Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Uranium miner Paladin reports another big loss

graph-downwardWeak uranium price hits Paladin NICK SAS The West AustralianAugust 29, 2014 The weak uranium price has hit Perth miner Paladin Energy, with the company reporting a $338 million loss for the year.

Late last night the John Borshoff-run company reported a basic operating loss of $3.4 million – which it blamed on the weak uranium price – compared to its operating profit of $55.9 million last year.

The $338 million book loss came on the back of a $226 million impairment on its Queensland exploration assets, along with smaller impairments at its African mines.

The Kayelekera Mine, which it put on care-and-maintenance in May, was the main culprit in the operating blowout, with the mine reporting basic cash costs – but not all-in costs – of $US42.6 a pound.

The uranium price has been hovering around the $30/lb pound mark for much of the year……….

Earlier this week Mr Borshoff had his contract extended by two years until the end of 2016. He will be paid a base salary of $1.38 million a year. https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/24850516/weak-uranium-price-hits-paladin/

August 31, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Growing public anxiety in Greenland, over Australian uranium miner Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL)

questionthe people of Greenland are “split down the middle regarding the repeal of the ban.”

Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.

The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.

In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem

Australian uranium mining in Greenland is tearing the country in half jagadees.wordpress.com August 23, 2014 Antony Loewenstein. source theecologist.org

This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.

Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..

In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise.

It attracted global interest from the rare earth and uranium industries, including from China. Concerns were also raised about Greenland’s ability to manage a toxic substance in the wake of Fukushima and Chernobyl.

The company Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL) is based in Perth, Western Australia. This year GMEL announced a major step forward in their plan to open one of the world’s largest uranium mines in southern Greenland, at Kvanefjeld, near Narsaq. The mine will also produce fluoride, thorium and other rare earths.

There is still significant opposition to the Kvanefjeld project. The Ecological Council, a Danish NGO, organised a conference to discuss the potential contamination risks in March, noting that the mine poses serious risks for the inhabitants of the nearby village, Narsaq.

Many locals told the BBC that they worried about pollution and challenges to traditional ways of life if GMEL moved ahead with its plans.

Unsurprisingly, Danish green groups have pushed for a continued ban on uranium mining. They claim that rare earth elements can be extracted without uranium mining in Greenland.

Who owns GMEL?

This would have been an important but fairly typical contest over resources, but after issues surrounding the ownership and status of Perth-based GMEL were raised in the Greenlandic parliament, the prospects of the Australian firm may be in jeopardy. Continue reading

August 25, 2014 Posted by | politics international, uranium, Western Australia | 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

Western Australian Uranium mine abandoned but what about taxpayer subsidies it gets?

money-lobbying http://tonyserve.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/uranium-mine-abandoned-but-what-about-taxpayer-subsidies-to-mining-co-australia-wapol-auspol/ Uranium miner Areva quizzed over Royalties for Regions payment, 12 August 2014 Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC has quizzed the State Government over its funding support of a subsidiary of French uranium miner Areva, for its North Canning Project.

Earlier this week, Areva Resources Australia announced that it would move to abandon the Kimberley uranium project because it is not technically feasible.

“Did they get Royalties for Regions funding? Was it utilised or if not, was it returned? If not, why not?” Mr Chapple said.

“I am gobsmacked at the constant allocations of funding being poured into the pockets of those already at the very top of the super-rich mining pyramid. It’s an inequity of the highest order.

“The Royalties for Regions Scheme should be taking from the exploitative, extractive industries and supporting true regional development. We should be funding future industries, affordable housing and community infrastructure that will ensure sustainability beyond this limited mining boom. Why are we using these precious funds to facilitate unsustainable mining practices?

“It’s obvious that the State is struggling to provide affordable housing, energy infrastructure, good public transport options, community and health services, let alone take care of our fragile environment.

“Whichever way we look at it, we cannot justify this expenditure,” Mr Chapple said.

