Environment and health groups call for end to Angela Pamela uranium uncertainty
Less than 2 weeks out from the election residents of Central Australia are left with the threat that either party could proceed with approval for a uranium mine at Angela Pamela, putting at risk the health of residents, our underground water supplies and the local environment.
The Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) and the Public Health Association of Australia NT Branch (PHAA-NT) are calling on all parties and candidates to grant certainty to the Alice Springs community by committing to the enacting the Special Reserved Land status for Angela Pamela, thus protecting the site from any future mining activity.
In December 2011 the ALEC and PHAA-NT independently wrote to Minister Kon Vatskalis on behalf of Alice Springs residents concerned with the proposed development of a uranium mine within the Water Control District of Alice Springs. The letter requested the Minister to follow through on pre-election commitments to protect the deposit from mining.
Both groups specifically called upon the Minister to use powers granted under the Mineral Titles Act (2010) to act in the interest of the community and essential environmental services by granting the site a Special Reserved Land Order under Section 112 of the Act. The move would require the Minister to request a surrender of the current exploration license, giving certainty to the people of Alice Springs that any future government would be required to undertake a 30 day community consultation period before the Special Reserved status could be lifted.
ALEC Coordinator, Jimmy Cocking stated ‘The current uncertainty around the possibility of a uranium mine at Angela Pamela hinders our progress as a ‘world class’ solar city, a water smart town and reduces the desire for locally grown produce.’
On the eve of entering caretaker government status Minister Vatskalis responded by dodging the question of why in two years the government has taken no action to formally protect the Angela Pamela deposit, and instead reiterated NT Labor’s non-binding policy position to oppose a uranium mine at the site.
PHAA NT Branch Secretary Clive Rosewarne stated “This election we are looking for candidates to make a genuine and binding commitment to ensure the Angela Pamela deposit stays in the ground, and that means making the Minister genuinely respond to community pressure by invoking the Special Reserved Land provision of the Act”.
For further information/comment: Jimmy Cocking, Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC) 0423 511 931 Clive Rosewarne, Public Health Association Australia (NT Branch) 0487 282 303
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