Australian news, and some related international items

Help BHP by making South Australia the world’s radioactive trash dump!

John Read: By storing more radioactive waste at Olympic Dam, the BHPB-Olympic-Smstruggling mine may remain profitable  Adelaide Now,11 Feb 14….

For the last quarter of a century, WMC then BHP have picked the eyes out of the deposit, mining the richest, most accessible areas through expensive underground mining. Both companies have left staff, investors and governments in no doubt that underground mining is becoming increasingly unprofitable.

However, following an exhaustive study spanning over half a decade, BHP came to the conclusion that the mighty proposed open-cut expansion, deemed essential to guarantee the longevity of the mine and the best use of the resource, was uneconomical .

Every month that the mine continues to exhaust the feasible underground resource without initiating the open cut is a month closer to a Ravensthorpe-type decision when BHP will pack up its bat and ball and leave town.

When BHP singled out the poor performance of Olympic Dam at its recent AGM, hot on the heels of the announcement of imminent closures of Ford and now Holden , the Prime Minister and SA Premier have been left considering the unimaginable: closure of one of their prime assets……

If we want Olympic Dam to survive we need to rationalise our collective views on the nuclear industry and our management of radioactive waste……….

Olympic Dam, producing 70 million tonnes of radioactive tailings each year.

We need to acknowledge that the 40 cubic metres of radioactive waste generated by hospitals, research labs and the manufacturing industry each year and held in over 100 inappropriate storages around the country, is a minute fraction of what is produced and managed every year at Olympic Dam.

We should accept that the Olympic Dam region of northern SA was identified by a comprehensive nationwide search as the optimal region for an Australian radioactive waste repository……

By storing the national radioactive waste within or next to the Olympic Dam tailings dams, the struggling mine may generate sufficient revenue to remain profitable.

February 11, 2014 - Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, wastes


  1. For someone who was so closely associated with Roxby to describe Olympic Dam as a “struggling mine” is very significant.

    Although Dr Read is a respected arid land ecologist, as far as I know, he has no expertise in uranium mining and the nuclear industry apart from what he was told by the people he associated with at Roxby. He did receive very generous funding from WMC/BHP.

    His article is very lopsided and says nothing about Roxby and nuclear waste that we didn’t hear during the debate that occurred in SA when the Federal government tried to locate its nuclear waste dump in SA. He has even returned to the old nuclear industry jargon of “repository” and refers to “radioactive” rather than “nuclear” waste. A good example of the importance of language when combating vested interests.

    His main point seems to be that he wants to help a very large multinational mining company by using public funds to rent out space for a national nuclear waste dump.

    Given his apparent lack of expertise in things nuclear I wonder how he came to write an article about nuclear waste.


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | February 11, 2014 | Reply

  2. The Editor
    The Advertiser

    John Read’s article about disposing of waste from the nuclear industry (The Advertiser, 11/2/14) is heavily laden with support for the “struggling mine” at Roxby Downs, stressing the supposed benefits and saying nothing about the costs, both financial and social.

    Given that the only new information contained in the article is a recommendation to give a very large multinational mining company taxpayer funded payment for disposing of nuclear waste then I would have thought that some indication of the author’s current relationship with this company and the nuclear industry in general would have been in order. This should take the form of either a disclaimer or an admission of conflict of interest.

    Dennis Matthews


    Comment by Dennis Matthews | February 11, 2014 | Reply

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