August 14, 2014 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Queensland uranium to be exported through Darwin, Adelaide (or Townsville?)

radiation-truckDarwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural  By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14  “……..Queensland announced this month it is now accepting applications from uranium miners wanting to operate in the state after a 32 year ban, raising questions about where the uranium will be exported from.

There are no ports in Queensland licensed to export the material, and the Newman Government says ports in Adelaide and Darwin will likely be used instead, rather than shipping over the Great Barrier Reef.

Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, says it’s not up to him to decide which city becomes the hub for Queensland’s uranium exports.  …….

Mr Cripps would not rule out exporting uranium from Queensland directly……..

Northern Territory Mines Minister, Willem Westra van Holthe, says he supports transporting uranium oxide from Queensland through the Northern Territory……..
“Taking another state’s commodity and transporting through the Darwin Port is a good way to promote us as an important strategic location [? target - CM.] for the rest of the country.”……..”It would probably travel through Tennant Creek, having travelled along the Barkly Highway and then up the Stuart Highway to Darwin.”……

not everyone sees trucking uranium across the country as an opportunity. Continue reading

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

Uranium sanctions on Russia? Julie Bishop informs Putin on how to be a world leader

Abbott-and-Bishop-big-timeUranium sanctions next, Julie Bishop warns Russia, as part of ‘broader, deeper’ response over MH17, SMH August 8, 2014  

National political reporter Further Russian intervention in Ukraine would invite Australian sanctions including on the sale of uranium says Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who has declared “everything’s on the table” if Moscow fails to accept responsibility for downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Ms Bishop’s stern warning came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in Sydney on Friday afternoon, called on Russia to hold back its forces, currently massing on the Ukraine border. He said any crossing would constitute an “invasion”.

“I want to say very clearly that we are working towards stronger sanctions,” he said.

“I say to President Putin, if he wants to be regarded as a world leader, as opposed to becoming an international outcast: hold your forces back. Stay behind the border, let the business of Ukraine be sorted out by Ukranians.”…….If Russia does seek to intervene in Ukraine, there would be consequences” Ms Bishop warned……..Russia announced its own retaliatory sanctions on Australia and other Western nations overnight, which include banning foodstuffs, including meat, fruit and vegetables.

Ms Bishop played down their impact on the Australian economy and said it was more “petulance” from Russia, which has refused to accept responsibility for MH17. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/uranium-sanctions-next-julie-bishop-warns-russia-as-part-of-broader-deeper-response-over-mh17-20140808-3ddf2.html#ixzz39vw7gvb6

August 9, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | 1 Comment

With current Ukraine crisis should Australia be selling uranium to Russia?

Aust-two-faced-on-peaceShould we be selling uranium still to Russia?, Independent Australia Dave Sweeney 4 August 2014, Australia’s treaty watchdog refused to endorse the treaty to sell uranium to Russia due to security issues. Dave Sweeney, theAustralian Conservation Foundation’s nuclear-free campaigner, calls for the treaty to be reviewed in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy.  IT IS appropriate that Australia takes strong action to send a clear message to Moscow in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy.  Not welcoming Russian president Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit in November would be one step.

Immediately halting Australian uranium sales would be another.

Uranium is a dual use fuel. It provides the power fuel for nuclear reactors and the bomb fuel for nuclear weapons — and the distinction between the two sectors is more one of political convenience than practical effect……….

In 2007 and again in 2008, Russia threatened Poland with nuclear strikes from missiles it would base at its enclave of Kaliningrad following Polish approval for U.S. missile defence bases in Poland.  Today, as clashes continue along the Ukrainian border, we can be sure Moscow’s missiles are on high alert………

JSCOT, to its considerable credit, recommended a mix of caution and action in relation to Australian uranium sales to Russia. It called for any sales to be linked to Russian compliance with a set of essential pre-conditions including a detailed analysis of Russia’s nuclear non-proliferation status; the complete separation of Russia’s civil and military nuclear sectors; reductions in industry secrecy; independent safety and security assessments of Russian nuclear facilities; and action on nuclear theft and smuggling concerns.

