Australian news, and some related international items

Deplorable nuclear/uranium developments as Australia ignores the renewable energy revolution

Under cover of the Budget brouhaha, the Australian government will next week continue its quiet, below the public radar, push to pass the National Radioactive  Waste Management Bill – a draconion piece of legislation that will allow them to impose a nuclear waste dump on the Aboriginal community near Muckaty station.  It will also give the Minister for Resources, Martin Ferguson, pretty much unfettered power to make the rules on the nuclera waste dumping process.

Meanwhile, BHP Billiton now trots out the same old flawed Environmental Impact statement, so that the South Australian Government can push through approval for BHP to make Olympic Dam the world’s biggest man-made hole –  the world’s biggest uranium mine.

The sad part about this is that not only has uranium now got a very poor prospects as a profitable industry, but BHP BIlliton DOESN’T CARE IF ITS URANIUM LOSES MONEY!      As long as the copper outlook looks good –  BHP will flog off the uranium at a losing price.   That’s easier for them than to undertake measures to keep our precious Australian environment safe from toxic radioactive wastes.

The backdrop to all this is the failing nuclear industry, and the rising renewable energy revolution.  Germany leads the way.  Now Japan seem set to follow, with European countries wavering, and USA and UK mired in nuclear waste problems.

May 14, 2011 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion – flawed process, without public involvement

Concerns over Olympic Dam expansion ABC Radio PM 13 May “……….EDDIE HUGHES: The basic question, what is the best location for a desalination plant in this part of the world? has not been asked in a public way, in a way that involves the public.

That was an in-house job done by BHP Billiton. So the EIS process is really a flawed process and it raises some deeper issues about the planning regime and the development act in this state.

NICOLA GAGE: The Greens MP, Mark Parnell, claims BHP has ignored public concerns, and wants the Government to reject the location of the desalination plant.

MARK PARNELL: They’ve pretty much come back with the same plans they had from two years ago and that’s very disappointing.

But the key thing to remember is this is BHP’s vision for how they want the project to go. It doesn’t mean that the Government and the general community have to accept that as their final plan.

May 14, 2011 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Uranium – a constantly losing share price with a doubtful future

Risk fallout hasn’t left uranium stock, May 13, 2011, SYDNEY (MarketWatch) — Australian-listed uranium firms are sporting heavy year-to-date losses after the recent disaster in Japan, and while investors appear to be slowly returning to some shares, analysts say the risks haven’t gone away.

Further afield, Canada’s Cameco Corp.   has seen its stock fall 37.1% year-to-date, while Uranium One Inc.  shares are down 19.8% in Toronto.

Paladin Energy Ltd.  shares are down 32.3% year-to-date, while Extract Resources Ltd.shares are down 19.6%, and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.  shares are down 55.8%…..“It is clear to us that the market has — quite quickly — adopted a less positive outlook for uranium-fuel demand,” said analysts at Daiwa Securities, writing about recent share price movements.

The losses for the uranium-producing sector were sparked in March, when an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan and damaged Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s   Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power complex, leaving authorities battling to contain radiation leaks.

The event raised questions about the future of the nuclear-power industry, with Germany suspending operations at its seven oldest nuclear power plants while it reviews its energy policy. China suspended approvals for new nuclear power stations on March 16 — also pending a review……Rio Tinto Ltd.    unit Energy Resources of Australia hasn’t performed so well this month, with shares losing another 9.9% to trade at 4.92 Australian dollars ($5.23) on Friday in Sydney. The firm has been battling flooding at its Ranger Mine in Australia’s Northern Territory.

“To get more constructive on the stock, we would need to see progress being made in tackling the water-management problems and commitment from ERA’s board to progress the underground exploration decline,” said the Merrill Lynch analysts, who have an underperform rating on the shares.

Mega Uranium tightens its second quarter loss to $12.3 million, Winnipeg free Press, : The Canadian Press05/13/2011TORONTO Mega Uranium Ltd. (TSX:MGA) says it lost $12.3 million in its second quarter, compared to $14.5 million in the same period last year. The Toronto-based mineral resources firm is a development-stage company that isn’t generating revenues yet.

It said the loss amounts to a five cent loss per share, compared to six cents per share in the same quarter of 2010.

