Toxic sites in Adelaide’s suburbs number in their thousands BRAD CROUCH THE ADVERTISER JULY 22, 2014 THE Opposition has demanded a statewide audit of contaminated sites, as it emerges the dangers of trichloroethene entering groundwater was suspected as far back as the 1940s.
The call for an audit comes after Environmental Protection Authority chief executive Tony Circelli confirmed that “thousands” of sites were contaminated with various chemicals and the EPA received about 100 new notifications each year.
The State Government and Environment Minister Ian Hunter are under increasing pressure over the contamination scandal in Clovelly Park , where dozens of people have been forced to leave their homes because of health risks from the vapours of trichloroethene (TCE) rising up through the soil from industrially poisoned groundwater.
Mr Circelli, was responding to a claim by UniSA Professor Ravi Naidu, the managing director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation, that there are about 4000 contaminated sites in SA.
Mr Circelli said that claim was incorrect, but conceded the number “is in the thousands”.
Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said an audit was needed to clarify the exact number of contaminated sites and their locations. “The purpose of conducting a statewide audit would be to establish a hierarchy of sites based on potential public health risks,” he said.
“As well as playing an important community awareness role, the audit could also provide a benchmark for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of contaminated sites for the EPA and assist with any future contamination investigations………http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/toxic-sites-in-adelaides-suburbs-number-in-their-thousands/story-fni6uo1m-1226998071395?nk=38b4e03626cff750bb726e65c1a3e9f4
Rio Tinto, Paladin Uranium Mines in Namibia Face Water Shortage, Bloomberg News By Felix Njini November 18, 2013 Uranium mines operated by companies including Rio Tinto Plc (RIO) and Paladin Energy Ltd. in Namibia face a water shortage as a drought in the southwest African nation curbs supply to the operations and three coastal towns. Continue reading
Australia: Wide-ranging changes to Queensland’s land and water legislation passed, Clayton UTZ 11 May 2013 A petroleum tenure holder in Queensland will now be able to use associated water “for any purpose”.
The Land, Water and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (Qld) was passed by Parliament on 2 May 2013 and introduces a large number of legislative amendments across a wide range of Acts impacting, primarily, the land and water regulatory portfolios, but also making important amendments that impact upon the petroleum industry, particularly in relation to water bores and the use and transportation of CSG water.
Some of the key amendments in this Act for petroleum industry proponents are outlined below.
Removal of restriction on use of CSG water Continue reading
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. Continue reading
Mythical lizard haunts Australian uranium extractors Infoshop News, July 22 2012 Anti-nuclear protesters camping at what they describe as “the gates of hell” — that is, on the edge of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam uranium mine in the desert of South Australia — decided to play a game of cricket on Tuesday, July 17, in order to publicize their message: Uranium isn’t Australian.
“It’s just not cricket,” they chanted, “and that’s why we picket.”
by Peter Rugh Waging Nonviolence “…….There’s no room for nature’s business in the uranium business. That’s why BHP is digging into the belly of Kalta, the sleeping lizard who, according to aboriginal legend, lives under the rocks at Olympic Dam. BHP is sucking yellow uranium poison out of Kalta’s belly and feeding it to nuclear reactors around the world.
It already takes about 9 million gallons of water a day to wash all that poison down the throats of global markets — water sucked out at no cost to BHP from the region’s only reliable freshwater source, the Great Artesian Basin. But the Melbourne-based multinational plans to expand its mining operations at Olympic from an area of about 1,700 square miles to a terrain roughly eight times that size. The $30 billion expansion would make Olympic Dam at Roxby Downs the world’s largest open-pit mine.
An additional 53 gallons of water a day will be used up should mining at Olympic expand. The amount of diesel required to extract and transport BHP’s uranium would cause South Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket by 12 percent.
Olympic currently operates under the Roxby Downs Indenture Act of 1982, which granted BHP exemptions from laws covering native sovereignty, public disclosure, environmental impact and water preservation. The Indenture Act was amended in 2011 , when BHP began scouting out more land. Critics say the law is essentially a contract between BHP and the South Australian government for the corporation to do what it likes.