None of these have been realised and as the crackdown on EcoProtection! shows, the Russian nuclear sector is becoming even less transparent. Continue reading

August 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | 1 Comment

Queensland uranium plan fails the nuclear test

 1 Aug 14 State government plans released today and promoting a fast tracked uranium industry in Queensland have been described by ACF as fanciful and irresponsible.

“The LNP’s promotion of uranium mining has the logic of a problem gambler,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. “It is a bad policy based on a broken promise and is driven by enthusiasm rather than evidence”.

Ahead of the 2012 state election Campbell Newman declared it was ‘very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland’. After the election and without any independent assessment or public consultation the LNP back-flipped on uranium and today Mines Minister Cripps is championing the sector.

His industry promotion is deeply flawed, including in relation to:

(i)    Economic benefits – these have never independently tested by LNP and the Australian uranium industry has been graph-down-uraniumseriously hurt and constrained by market fallout from Fukushima with the uranium price hovering around nine-year lows amid weak demand.

The Ministers spruiking of uranium as an economic bonanza has been released as Australia’s longest operating uranium mine – Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger mine in Kakadu – announced a further half year operating loss of $127 million.

“Queenslanders would do well to look at the facts before signing on to the fiction. This is an absurd time to be giving a green light to yellowcake,” said Mr Sweeney.

(ii)    Royalty payments: the Minister’s talk of “royalties to fund school and health services, roads and public infrastructure” fails to acknowledge that the Queensland Resources Council is currently involved in closed door talks with the LNP seeking to negotiate reduced or suspended royalties for any future state uranium mine.

(iii)     Uranium transport: Minister Cripps dismissal of community concerns over the possible future movement of uranium through a Queensland port lacks credibility.  The LNP government has not ruled out any such movements, the Port of Townsville has formally expressed interest in facilitating such movements, the federal government and uranium industry lobbyists are pushing for a new export site on the east coast and the proposed Ben Lomond deposit is just up the road.

In today’s media when asked whether it was possible for a Queensland port to be granted permission to be used as an export point, Mr Cripps would not rule it out: “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.”

“The Queensland community and environment deserve better than backflips, backroom deals and backward thinking,” said Mr Sweeney.

“If Minister Cripps thinks this industry adds up he should have no problem with an independent public Inquiry into the cost and consequences of the LNP’s plan for uranium mining. This industry is contested and contaminating and demands scrutiny and rigour, not wishful thinking and lame assurances,” said Mr Sweeney.

Further context or comment: Dave Sweeney 0408 317 812

 

 

August 1, 2014 Posted by | business, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Many Martu people oppose Cameco’s Kintyre uranium mining plan

Do the Martu peoples want uranium mining? Fukushima Emergency what can we do? 31 July 14 Western desert-living Martu Elder, Thelma Rawlins said that many of her people remain opposed to the “go-aheads” given to uranium mining on Martu Country.

“Kintyre should be left alone, our Country left alone.”
“This is really bad stuff in the ground, and it will be really bad stuff if it comes above the ground. We are getting too close to bad stuff happening,” said Ms Rawlins.
“Country will be made bad, our water made bad. Our water is salty, the river bed is salty. We have to be careful with our water. The uranium out of ground will take our water away.”
“Leave the uranium in the ground. It is bad stuff that they want our people to be next to, this is not good.”

But Western Australia’s controversial Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has given the thumbs up for the CAMECO company proposal to mine uranium on Martu Country, at Kintyre which is next to the significant waterways of Kalmilyi National Park in the Pilbara. The EPA has been the subject of one controversy after another and most recently with the now defunct James Price Gas Hub proposal in the Kimberley where it had also have given the thumbs up despite widespread public opposition.

