Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Cameco Corp still set on WA uranium mine, despite government knockback, Indigenous opposition

ABC Goldfields /  By Sean Tarek Goodwin, 14 Apr 2022

A multinational mining company says it remains committed to a controversial uranium project in WA, despite the state government declining to extend its environmental approval. 

Key points:

  • The WA Environment Minister has rejected an application to extend approval for a uranium mine near Wiluna
  • Traditional owners and conservationists say the decision is a relief, after half a century of opposition
  • The company says it is still determined to bring the project forward in the future

A multinational mining company says it remains committed to a controversial uranium project in WA, despite the state government declining to extend its environmental approval. 

Canada-based Cameco Corporation spent US$430 million acquiring the Yeelirrie uranium deposit, near Wiluna in the northern Goldfields, in 2012.

It is one of the largest uranium deposits in the country. 

Earlier this year, the project’s approval expired due to a failure to commence work.

Last week, WA Environment Minister Reece Whitby denied the firm’s application to have the approval extended.

Relief for traditional owners and conservationists

The Conservation Council of WA and Tjiwarl traditional owners welcomed that decision, after 50 years of campaigning against the project.

Traditional owner Vicky Abdullah said it meant a “threat” was over. 

It was a bad decision in the first place and after years in court and fighting to defend our country this news is a great relief,” Ms Abdullah said. 

Other conservationists also welcomed the decision.

“This is an important and responsible decision and is a further signal to the uranium sector that they’re not welcome in WA,” Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said. 

Cameco said it has also had a similar application for its Kintyre project in the Pilbara knocked back. 

Conservation Council Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said uranium mining had no future in WA. 

“Cameco has clearly shown that there is no economic case to mine uranium in WA, with the 2016 writedown of the Kintyre uranium proposal and the clear decision not to advance Yeelirrie,” Ms Pepper said. 

But one mine, at Mulga Rock, also in the Goldfields region is pushing forward.

“There is a lesson here for Vimy Resources and their investors – who are bucking the trend and are continuing to throw more money at their beleaguered Mulga Rock project – that mining uranium in WA is uneconomic,” Ms Pepper said.

Company not backing away

Cameco Corporation declined an interview with the ABC, but said market conditions had hindered the project. 

“Economic conditions and the state of the uranium market since the project was approved did not support significant expenditure on development activities,” communications director Jeff Hryhoriw said.

But the major mining company said it was committed to the long-term prospect of mining the mineral in WA. ……………………….

Project’s controversial history 

The ABC revealed last year the mine was approved by the former federal environment minister Melissa Price without key protections strongly and repeatedly recommended by the government’s own experts.

The approval occurred on the eve of the 2019 election, which most expected the government to lose.

An email from Cameco chief Simon Williamson to the federal government in the days before the 2019 federal election.(ABC )

Secret emails obtained by the ABC showed the approval occurred following intervention by Cameco and then-resources minister Matt Canavan, both of whom asked for the process to be expedited. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-14/wa-uranium-mine-cameco-yeelirre-project-reece-whitby/100991146

April 18, 2022 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Conservation Council of Western Australia continue their long fight for the environment, and to stop uranium mining.

This week we are celebrating a huge step forward in our sustained campaign to keep the door closed to uranium mining in Yeelirrie.  We have received word that a request made by the Canadian mining company Cameco to extend the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium project has been rejected by Minister for Environment Reece Whitby. In 2018 and 2019, we challenged this approval in court. Now it has expired and time is running out for the uranium trade in WA.

This is a huge win for the local area, the communities and for life itself. The special and unique lives of the smallest of creatures, endemic subterranean fauna found nowhere else on earth would have most likely been made extinct had this project gone ahead, according to the WA EPA. 

