Australian news, and some related international items

BHP’s planned Olympic Dam uranium mine – a monstrosity

  • The Climate Commission reported on the urgency of the need to act now on Climate Change, while politicians squabble about the proposed carbon tax, and little is done to promote renewable energy.
  • The Australian government introduces legislation to make illegal the activities of Julian Assange abroad – (I mean Julia said he acted illegally, and she was wrong – so let’s try and change things so that Julia looks right?)
  • Australian government and our mass media pretend they don’t notice that an Australian company, Lynas, is going to dump radioactive wastes on Malaysia – where the environment rules aren’t so strong.
  • BHP Billiton releases its wonderful Environmental mpact statement on the new Olympic Dam copper/uranium mine.  But

Australia seems to be sleeping on – not recognising the gigantism of this plan –  the world’s biggest man-made hole, and probably the world’s biggerst mountain of radioactive tailings. – Christina Macpherson

Expanded Olympic Dam uranium mine – South Australia:   the waste dump AREA will cover 6720 hectares –
 that is , an area that would fit 3360 Melbourne Cricket Grounds

The PIT will  be –  4.1 km long , 3.5 km wide. 1 km deep 

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Christina reviews | Leave a comment

Gigantic scale of BHP’s planned uranium mine expansion

It’s the end of the world as we know it The Drum, Ben Eltham23 May 11,“……If you want to understand the impact of the “China and India story” on Australia’s economy, one way to do so is to have a quick glance at BHP Billiton’s plans for Olympic Dam.

This month, when the South Australian government announced it was giving a provisional go-ahead to the expansion of Olympic Dam, some of the provisional figures about this development were released. This astonishing feat of human ingenuity will see the excavation of a kilometre of rock in order to mine an ore body with the chimerical value of $1 trillion. Just getting to the ore body will take four years of digging, and at its peak, the mine will consume more electricity than the city of Adelaide – in fact, it will eventual consume about 60 per cent of South Australia’s entire electricity supply.

It will require so much water that BHP is building a huge desalination plant in the upper Spencer Gulf that will make 200 mega-litres of water every day.
The mine will operate for 100 years, producing mainly copper, a key raw material for the hungry Asian factories that make your laptops and phones. So important is it to South Australia’s economic fortunes that South Australian premier Mike Rann told The Australian Financial Review recently that that Olympic Dam was the single biggest demand on his time…..

May 24, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

The rush to dump Australia’s thorium and uranium wastes in Malaysia

Unknown to the public the poorly done Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment (PEIA) for Lynas does not cover the radiation and health concerns…… 

  • the space for underground wastes storage cells is very limited due to the groundwater being extremely close to the surface;
  • the ground is susceptible to subsidence as it is a former peat swamp area…. CAP and SAM recommend that:
    • The Lynas project be stopped in order to address the issues, including the Wastes Management Plan, which an Australian mining expert reported as being ‘yet to be disclosed by Lynas’;.

Lynas plant rushed ahead before radiation study Malaysia Kini 23 May 11 SM Mohamed Idris,  president of Consumers Association of Penang and Sahabat Alam Malaysia — The Lynas plant in Kuantan is unravelling into a nightmare. The lanthamide concentrates (rare earths) from Australia that Lynas will import into Malaysia contain thorium AND uranium, which suggests the processing in Kuantan will produce massive amount of radioactive wastes. Continue reading

May 24, 2011 Posted by | secrets and lies, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Why did Julian Assange get a more severe security notice than Gaddafi did?

Why did Julian Assange receive an Interpol Red Notice, but Gaddafi only an Orange? Independent Australia  Tess Lawrenceinvestigates the murky world of Interpol exclusively for IA, asking some troubling questions and uncovering some startling facts.

May 24, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Wikileaks | Leave a comment

Australia’s democracy weakened by monopoly mass media

Concentrated media ownership: a crisis for democracy, Independent Australia, David Donovan, Australian mass media is concentrated into the hands of a very small number of proprietors. For example, 11 of the 12 major newspapers in Australia are owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation or John Fairfax Holdings. In fact, Murdoch bestrides the Australian media landscape like a colossus—NewsCorp owns 8 of that 12, and also dominate the regional and suburban newspaper publishing industry, as well as owning a major slice of Foxtel.

The Australian people have less different voices to use upon which to make their decisions than almost any other place in the free world. And Rupert Murdoch is happy to wield his overwhelming power……Despite Australian media ownership being amongst the most concentrated in the world, at the behest of powerful proprietors, successive Australian Governments have gradually further relaxed media ownership rules….

With the extra demands placed on the dwindling number of main-stream journalists, they are increasingly reaching for stage managed events and press releases to create their stories. Pew reported that a staggering 86 per cent of stories were produced by power, with only 14% of stories resulting from actual journalism—research, investigation, interviewing sources, digging, et al.

We get most of our news from PR companies. Whilst journalism has declined, career opportunities within the public relations industry have boomed……Democracy is at stake, but the people in power aren’t listening because they are very happy with the way they can easily dominate the news cycle. Pew’s research showed that 63 per cent of stories came directly from Government officials…….

May 24, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media | 1 Comment

Renewable energy revolution – the timing is critical for Australia

The Critical Decade reinforces the science behind the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 judgement that global warming is caused by burning fossil-fuels for energy, and raises the question of possible links between recent severe floods and bushfires around Australia with human-induced climate change.
Australian Renewable Energy Revolution Critical By 2020, Renewable Energy News, by Energy Matters, 24 May 11,  The author of a new report from the Climate Commission, “The Critical Decade: Climate science, risks and responses,” says the world is running out of time to prevent serious climate events caused by global warming and warns Australia should embrace a renewable energy revolution by 2020 to offset irreversible damage from climate change.

Continue reading

May 24, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

Point Lowly desalination plant – profit for BHP, destruction to environment

 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

May 24, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, water | , | Leave a comment

Australian govt silent on Lynas dumping radioactive waste in Malaysia

“Mitsubishi took advantage of the non-existence of authorities checking licencing facilities of this nature in Malaysia,” …… “Lynas has a similar modus operandi. It would not be cost-effective to produce in Australia, and more importantly there is lax enforcement in Malaysia and so Lynas is able to operate here…..”The Australian government is silent knowing full well that the rare earth ore will be brought from Mount Weld in Australia to be processed in Gebeng and the finished products will be exported overseas while the radioactive waste dumped in Gebeng,” 

Down To Rare Earths, 20 May 11, “………Why are the residents so concerned? The process of rare earth refinery has radioactive by-products, including thorium — which is why Lynas can’t process the mineral closer to the mine in Australia. Residents are concerned about the cost to the environment and to the health of citizens of dumping huge amounts of radioactive waste. Continue reading

May 24, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international | 1 Comment

Germany’s technology means a head start in global renewable energy revolution

The expertise of carbuilders and machine-tool makers would drive the switch to renewables, Mr Röttgen said. Germany could become “a frontrunner” in the shift from fossil fuels – a move even the US and China saw as being one of the century’s key competitive challenges.

Röttgen sees rewards in non-nuclear policy, Ft,com By Gerrit Wiesmann and Quentin Peel in Berlin May 23 2011 Phasing out nuclear power in the next decade could boost competitiveness and “reap enormous pay-offs for the economy”, Germany’s environment minister has claimed in a powerful snub to critics….

Continue reading

May 24, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment