Australian news, and some related international items

US uranium mining company ceases operations due to poor market prospects

thumbs-downuranium-oreCompany slows uranium mining in northern Arizona, Yahoo 7 Finance 21 Nov 13, Uranium mining company to temporarily halt operations in northern Arizona amid low ore prices. FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The only two uranium mines operating in Arizona and an associated mill in southern Utah are set to cease operations temporarily as prices for the ore decline.

Energy Fuels Resources Inc. said uranium at its Arizona One Mine in the north part of the state will be depleted in early 2014, and the nearby Pinenut Mine and the White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah, will be placed on standby next year.

The move comes after the company stopped short of extracting uranium at another mine south of the Grand Canyon near Tusayan and as per-pound prices for uranium on the spot market dip to a five-year low, in the mid-$30s. The company plans to maintain the sites so that they can begin operating if the uranium market improves……..

Environmentalists are looking to the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to ensure that the company doesn’t leave anything behind that would harm wildlife or the landscape.

“It’s a good thing on the one hand, but there’s a systemic problem in the regulations by the land management agencies that allow these mines to blink on and off at will without any review or revision in their plans of operation,” said Roger Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust.

November 20, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


ANFAAUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR FREE ALLIANCE ANFA 2013 Statement ANFA Meeting Statement 2013 The 2013 meeting of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) was held on the weekend of October 25-27 on the land of the Peramangk people in the Adelaide Hills. The Alliance brings together Aboriginal people, environment and health groups and trade union representatives concerned about uranium and nuclear projects.

The ANFA gathering was attended by representatives of the following Aboriginal nations, organisations and affiliated groups:

Alyawarr, Anmatjere, Arabana, Arrernte, Bailai, Gurindji, Iwaidja, Katyede, Koara, Kokatha/Anterkirinya, Kokatha/Mirning, Kokatha/Narrangar, Larrakia, Martu, Meriam, Mir, Eastern Torres Strait Islands, Ngalia, Nyoongar, Kunarakun, Ngarninjarra/ Pitjantjatjarra/ Yankunytjatjara, Tanganekald/Meintangk, Tjupan, Walpiri, Wajarri Yamatji, Warlmanpa, Warumungu, Wulgurukaba.

Arid Lands Environment Centre, Australian Conservation Foundation, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Conservation Council of Western Australia, Environment Centre of the Northern Territory, Friends of the Earth, Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, Hands Around the World, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Maritime Union of Australia (NSW and NT), Medical Association for Prevention of War, South Coast Trades and Labour Council (NSW), Public Health Association Australia (NT), National Tertiary Education Union (NSW), Uranium Free NSW, Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance.

Issues and concerns discussed at the meeting included: Continue reading

November 20, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Off grid solar for Australia’ s remote area mining industries

solar leasngMiners investigating off grid solar, PV Magazine 20. NOVEMBER 2013  BY:  JONATHAN GIFFORD Australia’s mining industry is investigating solar to supply some of its energy needs in off-grid and remote locations. In the resource rich state of Western Australia, estimated savings could reach an excess of AUD$2 billion……..

Australia’s mining industry may finally be making moves towards renewables, as evidenced by strong interest in the recent technology forum. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is leading the way in supporting such development. ARENA hosted the recent event in the Western Australian capital city of Perth in partnership with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy to promote renewables for mining installations.

ARENA’s support scheme, the Regional Australia’s Renewables – Industry Program (I-RAR), assists the industry with such mining applications. The program, which is accepting proposals until the end of the year, offers support for such projects in diverse ways. “We’re actually looking at a variety of support mechanisms, everything from upfront capital grants to revenue based support to what I would call contingent or risk-sharing grants on the backend,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht told pv magazine……..

Frischknecht told pv magazine that ARENA had already received a number of applications for funding and support under the regional renewables program, including mineral and natural gas extraction ventures. He said that the body has a project pipeline worth “several billion dollars” that it is currently evaluating. “In terms of technologies we’re currently looking at projects that could include solar thermal or PV, or wind,” said Frischknecht…….

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy, ARENA and Austrade are currently working on a publication to share some of the challenges to realizing mining industry renewable projects featuring case studies from existing installations.

November 20, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, solar | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste for Muckaty Station?

Crikey Clarifier: should nuclear waste be stored at Muckaty Station? Crikey, SALLY WHYTE | NOV 20, 2013
Newly minted NT Senator Nova Peris used her maiden speech to denounce plans to put a nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station, raising concerns about the impact on indigenous people. Freelance writer Sally Whyte takes a look at the issue.

In her maiden speech last week, the first indigenous woman to be elected to federal Parliament, NT Senator Nova Peris, issued a call to arms over a proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station. Peris said the NT facility would inflict “profound grief, suffering and loss on Aboriginal people”. (registered readers only)

November 20, 2013 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australian Renewable Energy Agency kicks off funding for Australian Community Renewables

Australian Community Renewables Receives Funding 21 Nov 13It’s not armed with a huge chunk of change, but a new ARENA-supported project will investigate realising the potential of community-owned renewable energy projects in Australia. On Tuesday, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced it was providing $165,280 to theUTS Institute for Sustainable Futures for a $266,280 project that aims to develop ways to growing the local community-owned renewables sector.

There’s certainly no shortage of interest in the concept – dozens of communities throughout Australia have expressed interest in developing community owned wind and solar farms; but start-up funding to get the ball rolling has been practically non-existent.

The Fund Community Energy project has been calling on the federal government to establish a $50 million grant program to support the development stage of community renewables.

While that goal is yet to be realised, the ARENA/UTS project is at least a start. Continue reading

November 20, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy | Leave a comment

South Australian Aboriginal Call For a Treaty

Don’t take our lands – Yami Lester The Stringer, by Gerry Georgatos November 16th, 2013 “……..South Australia’s Kaurna Elder and Chair of the Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association, Lynette Crocker said that instead of 99-year leases Governments should settle their differences once and for all with Aboriginal peoples with a Treaty “and instead do the right thing by all Aboriginal peoples.”

“Treaty should have come in South Australian regions in the 1830s when the colonialists dispossessed our peoples, and similarly so around Australia. But our Government does not care about Treaties, or about land rights or of doing the right thing. But we will keep the battle up and fight for Treaty. We will get it.”

“What little we have did not come easy. What happened to Australia was the Aboriginal voice rose, Gough Whitlam came along, a friend to our peoples, then the Wik decision and Eddie Mabo. Don’t’ ever imagine that Australian Governments want to give us anything. I approached the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard about Treaty, and she responded to me, ‘We don’t’ need any more bits of paper.”

“The Prime Minister said to me ‘there will be no Treaty’. We have to raise our voices to get it, we have to come together because look what is happening otherwise – land rights are disappearing, lands are being taken back, and this is what the 99-year-leases are about to make sure we lose back to them – the control of our Countries.”……


November 20, 2013 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

Ranger Uranium Mine safety record cause for concern…again

safety-symbol20 Nov 13 The Northern Territory (NT) Branch of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is very concerned that four drums used for yellowcake transport have recently been found at a property in Darwin’s rural area, as reported in local media.

 “We expect an immediate investigation into the radioactivity of these drums will follow and a further public and environmental health response will be taken accordingly.  We understand these drums have since been claimed by ERA and taken to the Ranger mine,” said Dr Michael Fonda, PHAA’s NT Branch Secretary.

 This current case follows a serious operational breach earlier this month where a Ranger mine vehicle left a controlled and contaminated area without authorisation.

“These latest incidents – in the context of more than one hundred reported safety failures over the last 30 years – continue to cast doubt on the effectiveness of the safety regulations at Ranger.  They also come at a time when ERA is seeking approval for an expansion to uranium mining at the Ranger mine with the 3 Deepsunderground project,” explained Dr Fonda.

Of further concern are comments made by NT Mines Minister Willem Westra van Holthe yesterday, suggesting less Federal Government scrutiny in future NT uranium mining projects.

“These safety incidents, along with the inherent dangers associated with the uranium industry, reinforce the importance of strict government regulation at a federal level.  The NT Branch of PHAA is calling for an urgent independent public inquiry into the safety operations at Ranger, including any proposed expansion of the industry in the region,” said Dr Fonda.

For further information/comment: Dr Michael Fonda, NT Branch Secretary, Public Health Association of Australia     0429 435 595

November 20, 2013 Posted by | - incidents, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment