintain the ban on uranium mining and to hold an open and transparent inquiry into uranium mining in NSW. Greens MP and uranium spokesperson Jamie Parker said:
“This is a hugely damaging industry with a long and well-documented history of safety breaches, dangerous leaks and failed attempts at rehabilitation.
“Labor and Liberal governments in Australia are legislating to allow uranium exploration and mining, placing local communities at risk while increasing the threat of nuclear proliferation and disasters overseas.
“This is even more alarming considering Federal Labor’s decision to export uranium to India, a country which has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
“Exploration inevitably leads to mining and all the dangers and health hazards that involves – we must stop this damaging industry now, before it expands even further.
“We should be working toward a clean energy future and investing in renewables, instead of fostering this dangerous and unnecessary industry which will leave a lasting radioactive legacy for future generations.” Mr Parker said.
“‘Uranium will be the next asbestos. All those years ago they said it was safe to work with asbestos. Then years later the companies didn’t want to know about it when workers started dying from diseases such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer,”
ETU in uranium mining no-go Townsville Bulletin, JOHN ANDERSEN | November 10th, 2012 UNION bosses have instructed the 12,800 financial members of the Electrical Trades Union in Queensland not to work in any start-up
uranium mines in the state.
The ETU directive against members taking jobs in uranium mines has been in place since 2010, but with no uranium industry in the state it has lain dormant for the past two years. Read more »
NO MORE WARS - CHEEKY PRESENCE AT SAS BARRACKS, SWANBOURNE 13th November This morning a group of women bared all outside Swanbourne Barracks, headquarters of the SAS, to deliver a peaceful message in advance of the visit of Leon Panetta, United States Secretary for Defence.
The un-named women, bearing the letters of NO MORE WARS across their buttocks, are concerned at the military build-up which will be subject of AUSMIN discussions over the next two days between the United States and Australian governments, taking place in Perth.
“We know that Leon Panetta is scheduled to visit the SAS headquarters at Campbell Barracks, so we wanted to get in ahead of security forces, to let him, his Government, our Government and the public know that there are hundreds of thousands of Australians who do not want our country further embroiled in wars of the United States’ choosing.
“We do not want an “upgrade” of Stirling Naval Base to suit U.S. Navy requirements, meaning more warship visits, some of which carry nuclear weapons and are powered by nuclear reactors.
“We do not want further “interoperability” which suits the United States war-fighting plans, but not necessarily the requirements for the defence of Australia.
“We do not want to see U.S. marines on Australian soil, nor further military exercises which are damaging to our environment.
“What’s happened to Australian sovereignty? Gone missing in action, while U.S. forces get the nod.
“Not in our name,” the women concluded.
For further information, contact Kerrie Ann: 0401 909 332
Uranium export claims rejected by environmentalist Daily Mercury Dominic Geiger 29th Oct 2012 A BOWEN-BASED environmentalist has hit back at Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen’s claims the town would support uranium being exported from Abbot Point.
Mr Christensen made the claims following State Premier Campbell Newman’s recent decision to lift the ban on uranium mining in Queensland. ”Abbot Point (is) an established resource port that (is) far removed from an urban area and the Bowen locals would love the potential work and opportunity,” he said.
But Bowen resident Ian Lee said the town had a history of opposing uranium mining and nuclear power. ”Before the amalgamations, Bowen Shire Council voted to become a uranium-free and a nuclear-free shire,” Mr Lee said. “They’re all now jumping on the bandwagon and wanting to make Abbot Point a massive port.
“The World Heritage Committee has recommended there be no major developments outside the long established major ports. Abbot Point is classified as a minor port.”
Mr Christensen isn’t the first Federal Member for Dawson to come under criticism for a pro-nuclear stance. Former member De-Anne Kelly was deposed in 2007 after supporting a short-lived push to have a nuclear
power plant established in the Mackay region…..
the mine cannot make money at current low uranium prices and the company, valued at only $86.5 million, did not have the financial capacity to clean up the mine if it was unprofitable
“If Toro falls over at Wiluna, who cleans it up? It either doesn’t get cleaned up, which is unacceptable, or it gets cleaned up at public expense,” Mr Sweeney said
Green protests at Toro HQ over mine approval Rhianna King, Nick Evans and AAP, The West Australian
October 11, 2012, A group of about 25 protesters marched outside the West Perth offices of Toro Energy this morning to express their anger over the approval of WA’s first uranium mine.
Environmentalists and trade unionists walked from Toro’s headquarters to Parliament House, chanting ‘Toxic Toro, you’ve got to go.’ Conservation Council of WA Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said green groups would not give up until the State Government’s decision was overturned.
“This proposal has no complete mine closure plan or costings, it will run out of water in seven years and no alternatives have been evaluated, scientists are still naming a new plant species found near the mine site, and Toro are yet to finalise their transport management plan,” she said.
“This is not a credible plan. It is a half-baked, half-assessed shambles driven by a political agenda and is not based on good science or evidence. Read more »
WANFA’s Elders speak out from Kutunatu Ngurra http://indymedia.org.au/2012/09/22/radiation-exposure-looming-for-wiluna Gerry Georgatos Traditional Aboriginal Elders have never been more concerned about the sovereign risk to Country, and of its very health, with the loom of uranium mining. The Western Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), made up of Aboriginal Traditional Land Owners from the Pilbara, the Kimberley, the Goldfields, the Great Victorian Desert, the Central Desert, the Gascoyne, Perth and the South West, and alongside their supporters, have declared “that it is a must do in preventing uranium mining on Country.”
The WANFA met for its annual conference on September 16 at the registered sacred site of Kutunatu Ngurra camp just outside of Leonora, in the ochre heart of Western Australia.
WANFA chairperson Kado Muir said, “(The Elders and Traditional Land Owners) support Aboriginal sovereignty across all Aboriginal territories in WA. The State Government and its industries need to respect the basic human rights of Aboriginal peoples.”
Mr Muir said that everyone is concerned in light of the “fast-tracking of the Toro Energy Wiluna uranium project assessment.” Mr Muir had invited Environment Minister Bill Marmion to meet with WANFA representatives, Elders and land holders but he declined. “He shows an unwillingness to engage with our local Elders and community,” said Mr Muir.
Despite one approval after another, and the dismissal of appeals, by the Government to the prospective uranium miners Mr Muir said that WANFA is determined “to stop the poison of uranium mining contaminating Aboriginal lands.”
Mr Muir said that WANFA will “challenge the Australian Uranium Association’s Indigenous Dialogue Group who are representing the industry rather than a true Aboriginal community view.”
“We will also continue to expose anthropologists, archaeologists and pro-industry consultants who attempt to validate negligent practices of the mining industry.”
“We want our Land Councils, Native Title representative bodies and Native Title organisations to fulfil their legal requirements to be accountable, transparent and representative of their communities views.”
Ultimately, WANFA is calling for an independent public inquiry or royal commission into uranium mining. “We need an inquiry and it will be called for, and when this happens then maybe Governments and the nuclear industry will be forced to stop minimising and trivialising the dangers of radiation,” said Mr Muir.
“Over one hundred and fifty walkers have participated in this event, and we have received messages of support and solidarity from people across the world. Globally communities are resisting the nuclear industry at every stage, and it is our responsibility here in Australia to ensure that uranium stays in the ground.”
The walk is a celebration of the strength of the community in Leonora who have successfully fought to stop uranium mining at Yeelirrie for over forty years. News of the recent acquisition of the Yeelirrie deposit by Canadian company Cameco has been a catalyst for renewed opposition.
Traditional Owner of Yeelirrie, Kado Muir: “Yesterday the Walkatjurra Walkabout joined us in re-establishing Kutunatu Ngurra a traditional camping place and sacred site where we have maintained our cultural practice and connection to country. The West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA) will meet here this weekend, and bring together
Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to continue to work in solidarity to uphold our right to protect country”.