During the quarter, the company wrote off part of its properties in Western and Central Australia a and ended an option agreement with Forum Uranium Corp. for properties in Saskatchewan. It said the properties were not prospective and no further work was proposed….

May 14, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

BHP pushes ahead with uranium mine expansion: public will not be consulted

Time to move beyond talking: BHP Billiton.Adelaide Now  Christopher Russell May 14, 2011  THE public will be engaged, but not consulted, on the Olympic Dam expansion, BHP said yesterday. President of BHP’s uranium sector, Dean Dalla Valle, pledged yesterday to continue talking to the community but said the company had to move on to the next phase.

“The formal part is complete,” he said of public input.

Supplementary EIS released for Olympic Dam mine ABC News  May 13, BHP Billiton is today releasing its supplementary environmental impact statement (EIS) for the expansion of the Olympic Dam mine. The 15,000-page draft document was handed to the state and federal governments in December.

It contains the mining giant’s response to more than 4,000 public submissions made to the company’s first EIS, released in 2009.The South Australian Government is expected to make a decision on the development later this year.

May 14, 2011 Posted by | business, Olympic Dam, South Australia, uranium | , | Leave a comment

Now is the time for renewable energy

Renewable’s time is now, expert says Goal should be 100% reliance on alternative energy by 2050. Japan Times, By ERIKO ARITA  14 May 11 Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s request that Chubu Electric Power Co. shut down the Hamaoka nuclear power plant was valuable, though he should have reached this decision much sooner after the Fukushima crisis, according to an expert on nuclear and renewable energy.  Continue reading

May 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Namibia: it’s getting harder for Australian uranium miners to exploit the Namibians

Second mining expo to be held amid fears of ‘nationalisation’ PDF Print E-mail
Namicia Economist,  by Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa
 , 13 MAY 2011 09:41
The 2011 Mining Expo which kicks off next week in the capital is being held at a time when the mining sector faces uncertainty after government recently declared uranium, copper, coal, diamonds and rare earth metals as strategic minerals.
Last month, government through cabinet endorsed a decision that the right to own licenses for strategic minerals will only be issued to a state company.
The dramatic shift in policy has caught many investors and would-be investors unaware …..“….the mining sector’s contribution to government revenue is not commensurate with its share to the gross domestic product. Such contribution is mainly through royalties levied on the market value of the minerals. This means that Namibia benefits from its natural endowment mainly through rent-seeking. This situation is untenable” the minister said……

Union calls for a paradigm shift within the mining industry PDF Print E-mail
Namibia Economist,  by Johanna Absalom
 13 MAY 2011

President of the Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN), John Ndeutepo, says that in order to create a conducive labour environment for workers in the mining sector, there is a need for a paradigm shift…. companies try by all means to prevent its employees from being organised. Some even deny them their rights to freedom of association. It is a proven fact that one cannot make people work any longer; you will need to motivate workers in order for them to perform,” Ndeutepo added.He said that the mining labour sector is faced with great challenges that calls for urgent change. One such challenge is the ability of unions to address labour issues involving contract and agency labour cases.
According to Ndeutepo, this phenomenon is rearing its ugly face again.
“A lot of mining companies are at it to exploit people together with the minerals. They either employ people on fixed term contracts or outsource certain functions of their business simply to reduce labour costs,” he said.
“This practice results in poverty jobs where employees of these contractors sometimes earn as little as 20% of the basic salary offered by the Eastern Platinum (EPL) holder for the same job. Government through beneficiary and empowerment programmes have encouraged outsourcing by multi nationals companies but has not properly legislated this process to prevent ulterior motives. Hence the mineworkers union is fighting a bitter battle to stop this practice. As it stands now citizens of the state are being exploited together with minerals of the state.”
Another concern that Ndeutepo said needs urgent attention is health and safety.
“Quite a significant number of mining companies are paying a lot of attention on legislated safety paperwork but there is no practical attention. A lot of companies boast about their safety systems forgetting that these systems require maintenance and application from the people.”…..

Some multi national companies do not even bother to monitor adherence especially when it comes to contractors and they even end up corrupting compliance officials,” he said.
Ndeutepo also called for the recognition of unions in the sector. He said that a lot of companies cannot yet get any returns from this relationship as they view the union as an enemy.

May 14, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | 1 Comment