We are now pushing for further protection. Under new provisions in the Environmental Protection Act s47A – Minister Whitby can withdraw approvals where the “commencement” condition has not been met. We are calling on the Minister to withdraw approvals for Yeelirrie, Wiluna and Kintyre – as all three projects have failed to meet these commencement conditions.  For over five decades Traditional Custodians from the Yeelirrie area have fought to protect the site from uranium mining.

Hundreds of supporters have spent time on country with Traditional Custodians, listening, walking, connecting with the country and standing up for a nuclear-free future. Traditional Owners, unions, faith groups, health groups, the WA and Australian Greens and WA Labor, and environment groups, we’ve all had a big part to play. For the full report and to heart what Traditional Owners, Kado Muir and Vicki Abdullah had to say please click here.

We are currently growing our campaign to protect Mulga Rock on Upurli Upurli Nguratja country, east of Kalgoorlie. This is WA’s one uranium project that has so far slipped through the next and last week through a merger this project is now being advanced by a team with links to the destruction at Juukan Gorge and dodgy mining operations in Malawi and Namibia. And we will continue to push for a withdrawal of approvals for Yeelirrie, Kintyre and Wiluna.

April 7, 2022 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Perth could be the first city in the world to be nuclear bombed, in the (unlikely)event of Putin deciding on a show of nuclear strebgth

Frightening graphic reveals the horrific carnage a nuclear bomb would cause in Australia’s biggest cities – as Vladimir Putin’s nuclear sabre-rattling sparks global fears

  • President Putin has put his military on ‘nuclear alert’ over war in Ukraine 
  • Such an attack would cause mass devastation and prove a point to the west
  • However experts say it’s highly unlikely Putin will want to start a nuclear war 

By KEVIN AIRS FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA,  3 Msr 22,  A devastating Russian nuclear missile nicknamed ‘Satan’ could flatten every major Australian city if it’s unleashed in the very unlikely event of all-out nuclear war, experts have warned…………………………….

Curtin University nuclear expert Victor Abramowicz  ….. 

‘Using battlefield nuclear weapons would be an unmitigated disaster for Ukraine, but you’d need multiple steps for that to lead to missiles flying at Washington and Moscow”. ‘

Bizarrely though, Perth in Western Australia could be the first place in the world to be targeted if Putin tries to prove a point and frighten the west into thinking a bigger city could be on the cards next.

NATO generals have war-gamed various situations to pinpoint where Russia may target if it was ever to lash out in a bid to get the West to buckle to its demands.

And bombing Perth – because of its remoteness from nearby civilisation – emerged as a terrifying possibility.

They feared Russia may nuke Perth as a show of power and determination while still avoiding engaging the US in mutually-assured nuclear Armageddon.

Despite potentially killing up to half a million in the nuclear bombing, future effects would be limited, with the radiation fallout confined to the vast desert outback. …………

If Perth was specifically targeted by one of the Satan missiles, the effects would be devastating 

If the Satan warheads explode in a 10MT airburst over Perth, modelling by Nukemap predicts 505,000 fatalities instantly, with another 575,000 injured. 

A surface blast would restrict casualties to 327,000 dead and another 420,000 casualties, but it would taint the land for centuries to come with fallout spreading 1000km inland…………….. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10562917/Russia-Ukraine-war-happen-nuclear-bomb-dropped-Australia.html

March 3, 2022 Posted by | weapons and war, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners welcome expiry of uranium mine approval, but the fight isn’t over

Traditional Owners welcome expiry of uranium mine approval, but the fight isn’t over, NIT by Giovanni Torre 28 Jan 22,- Yeelirrie area Traditional Owners have welcomed the expiry of the environmental approval to mine uranium on their land.

The approval conditions for mining at Yeelirrie, near Wiluna in central Western Australia, required the proponent, Cameco, to substantially begin mining within five years. On 20 January 2022 the approval expired with that condition unmet.

Traditional Owners have fought against mining at Yeelirrie since the 1970s when the uranium deposit was first identified by Western Mining Corporation.