As we meet on our lands to build momentum WANFA, the walkers of the Walkatjurra Walkabout and Traditional Owners send our messages of support and solidarity to the four thousand protestors in India protesting nuclear power. Our thoughts are with the family of the individual shot during this protest. We are heartened to hear that Japan has now decided to phase out nuclear power and we call on the Australian Government to stop promoting the sale of uranium to these
Kado Muir: 0477 184 957
Laura Hogan: 0421 816 846
Marcus Atkinson: 0400 505 765
Dave Sweeney, 2 Sept 12, The International Physicians for the Prevention Of Nuclear War Hiroshima Congress has finished up and there was enough positive content and connections to make it all worthwhile from an Australian uranium perspective. The final conference statement re-lman Ruff affirms IPPNW’s position that the “entire nuclear chain – including uranium mining and processing, the production of energy from fissionable materials in dangerous reactors, and nuclear weapons themselves – is fraught with risks to health, our environment and our security..”…so we continue to build the voices and momentum against the uranium industry.
ICAN’s Tilman Ruff was elected as a co-Chair of IPPNW – this is both a recognition of his important and sustained work and a positive sign of increased Australian involvement in the global nuclear free movement.
A group of around 25 of us – including half a dozen Australians – are now heading to participate in three days of talking and listening about the implications and impacts of Fukushima at events in Tokyo and through a visit to the region.
In the week where BHP – the world’s biggest miner – has cited Fukushima as one of the reasons it has shelved its long held plan to develop Olympic Dam into the world’s biggest uranium mine it is timely to be here and to help ensure the reality of Australia’s uranium exports remains on the radar.
With solidarity and great regard for everybody’s efforts to nail this toxic trade,
Unionists and dedicated environmentalists walk to oppose Wiluna uranium mining project in Western Australia
Remote walk against uranium mining in WA ABC News Aug 31, 2012 A major union is vowing to overturn Labor leader Mark McGowan’s decision on uranium mining. Earlier this year, Mr McGowan softened Labor’s anti-uranium stance, saying if the party wins power at the State election it will not close any mines that have already received final approval.South Australian company, Toro Energy, is within a whisker of that deadline.
It hopes to open WA’s first uranium mine near Wiluna and is expecting the project to be approved by the end of the year.
But Steve McCartney from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union says the union will be lobbying hard to reverse Mr McGowan’s decision.
“Our main objections are we don’t want our members exposed to uranium,” he said. ”We believe it’s unsafe. We believe that this is an industry we don’t need in Western Australia.”
The union’s comments come as anti-nuclear protestors trek about 200 kilometres from Yeelirrie to Leonora to protest against uranium mining in Western Australia.
It may seem like a futile gesture, trying to raise awareness in one of Australia’s most remote locations.
But, the protestors, who have come from across Australia to take part in the walk, believe the event is all the more important given this week’s sale of WA’s largest uranium reserve, Yeelirrie, to Canadian uranium producer, Cameco.
Brisbane retiree, June Norman, says she is taking part in the walk because she is worried about Australia’s future.
“I’m really really concerned. I have grandchildren and I have great grandchildren and I want them to live in the beautiful country that I’ve grown up in and my children have grown up in and at the rate things are going, I worry about that,” she said….. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-31/remote-walk-against-uranium-mining-in-wa/4236918
Rather than promoting the unsafe uranium sector the government should building an energy future that is renewable, not radioactive
(Map: yellow shows area where uranium exploration could occur)
Nuke South Wales? http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14007 By Natalie Wasley and Pepe Clarke -, 20 August 2012 Earlier this year, in a sharp break with a long standing and bi-partisan ban, the NSW Government announced it would allow uranium exploration across the state. This abrupt reversal of a 26-year prohibition came without warning or consultation and against the backdrop of the global nuclear industry reeling from the continuing
At the time, Premier O’Farrell cited the narrowly won ALP national conference vote allowing uranium sales to India as rationale for the policy change, but outside of cabinet responses ranged from wariness to outright hostility.
