Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

South Australian government framed laws for BHP Billiton’s uranium mining, not for the people

Commercial vested interests of uranium mining companies are writing the script for Australia’s uranium sales deals under both Liberal and now ALP federal governments…….

South Australia should come to its senses and recognise our society’s responsibilities to get out of the uranium trade and not be made complicit in nuclear risks for BHP Billiton’s vested interests.

Our uranium fuelled Fukushima, David Noonan, The Guardian, 22 Feb 12 “……..How did the SA government perform in exercising their responsibilities after Fukushima? Indigenous people bear a disproportionate burden of impacts from uranium mining and this will certainly continue to be the case in SA
under the Roxby Indenture deal “negotiated” by the state with BHP Billiton that is being pushed through Parliament with bi-partisan support.

BHP Billiton is not bound by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 in the “Stuart Shelf Area” of some 1.5 percent of the area of SA around the Olympic Dam mine.

Aboriginal heritage obligations that apply to every other miner or developer do not apply to the Big Australian for the 70-year extended period of the Roxby Indenture, and the state further agreed that this can only be changed in future with the agreement of the company.

In response to a question by Mark Parnell, Greens MLC in the
Legislative Council, a Minister acknowledged that:

“I have been advised that BHP insisted that the current arrangements
continue and they were not prepared to consider changes to that …
and the government did not consult further than that”.

Olympic Dam has an option to produce and trade in copper and gold and
leave the uranium and the rest of the radioactive wastes at the mine
site and not fuel further nuclear risks around the world.

The state owns the minerals but chose to approve a project that seeks
to lock in uranium sales. In 2007, BHP Billiton proposed a switch from
processing a copper product on the mine site, as has been the case at
Roxby since 1988, to the new open pit mine producing a uranium-infused
bulk copper concentrate for direct sale to China.

This precedent sale of uranium in concentrates is not sanctioned under
any of Australia’s nuclear treaties and bilateral uranium sales
agreements and BHP Billiton’s plan requires a new or amended nuclear
treaty with China that would further undermine our so-called “nuclear
safeguards”.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke signed off on the company’s
plans and granted approvals for the proposed infrastructure,
processing and transport for the concentrate, pre-empting the
negotiation and signing of a nuclear treaty, its presentation to the
Federal Parliament and a required inquiry by the Joint Standing
Committee on Treaties, and a subsequent decision on whether to ratify,
to amend or to reject the treaty.

Commercial vested interests of uranium mining companies are writing the script for Australia’s uranium sales deals under both Liberal and now ALP federal governments…….
A nuclear deal with India would suit BHP Billiton’s interests in
potentially providing a second market country for the uranium-infused
bulk copper concentrate from their proposed new open pit mine, and to
allow them to lay off some of the increased uranium yellowcake
production from the pit onto one of very few remaining potential
nuclear markets in the shadow of Fukushima.

The illusion of protection in uranium sales will further unravel as
the book-keeping exercise in ASNO’s so-called “nuclear safeguards” may
fail to track uranium in concentrates in non-transparent China, as the
developing world struggles with nuclear risks that Japan was unable to
contain, and as Australian uranium continues to fuel nuclear
insecurity across the world.

It does take some five to six years to dig the pit just to reach the
radioactive ore at Roxby.

South Australia should come to its senses and recognise our society’s responsibilities to get out of the uranium trade and not be made complicit in nuclear risks for BHP Billiton’s vested interests.
http://www.cpa.org.au/guardian/2012/1536/08-our-uranium.html

February 22, 2012 - Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium |

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