Kado Muir, Tjiwarl native title holder, Ngalia leader of Walkatjurra Walkabout and Chair of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance said that over the past five decades “our community got together, stood up strong and has fought off three major multinational corporations”.

“Today we celebrate that Cameco cannot mine at Yeelirrie,” he said.

Shirley Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder said: “Our community has come together over this issue and we’ve been clear that mining at Yeelirrie will not happen.”

“That area is important and we have a responsibility to protect that country and keep the uranium where it is. When you stay together and united and you don’t let mining companies push you around you can protect country,” she said.

Mr Muir said Traditional Owners were calling on the state government to not extend approvals to mine at Yeelirrie and to withdraw the approvals entirely.

Lizzie Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder said the community has “campaigned so long” to stop mining at Yeelirrie “because of the Seven Sisters, the importance of that area, because of the dangers of uranium when you dig it up and because of the risk of extinction of the stygofauna”.

“It’s time now to put an end to the mining threat at Yeelirrie. Withdraw the approval.”

…………Federal level approval for the proposed Yeelirrie project was granted in 2019, before the Federal Election, without key protections repeatedly recommended by the Federal Government’s experts.
…….. A spokesperson for Western Australian Minister for the Environment Reece Whitby confirmed on Tuesday that Cameco has applied to the Minister for an extension on the Yeelirrie uranium project and the Minister is waiting to receive a briefing. https://nit.com.au/traditional-owners-welcome-expiry-of-uranium-mine-approval-but-the-fight-isnt-over/

January 29, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Environmental protection prevails over uranium in Western Australia, with expiration of a third mining approval


Extinction threat over for Yeelirrie as uranium mine approval expires, 
https://www.miragenews.com/extinction-threat-over-for-yeelirrie-as-uranium-710566/  The controversial Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia is no longer able to proceed after the proponent missed a deadline to commence works at the site in WA’s Goldfields.

The Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) welcomed the news, saying community resistance and environmental protection had prevailed.

Global uranium mining giant Cameco, headquartered in Canada, had five years to demonstrate ‘substantial commencement’ on the Yeelirrie uranium mine before environmental approvals expired on 20 January 2022.

Yeelirrie is the third of four WA uranium projects to have had its approval lapse after Cameco’s Kintyre uranium mine expired in March 2020 and Toro Energy’s Wiluna project expired earlier this month.

The federal environment minister infamously gave the green light to the Yeelirrie project knowing it was likely to send up to 11 species of unique subterranean fauna to extinction and would harm the Malleefowl, Princess parrot and Greater bilby.

Plans to mine uranium at Yeelirrie have been widely opposed by the Indigenous community around the site, which is on Tjiwarl Native Title determined country.

The Cameco proposal threatened an area which forms part of the Seven Sisters Dreaming songline and is referred to as ‘a place of death’. The word Yeelirrie translated to the word Yullala – which means to weep or mourn.

Vicki Abdullah, a Tjiwarl woman who has long campaigned against uranium mining on Tjiwarl country, said “Yeelirrie is an important cultural site, our families and old people have fought against mining at Yeelirrie for 50 years. There is a strong feeling of responsibility to keep the uranium there at Yeelirrie and we’re happy that as of today Cameco cannot mine that place.

“We’ve spoken to the Government many times and we hope they will do the right thing and withdraw the approval all together. Yeelirrie should never be mined and this government can make sure it is safe forever.”

Dave Sweeney from ACF said “There have been no new uranium mines started in Australia for a decade and with only two still operating it is increasingly clear there is no economic case for uranium mining in Western Australia.

“The sector has never made sense, now it doesn’t even make dollars.”

Mia Pepper from CCWA said “After 50 years of tireless campaigning to protect Yeelirrie we are now looking forward to the introduction of lasting protections against uranium mining in WA.”

