Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

BHP wants the South Australian government to further weaken standards at Olympic Dam uranium mine

Initial Scoping – Olympic Dam Expansion Issues 22 Feb 2019 David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St., Independent Environment Campaigner “………   Mine Expansion Assessment – to drive down Standards?

BHP will shortly release a formal Application to the SA Gov., the SA State Planning Commission & Mines Minister will decide the level of assessment and reporting requirements, and the SA Gov. release “Guidelines” to the EIS. Public consultation & NGO input should occur on draft Guidelines.

 These Guidelines to the EIS are crucial to the credibility of the mine expansion assessment and this process is likely to be conducted before the Federal election and to be near binding thereafter.

There are a range of reasons for concern over this Roxby mine expansion project and assessment:

  • Public interest appraisal of this 2019 project needs to draw on analysis of BHP Roxby operations from 2005-06 and expansion proposals, process, decisions & conditions to 2013;
  • The outdated 1982 Indenture imposes extraordinary legal privileges and vested interests of the proponent, including over Aboriginal Heritage, that are intended to continue to apply;
  • A new SA Mining Act currently before Parliament to apply updated standards to all other mining projects in SA is not proposed to apply to SA’s largest mine: BHP Olympic Dam;
  • Roxby is also governed by the Mine Works and Inspection Act 1920 which solely provides the powers for Mine Inspectors to enter & inspect and to make Orders, however the Depart has sought to repeal this Act and roll these powers over Roxby into the proponents Indenture;
  • The SA Gov.’s Major Project Declaration has sought to impose serious limitations on this assessment, contrary to the standards, coverage, analysis and transparency that are required to inform good public interest decisions and conditions in this case

; · Successive SA Gov.’s have failed to secure a Rehabilitation Bond over the Olympic Dam mine. This process must now do so, requiring a new appraisal of liabilities over all mine operations: existing, enabling 200 000 tpa, and proposed expansion works and impacts; ;

  • Olympic Dam should be subject to a statutory mandated 100 per cent Bond applying the ‘most stringent conditions’ over estimated Rehabilitation Liabilities to ensure full costs in radioactive ore mining are secured in advance. See D Noonan submission (April 2017) to the Federal Inquiry on Rehabilitation of Mining (due to report 20 March
  • 2019): https://www.aph.gov.au/DocumentStore.ashx?id=3ecf8af6-a640-47d9-96c0-22c03df14728&subId=510447
  • Radioactive Tailings Storages at Roxby are designed and operated to leak liquid wastes, with inadequate lining to cut costs. The BHP open pit expansion proposal was also designed to leak. This 2019 expansion project is highly likely to be designed to leak and to cut costs by failing to require physical isolation of tailings from the environment for at least 10 000 years;
  • This assessment should include a range of alternatives to the proponent’s vested interest preferences, including that the ‘No Uranium Recovery’ option to only trade in copper and other non-radioactive products should be assessed across all Roxby operations;
  • The SA Gov. has a significant conflict of interest in this case and the ‘one stop shop’ Bilateral Assessment Agreement Clause 8.1, c (ii) seeks to constrain the coverage of Conditions applied by the Federal Minister. In practice, this Federal Liberal Gov. failed to impose Conditions on Radioactive Tailings Management in granting uranium mine Approvals in WA;
  • The next Federal Gov. must apply the ‘most stringent conditions’ on all uranium mining operations & reject ‘clearly unacceptable impacts’ on MNES under EPBC including on the fragile Mound Springs, as the State of South Australia can-not be relied upon to do so…….  https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Noonan-Olympic-Dam-Expansion-2019.pdf

March 9, 2019 - Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium

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