Australian news, and some related international items

Uranium mining radioactively pollutes Kakadu National Park

Mine fears grow as pollutants flow to Kakadu, Sydney Morning Herald, LINDSAY MURDOCH May 24, 2010

MILLIONS of litres of radioactive water from the Ranger uranium mine have flowed into internationally acclaimed and World Heritage-listed wetlands in Kakadu National Park.

Traditional owners say they will oppose plans for a huge expansion of the 30-year-old mine by Energy Resources of Australia, unless the company upgrades outdated environmental protection procedures.

The Rio Tinto-owned ERA has tried to play down an alarming and unexplained spike in contamination in water flowing from the mine into Kakadu’s Magela Creek between April 9 and 11, The Age can reveal.

About 40 Aborigines live downstream from a site where a measure probe recorded up to five times the warning level of electrical conductivity, which is a measure of contaminants including uranium, sulphate and radium……..

In another unreported mishap at the mine, in December a poorly engineered dam collapsed, spilling 6 million litres of radioactive water into the Gulungul Creek, which flows into Kakadu.

Yvonne Margarula, a senior Mirarr elder, said the company tells her people ”only the good stuff … They don’t tell us the whole story. [They] treat us mob like something else, like we don’t know, like kids.” She was worried that Aboriginal children swam and fished in the polluted creeks.

Justin O’Brien, the Gundjeihmi corporation’s executive officer, said the traditional owners decided to make their concerns pubic despite having good relations with the company on other issues.

He said unless the company changes its environmental procedures, the Mirarr will not support any expansion of the mine………..The mine, 250 kilometres south-west of Darwin, has had more than 150 spills, leaks and licence breaches since it opened in 1981. ERA has been warned repeatedly about its management of the mine. Mine fears grow as pollutants flow to Kakadu

May 24, 2010 - Posted by | environment, Northern Territory, uranium, water | , , , , , , , ,

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