January 22, 2022 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

In Western Australia, first Cameco’s Kintyre uranium project was disallowed, now Toro’s uranium project also rejected

Nuclear Free WA, K-A Garlick. Nuclear Free Community Campaigner

13 Jan 22 On Monday we got confirmation from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation that the  Wiluna uranium mine cannot be developed as their environmental approval expired on 9 January 2022 – having failed to “substantially commence” mining. 

Toro could apply to extend the approval but we are hopeful that any request would be rejected. In March 2020 Cameco’s Kintyre approval expired and their request to extend denied. This is a good precedent. We are also tracking the Yeelirrie project which is due to expire on 20 January 2022. We are looking forward to other opportunities to secure lasting protections against uranium mine proposals in WA. Stay posted. 

January 13, 2022 Posted by | politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Traditional Owners and environment groups vow to fight Mulga Rock uranium decision

Traditional Owners and national and state environment groups say a decision
by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation to allow a
controversial uranium mine in WA’s Goldfields to proceed is unjustified and
inconsistent with the evidence.

The Mulga Rock uranium project has been declared to have met an important
‘substantial commencement’ condition that is required to maintain crucial
environmental approvals.

A condition of the Mulga Rock approvals – issued by the former Barnett government
– was that the proponent, Vimy Resources, must “substantially commence” mining
by 16 December 2021. Failure to meet that condition would have prevented the
company from pursuing the mine.

The company has failed to meet with the Upurli Upurli Nguratja registered Native
Title claim group, which is entitled to negotiate on an Area Use Agreement.

The company has continually failed to engage with and respect Traditional Owners
or understand processes and protocols on meeting with the claimant group.

Campaigners say to advance the project without consulting with the group is
disrespectful and out of step with community expectation and best industry practice.
“It’s very clear that as a native title group we don’t want uranium mining on our
country,” said Upurli Upurli Nguratja claimant Debbie Carmody. “This decision has
sidelined our voice and undermined the Native Title process”.

“Any progress to continue to develop this mine is done without consent and without
even having met with our claim group. We have been let down by the company and
now by the Government.

“We will continue to fight this project and stand up for our country and culture.”
Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said it
was fanciful to say the project has substantially commenced.

“We will continue to fight this project and stand up for our country and culture.”
Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said it
was fanciful to say the project has substantially commenced.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Nuclear Free campaigner Dave Sweeney
said while the company had done some premature and destructive clearing at the
site, it was not substantial

“If this mine proceeds it would cause unacceptable harm to the environment,
including damage to vital habitat for the endangered sandhill dunnart, which is found
in only a handful of locations across Australia.

“Vimy does not have the necessary finance and has not made a Board level decision
to pursue this mine. It still needs a range of approvals, permits, licences and
agreements.”

The Conservation Council of WA and the Australian Conservation Foundation, which
have opposed uranium mining in WA for several decades, are reviewing today’s
decision and exploring all available avenues to stop this mine from proceeding.

December 17, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Environmentalists and Traditional Owners very dissatisfied with Western Australia’s Environment Department ‘s ruling supporting uranium project.

Green groups angry over uranium project milestone, Stuart McKinnonThe West Australian, 16 Dec 21,

Environmentalists are livid after Vimy Resources was deemed to have met a key milestone in its approvals process that allows it to pursue the development of its Mulga Rock uranium project.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has ruled that the company has begun “substantial commencement” of the project 290km east of Kalgoorlie, an essential component of its approval five years ago.

The former Barnett Government approved the controversial project on December 16, 2016, but ordered that Vimy must have substantially commenced work within five years.

The company had submitted to the DWER that substantial works had begun last month based on the recent clearing of about 143ha, expenditure of more than $20 million over the past five years and a further $8m to be spent on early works before the end of January.

But green groups and Traditional Owners say the decision to allow the project to proceed is unjustified and inconsistent with the evidence.

A statement released jointly by the Upurli Upurli Nguratja claimants and the WA Conservation Council argued the company had failed to meet with the registered Native Title claim group, which is entitled to negotiate a land use agreement.