Two prospective uranium mine sites in Western Australia are nearing the likelihood of becoming operational in the next couple of years, both near Aboriginal communities – the other uranium site is near Wiluna and Toro Energy may have it operational by the end of next year. By the end of the century Western Australia will be transformed into one of the world’s largest uranium miners according to insiders in the industry. Western Australia is rich in easily accessible high grade uranium. The miners are chomping at the bit, investing in uranium mining research divisions within their multinational companies. It is no secret that the State and Federal Governments are supportive of mining uranium despite the litany of well-known risks……

many Martu have said to me that they oppose the uranium mining. Many Wiluna residents, including senior Elder Geoff Cooke also oppose the proposed uranium mining.
“We are the Custodians of the Land. It must come before all else,” said Mr Cooke.
“Uranium is a poison. Our rivers will be poisoned. Our trees will be poisoned. Our food will be contaminated. Our people will become sick.”
“Uranium mining can hurt us forever, hurt every generation of our children to come.” http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/do-martu-peoples-want-uranium-mining.html

 

August 1, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) reports a loss – AGAIN!

graph-downwardERA posts $127m loss in tough conditions, Trading Room,  PERTH, July 31 AAP  Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has reported a first half net loss as the uranium price hovers around nine year lows amid weak demand.
The uranium miner reported a $127 million loss in the six months to June 30 after posting a $53.5 million loss a year earlier.

The company did not produce any uranium oxide during the period…………..ERA said in the short term, the uranium oxide market remained challenging for producers.

“All Japanese reactors remain offline three years after the Fukushima accident and the market continues to be oversupplied,” the company said in its half year results.

“The spot price for uranium oxide has now fallen below $US30 per pound, the lowest level since 2005.”
ERA only restarted the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory last month after a toxic leak forced it to close in December.

The company said production in the first half was adversely impacted by the suspension of processing operations…….ERA is no longer mining new ore at its open pit and is exploring underground to see whether there is enough uranium to justify a new mine at the site, which is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park……..ERA shares fell 0.5 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $1.34 on Thursday. http://www.tradingroom.com.au/apps/view_breaking_news_article.ac?page=/data/news_research/published/2014/7/212/catf_140731_165300_4700.html

August 1, 2014 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

How the Australian media WRONGLY hyped up Silex Uranium Enrichment Technology

news-nuke

GLE suspends Silex laser treatment of uranium as market bites, Optics.org Matthew Peach
29 Jul 2014
Focus switches to reduced US program after Japanese shutdown narrows market; Silex hopes for resumption when conditions pick up. Silex Systems, an Australian high-tech company developing energy and materials technologies, has announced that the Licensee for Silex’s Uranium Enrichment Technology,GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, is reducing its funding and commercialisation program of the laser treatment technology in response to “current adverse market conditions” – with the result that related operations in Australia are stopping.
GLE will consolidate its efforts on the technology development activities to its Wilmington facility in North Carolina, USA. The Silex annoncement said, “most contractor-based work on the project will be suspended, with the project facility near Oak Ridge, Tennessee to be placed in a safe storage mode, and GLE-funded activities at the laser development facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney, to cease.”………
Dr Michael Goldsworthy, Silex CEO and Managing Director, said, “the global nuclear industry is still suffering the impacts of the Fukushima event and the shutdown of the entire Japanese nuclear power plant fleet in 2011. Demand for uranium has been slower to recover than expected and enrichment services are in significant oversupply.”……..
Media speculationJust two days before the GLE announcement, Australian daily newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that “With a share price down 65 per cent in the past year, [Silex] is one of the best intelligent speculations on the ASX (Australian Stock Exchange)”, adding, “The enrichment market is expected to be worth US$10 billion by 2019.”http://optics.org/news/5/7/48

July 30, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, media, uranium | Leave a comment

Submissions will challenge Western Australia’s EPA report approving Kintyre uranium project

New WA uranium mine given environmental approval amid concerns, Australian Mining  29 July, 2014 Ben Hagemann The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Western Australia has given conditional approval to the proposed Kintyre uranium mine in the Little Sandy Desert.

Canadian-based mining company Cameco plans to truck uranium oxide from 270 kilometres north east of Newman to the Port of Adelaide. The EPA’s report is open for a two-week appeal period starting Monday, July 28, and closing on August 11……….

Environmental groups have voiced concerns about impacts on the nearby Karlamilyi National Park, with the Conservation Council expressing their disappointment with the EPA approval.

Conservation Council spokesperson Mia Pepper said most of the EPAs conditions were administrative, and that environmental protections have been deferred to the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

“In this case, that includes mine closure, rehabilitation and tailings management and those are the aspects where uranium mines have failed in Australia to deliver good environmental outcomes,” she said.

“That’s something that we think the EPA should be looking at more closely.”

Pepper said the Conservation Council will make a submission regarding the EPAs report, and will support other organisations wishing to do the same.http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/new-wa-uranium-mine-given-environmental-approval-a

July 30, 2014 Posted by | legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

BHP expansion of Olympic Damn uranium mine just isn’t happening

Olympic expansion years away, says BHP  THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 29, 2014  by Matt Chambers  and Barry Fitzgerald BHP Billiton is unlikely to ­approve a long awaited expansion of the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine in South ­Australia’s outback this decade, with the miner revealing it will take four years to trial a processing method it hopes will help make the project profitable.

Under a $30 billion expansion plan shelved in late 2012, BHP was last year to have started construction on the project, which would involve digging the world’s ­biggest open pit. Yesterday, the company showed how far away any decision to expand was when it fleshed out comments made in September by chief executive ­Andrew Mackenzie that expansion would need a technological breakthrough. BHP-white-elephant In documents filed with the federal Environment Department yesterday, BHP kicked off the approvals process for a trial plant to test heap-leaching of copper and uranium ores as a lower-cost ­alternative to the previous ­expansion plan. If all goes to plan, the earliest a demonstration plant would start construction is July next year, with a three-year operation period targeted to start in October 2016. “While the application is for a trial, a successful trial will not necessarily lead to a full-scale heap-leach project,” BHP said. “Further, the extent and ­nature of any potential full-scale project is not known at this stage.”

    The application is only to study processing the ore, with no mention of how BHP would ­access the deep orebody…………

Under previous government-approved plans, BHP had been planning a staged increase in annual production to a world-class 750,000 tonnes of copper and 19,000 tonnes of uranium, the latter being problematic given the collapse in prices and demand for the nuclear material in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The big-bang approach to expansion was abandoned by BHP in August 2012 in line with the new era of capital austerity that swept the industry in response to weaker commodity prices. It involved the development of a super pit which would have taken more than five years to complete, with the Olympic Dam orebody sitting under 400m of overburden. The lack of cash flow during the time it would take to develop the open-cut mine ­spooked both BHP and the ­market, where agitation for greater shareholder returns over more big expansions has been become the new mantra. South Australia had been banking on the original $30bn plan to underpin an economic surge for the struggling state. Mr Mackenzie undertook in September to update the state on the way forward for Olympic Dam inside of a year. The investigation of the heap-leach option has been an open ­secret, with laboratory test work at Wingfield in suburban Adelaide under way since the expansion was canned….. In order to test the processing method at a larger and more integrated scale, BHP has lodged an application for assessment by the federal and South Australian governments to build and operate a demonstration plant on the existing mining lease at Olympic Dam. “Should approval be granted, and subject to BHP approvals, construction of the demonstration plant is expected to commence in the second half of (calendar) 2015, with a projected trial period of 36 months which is expected to commence in late 2016,’’ the company said. The heap-leach trial is only part of the thought process BHP has to go through to determine the best, and lowest-cost, way to maximise returns from Olympic Dam, one of the world’s biggest deposits of copper and uranium. The initial plan was supported by a mine-life capability from the underlying resource base of more than 40 years. BHP has yet to elaborate on what the move towards a heap-leach operation would mean for the end products produced at Olympic Dam. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/olympic-expansion-years-away-says-bhp/story-e6frg8zx-1227004910155

 

July 30, 2014 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | 1 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

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