Meanwhile, the effects of BHP’s mining are felt far beyond the Outback. Approximately 4,400 tons of Australian uranium per year are used to feed aging reactors in the United States, which jeopardize the civilian population centers that they surround . A major portion of the stuff comes from BHP. The company is to Australia’s uranium industry what Nirvana was to grunge; they’ve cornered the market…..
Prior to the Fukushima disaster , Japan — after the United States and the European Union — was Australia’s third best uranium customer, importing nearly 2,700 tons a year. The uranium fuel pellets that melted down three reactor cores at Fukushima on March 11 of last year were from Olympic Dam.
Dr. Jim Green, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, accuses BHP of turning a blind eye to fraud and safety problems in Japan’s nuclear industry in the run-up to the meltdowns. Despite widespread documentation of data falsification and safety breaches, he says BHP continued to peddle its toxic product to the quake-prone nation in the run up to the Fukushima meltdowns…. http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20120722092133582
Exploration in dam catchment http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2012/04/18/299461_ntnews.html NIGEL ADLAM | April 18th, 2012 TEN mining exploration licences have been granted in the water catchment for a possible new dam. Resources Minister Kon Vatskalis denied any of the licences had been issued specifically for uranium. “Rather the authorisation allows the holder to undertake exploration within a specific area,” he said.
The licences are in the catchment for Warrai Dam, 8km upstream from Adelaide River township, 100km south of Darwin.
Power and Water Corporation boss Andrew Macrides said the $500 million dam may not have to be built for at least 20 years – and possibly not at all.
Mataranka residents surprised by mining’s right to ground water, ABC Rural News, By Steven Schubert, 02/12/2011 Members of a committee formed to develop a water plan for the Northern Territory town of Mataranka say they were never told mining operations could gain unrestricted access to ground water.
Mining operations don’t require a licence from the water controller under the NT Water Act, while other users have to apply for an allocation of ground water. Committee member Hamish McFarlane says if a mining project is formed near the town, there could be less water for irrigators and other users.
“Keeping in mind that you said before that the Water Act gives priority to mining, if a mining company came in here at this point in time and took the consumptive pool there would be no growth in Mataranka outside the mining industry.”… http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201112/s3382086.htm
VIDEO Mine expansion draws more water from basin ABC News, Paul Klaric, October 14, 2011 Scientists are concerned that the the proposed Olympic Dam mine expansion will put a strain on Australia’s greatest underground water supply. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-14/mine-expansion-draws-more-water-from-basin/3572500
GREEN LIGHT FOR OLYMPIC DAM EXPANSION THE BLOGGER IS A BHP BILLITON SHAREHOLDER. On 13 May 2011 the company announced a proposal for six-fold expansion of Olympic Dam Mine in South Australia – to extract the most valuable single mineral deposit in the world. The mine will consume up to 42 million litres of water a day from the Great Artesian Basin for plus 40 years.
USE OF THE GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN BY THAT MINE IS THE ISSUE WHICH THIS BLOG ADDRESSES
On 10 October 2011 the South Australian (SA) Government granted approval for the BHP Billiton (BHP) Olympic Dam expansion. The Indenture Bill, signed on 12 October by representatives of BHP and the State Government, will now be submitted to vote in the SA Parliament. The SA government will not terminate or suspend the current licence which entitles BHP to take 42 million litres of water each day for Olympic Dam from the Great Artesian Basin (GAB) – but BHP will in the future pay for GAB water. This failure of the SA Government to protect the best interests of the GAB represents an enormously significant strategic win for BHP.
(once again – so much news about BHP Billiton and Olympic Dam uranium mine – more items at http://nuclearnewsaustralia.wordpress.com/ )
BHP forced to pay for Great Artesian Basin water, ABC Rural By Annabelle Homer , 13/10/2011 The South Australian Government and BHP Billiton have signed an Indenture Agreement to enable the Olympic Dam mine expansion to go ahead. The Indenture Bill will be introduced to State Parliament next week to enable this agreement to be backed by the full force of South Australian law.
