Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Olympic Dam: Uranium responsibilities and alternative ‘No Uranium Recovery’

“Olympic Dam Mega-Expansion Without Uranium” Report Launch

Initial Scoping – Olympic Dam Expansion Issues 22 Feb 2019 David Noonan B.Sc., M.Env.St., Independent Environment Campaigner “………..Uranium responsibilities and alternative ‘No Uranium Recovery’

 Since opening in 1988, Roxby mine has produced toward 80 000 tonnes of uranium oxide and left toward approx. 200 million tonnes of radioactive tailings to remain above ground on-site for-ever.

While this Roxby project is assessed in 2019-20 to a cited BHP Board decision in late 2020, the RioTinto Ranger open pit mine will close and go onto rehabilitation, leaving BHP’s Roxby mine and General Atomics Beverley 4 Mile mine in SA as the only operating uranium mines in Australia.

The Nuclear Free Movement & allies have a responsibility to contest this BHP Roxby mine expansion:

  • Australian uranium (from both Roxby & Ranger mines) fueled the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, always produces intractable nuclear waste, and present’s ongoing dual-use nuclear weapons risks and untenable nuclear accident risks. Australia’s uranium sales deals are also marked by secrecy;
  • Australian uranium is routinely sold to nuclear weapon states failing to honor their NPT nuclear disarmament obligations, to non-transparent regimes in China (and previously Russia), and is intended to go on to unstable regions: to the UAE in the Middle East, to Ukraine, and to India – outside of the NPT and in a nuclear arms race with Pakistan.

This BHP Roxby expansion is intended to increase and to ‘lock in’ Australia’s complicity in untenable nuclear risks & impacts, rather than the needed phase out of uranium mining and export sales deals.

In response to the prior BHP Olympic Dam open pit mine plan, the Australian Greens released a report by academic Dr Gavin Mudd “The Olympic Dam Mega-Expansion Without Uranium Recovery” (Dec 2010), with no uranium and only non-radioactive products to leave the Roxby mine.

In the public interest, this technically viable alternative mine configuration – with significant reduced water usage, should be re-appraised in light of this 2019 Roxby mine expansion plan, see the 2010 Report at: http://users.monash.edu.au/~gmudd/files/Odam-Cu-only.pdf

As Senator Scott Ludlam & SA Greens MLC Mark Parnell have said, this is a challenge to BHP and to the SA & Federal gov’s to assess credible alternatives with better environmental outcomes – both here & overseas, see the Report Launch at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qAVtPYcNmU

Note: Uranium has declined over time as a share of Olympic Dam revenue to less than 20 per cent.

ACF/ D Noonan have campaigned for ‘No Uranium Recovery’ at existing & any expanded Roxby mine…….”. https://nuclear.foe.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Noonan-Olympic-Dam-Expansion-2019.pdf

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March 9, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium

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