The decision to allow uranium exploration was – and is – fiercely opposed by NSW Labor and the Greens. Speaking against the move in both state parliament and a recent public meeting, Shadow Environment Minister Luke Foley captured the strength of this resistance: “As long as I am in public life I will argue against this dangerous industry
Civil society and community groups are increasing both the light and the heat on the Premier’s atomic ambitions including through this week’s launch of a NSW Uranium Free Charter in Sydney. The Charter highlights the dangers of the nuclear industry,calls on government to rule out uranium mining in New South Wales and has already gathered strong support state and national trade unions, environment groups, public health and student organisations. (see attached and
The Charter signals the start of a new campaign to keep NSW free from uranium mining and promises to increasingly locate this controversial mineral on the state political radar . Read more »
many of the group.. had taken leave without pay to travel to Roxby Downs to spread their message.
“There are other alternatives (to uranium for power) and I think an event like this can bring that more into discussion.”
We’re no bludgers, say mine protesters, Ben Hyde, The Advertiser July 20, 2012 THEY came from interstate and even overseas to protest against uranium mining, and some could be camped on the doorstep of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine for another two weeks. The group of Lizard’s Revenge protesters, which peaked at about 400 activists last weekend, were an eclectic bunch, united in their anti-nuclear stance. Read more »
Protests flare again at Olympic Dam news.com.au 19 July 12, FIVE people have been arrested after renewed protest action at the Olympic Dam uranium and copper mine in South Australia’s north.
The arrests on Thursday brought to 18 the number of people taken into police custody since about 350 anti-nuclear activists converged on the area on Saturday.
The official protest was scheduled to conclude on Wednesday but up to 100 people remained in the area. Police said about 40 people blocked Olympic Way, just south of the declared protected area, on Thursday morning. They pushed a car onto the road, let down its tyres and locked the steering.
The action forced a truck to stop on the road and two men then chained themselves to the underside. They were arrested and charged with illegal interference. Three other people were charged with refusing to follow police direction.
A RETURN TO THE GATES OF HELL? 19th July 2012 Yesterday was the last official day of the Lizards Revenge Music and Arts Festival of Resistance at the Olympic Dam Uranium mine, where over 500 protestors have gathered for the past week.
Dr Helen Caldicott visited the Lizards Revenge to run a workshop addressing health issues relating to uranium yesterday afternoon. She pointed out that there has never been an epidemiological study undertaken in Australia to monitor the health effects of radiation exposure on mine workers and that 50% of uranium mine workers die of cancer related illness.
Elder Kevin Buzzacott has extended an invitation to the festival participants to join him on Arabunna country to visit the mound springs in the Lake Eyre region, which have been impacted by the extraction of water from the Artesian Basin for the uranium mine. Water extraction will increase from an average of 35 million litres per day to 42 million litres per day if the expansion goes ahead. The mound springs are sacred to the Arabunna people and integral to the desert ecosystem.
Organisers are extremely happy with the event, with people coming from all states and territories and as far as Japan, Canada and Europe to participate.
“The week has seen a diverse range of peaceful and creative actions including a fashion parade at the Gates of Hell, a breakfast not bombs picnic on the road blocking access to the mine, and three minutes of silence to commemorate all the victims of the nuclear industry,” said Nectaria Calan.
“However, we are extremely disappointed by the tactics of police, which have included barricading us into our camp, constant surveillance and spotlighting by helicopter, motorbikes and patrol cars 24 hours a day. With close to a one on one ratio of protestors to police it is hard to understand how the state can justify this excessive deployment of resources. The deprivation of civil liberties that we have experienced in the last week is unprecedented at event like this in Australia.”
“The heavy handed tactics by police at Tuesdays cricket match, followed by the deliberate misinformation by the police regarding the days events, suggests that the police have sought to escalate the situation in order to justify the excessive deployment of resources for the event.”
Despite this, the ground swell of support Lizards Revenge is receiving is extremely encouraging; this is just the beginning.
The bipartisan political support this project enjoys in South Australia, despite widespread concerns regarding its local and international implications, highlights the failure of the political system to accommodate community concerns. This battle will not be fought in the parliament but in the desert. For further comment or photos please contact: Nectaria Calan 0432 388 665