As part of the agreement, the company will now be charged for the water it extracts from the Great Artesian Basin and $350 million a year in royalties will be generated once the project is at full capacity….. BHP has accepted reluctantly they will now come under Environment Protection Agency, they are paying for the first time ever for the Great Artesian Basin water.”
BHP will be charged on the current NRM Board levy rate (currently $0.0318/KL) for the region (capped at $0.10/KL), for a period of 30 years from the commencement of the project.The charge will then revert to the current NRM Levy rate.
BHP will not be required to pay for water being taken on the Special Mineral Lease.
Independent environmental consultant David Noonan says the BHP is not paying enough. “He says the company will be paying $1.3 million to $1.5 million a year for essentially a precious water resource.”
The Bill also includes a 12-month sunset clause, which means the company has one year from when Parliament passes the Bill to get the approval from its Board of Directors to formally begin the expansion. http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201110/s3338957.htm
It is within the power of the Federal and South Australian governments to require, as a condition of consent to the BHP Billiton proposal, that at the time the desalination plant is commissioned, the company will surrender any and whatever licence it has to extract water from the Great Artesian Basin ….
It is our submission that, as the largest single extractor of water from the GAB in South Australia, BHP Billiton has created its own ethical obligation to the future of the GAB …
It is our further submission that this is not an economic issue, it is not even an environmental issue, it is about the ethics of any company continuing to assert its current right to a public resource when that company has the financial capacity to secure the same resource from its own private reserves. ….
Re:- BHP Billiton – Olympic Dam Expansion Proposal, 22 August, 2011 Letter to Senate Standing Committees on Rural Affairs and Transport from Richard Quilty BHP Billiton Shareholder Willem Vervoort,Associate Professor, Hydrology & Catchment Management The University of Sydney
On the dry Australian continent groundwater is the only consistently reliable source of water; it is thus an extremely valuable resource. The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is the largest of those groundwater resources.
The total value of production supported by GAB water is estimated at $3.5 billion per annum. Without that groundwater there would be little to no economic activity and in fact little opportunity for life in much of regional Australia.
Currently, many groundwater resources are over-allocated leading to declining water tables and water quality. Federal and State governments as well as private business are investing large amounts of money to rectify this problem. An example is the $140 million GABSI program to save GAB water. Continue reading
BHP Billiton: Billions in profits and not paying a cent for water in SA, Friends of the Earth Adelaide, 24th AUGUST 2011 Today mining giant BHP Billiton announced record financial results for the 2011 financial year, recording a total net profit of US$23. 95 billion, nearly double its 2010 figure of US$13.01 billion.
Despite its profits more than tripling in the last three years, BHP has never paid a cent for the vast amounts of water used by the Olympic Dam copper and uranium mine near Roxby Downs. The mine currently uses approximately 35 million litres of water a day from the Great Artesian Basin. Under the Roxby Downs Indenture Act BHP is not required to pay for this water usage.
The Indenture Act applies specifically to the Olympic Dam mine, and provides for wide-ranging legal exemptions and overrides from environmental and Aboriginal heritage protection laws that apply elsewhere in the state, including the Environmental Protection Act and the Natural Resources Act (which incorporates water management issues).
“The Indenture Act means that the Olympic Dam mine is not subject to the same environmental regulatory framework as other industrial projects in the state,’ explained Nectaria Calan of Friends of the Earth Adelaide. “Additionally, by allowing BHP to take water from the Great Artesian Basin for free, the South Australian government is essentially providing BHP with a massive subsidy,” she continued.
The water intake from the Great Artesian Basin has already had adverse impacts on the unique Mound Springs found near Lake Eyre, which are fed by the underlying Artesian Basin, and are sacred to the Arabunna people, the traditional owners of the area.
As part of the proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam mine, BHP Billiton proposes to increase its water consumption by an additional 200 million litres per day. Water intake from the Great Artesian Basin will increase to up to 42 million litres per day, with the remainder to come from a proposed desalination plant at Point Lowly. This amounts to over 100,000 litres of water per minute.
“The vast water usage of uranium mines is often forgotten in the debate about uranium and nuclear energy. Here we are, in the driest state on the driest continent on earth, host to a mine which needs millions of litres of water each day. Due to the Indenture Act, we are essentially exporting our water overseas for free,” said Ms. Calan.
The Indenture Act is currently the subject of negotiations between BHP Billiton and the South Australian government. In the near future amendments will be introduced into parliament to extend the Indenture Act to the proposed expansion.
“The South Australian government is planning to allow the largest uranium mine in the world to go ahead with legal privileges that will allow BHP an impunity characteristic of some third world states,” said Ms. Calan. “The Indenture Act should be repealed completely, allowing BHP to be subject to the same laws as other corporations operating in the state.”
Mr Mudd says a higher dam wall will mean the company will have even more radioactive water to process.
“In that sense it is still the temporary, sort of step-by-step measures,”
Ranger uranium waste water treatment plan attacked, ABC News, By Jane Bardon, 5 July 11 An environmental engineer says Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) should not have reopened its uranium mine within Kakadu National Park last month without committing to a waste water treatment plan. Continue reading
Save the Great Artesian Basin From Olympic Dam Uranium Mine, Save the Basin, 10 June 11 THE BLOGGER IS A BHP BILLITON SHAREHOLDER. On 13 May 2011 the company announced a proposal for six-fold expansion of Olympic Dam Mine in South Australia – to extract the most valuable single mineral deposit in the world. The mine will consume up to 42 million litres of water a day from the Great Artesian Basin for plus 40 years.
THAT USE OF THE GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN BY THAT MINE IS THE ISSUE WHICH THIS BLOG ADDRESSES.
The justification by BHP Billition for its ongoing demand on the Great Artesian Basin is set out at 4.3.4 of Chapter 4 of the company’s Final Proposal published on 13 May, 2011. …
…The company does intend to increase GAB extraction by 9 million litres a day as part of the mine expansion – to that extent therefore the reference in the second paragraph to “…significant improvements in water use efficiency…” is deceptive. Not a drop of the “significant improvements in water use efficiency” is offset against GAB demand by the mine……
The protection of the GAB from the expanded Olympic Dam Mine can be achieved through the Approval Process that is now in the hands of the Federal and South Australian Governments – in the form of the Conditions of Consent imposed on the company through the Approval Process.
This issue should now be brought to the attention of every Member of the Federal and South Australian Parliaments. Readers of this blog may consider passing on the details of this site to your own Member(s) of those Parliaments. Or contact the relevant State/Federal Minister – see ‘USEFUL CONTACTS’ on this site).IN BHP’s VIDEO PRESENTATION THERE IS NOT A SINGLE REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT OLYMPIC DAM WILL TAKE UP TO 42 MILLION LITRES OF WATER A DAY FROM THE GREAT ARTESIAN BASIN EVERY DAY FOR THE LIFE OF THE EXPANDED MINE (MORE THAN 40 YEARS). http://www.savethebasin.com/
the Rann Government’s lack of foresight is being clouded by the short term financial windfall created by the mine. “It’s just the cheapest, nastiest alternative,” said Melville-Smith. “There is no planning for the future of South Australia,
The Point Lowly desal plant that’s got SA squabbling Crikey Esther Ooi 23 May 11: BHP Billiton refuses to back down from its controversial plans to build a desalination plant at Point Lowly, South Australia. The plant forms part of the proposed Olympic Dam mine expansion, but fears are growing over the possible risk of significant environmental damage.
“The fact is, it is just the worst place you could put a desalination plant,” Dr. Andrew Melville-Smith, chairperson of the Save Point Lowly group, told Crikey. He also says there will be severe ecological damage on Point Lowly’s recreational, coastal and living areas. Continue reading