They say to advance the project without consulting with the group is disrespectful and out of step with community expectation and best industry practice.

Vimy’s works to date have been a clumsy last-minute attempt to hold on to controversial environmental approvals for a toxic commodity that has no social licence.

Upurli Upurli Nguratja claimant Debbie Carmody said the decision had sidelined the group’s voice and undermined the Native Title process.

“We will continue to fight this project and stand up for our country and culture,” she said.

CCWA Nuclear Free campaigner Mia Pepper said it was fanciful to say the project had substantially commenced.

“Vimy’s works to date have been a clumsy last-minute attempt to hold on to controversial environmental approvals for a toxic commodity that has no social licence,” she said.

Ms Pepper said the clearance work completed to date represented just 4.27 per cent of the intended clearing and the company’s expenditure represented just 2.2 per cent of the total estimated capital costs.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s Nuclear Free campaigner Dave Sweeney said the mine would cause unacceptable harm to the environment, including damage to vital habitat for the endangered sandhill dunnart, which is found in only a handful of locations across Australia.

The CCWA and the ACF, which have opposed uranium mining in WA for decades, said they were reviewing today’s decision and exploring all avenues to stop the mine from proceeding.

Vimy executive director Steven Michael said the confirmation of substantial commencement was testament to careful planning and executive by the company and was consistent with the Mulga Rock Project Implementation Plan.

“Vimy can now advance Mulga Rock to the next stage of development and will continue to work closely with State and Federal departments to secure the remaining approvals required to bring the project into production by 2025,” he said.

However Vimy is yet to make a final investment decision or nail down a funding solution for the $US255m ($355m) project.

Its shares closed up 1.5c, or 8 per cent, at 20.5c on Thursday.

December 17, 2021 Posted by | environment, politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Traditional owners say Vimy Resources is not listening to Aboriginal people

Tom Robinson Kalgoorlie Miner, Tue, 30 November 2021

Debbie Carmody spoke at Vimy’s AGM as a proxy for a shareholder. 

A Goldfields Aboriginal woman has taken her people’s opposition to Vimy Resources’ proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine to the company’s inner sanctum, and says Vimy is not listening to traditional owners.

Anangu Spinifex woman Debbie Carmody is descended from displaced Aboriginal people, who were forced off their country at Maralinga in South Australia by nuclear testing in the mid-20th century.

Now, she is a prominent voice against the proposed uranium mine 290km east of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, within her traditional lands on the Upurli Upurli Nguratja native title claim — which was registered on January 22 this year.

She believes her people’s cultural and social relationship with their country is threatened by the prospect of uranium mining.

Ms Carmody travelled to Perth last Friday to join protesters at Vimy’s AGM, and spoke at the meeting as a proxy for a shareholder who was in opposition to the Mulga Rock proposal, and bought the shares to gain access to the company’s meetings.

Conservation Council of WA protesting against the proposed uranium mine in front of Vimy’s AGM last week. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

Ms Carmody said she told the AGM that Vimy had not consulted with UUN traditional owners and outlined the fears she holds for her country, but she said her protests fell on deaf ears.

“Our people have a long history with radioactive fallout and our families have died and have suffered rare and painful deaths as a result of radiation poisoning,” she said.

“We want to protect our special sites, the flora and fauna, and the underground water. We want to protect the destruction of our homelands.”

Last Thursday, Vimy Resources rejected claims it had not consulted with the UUN group, with interim chief executive Steven Michael saying the company met with Central Desert Native Title Services, which was acting on behalf of UUN.

But Ms Carmody said this did not represent proper consultation and felt the miner should have spoken to the UUN group directly.

“Vimy claimed to have consulted with Central Desert Native Title Services, I pointed out that they are not UNN with whom you should be speaking to,” she said.

“I also stated that all registered Native Title claimants have a right to negotiate, and therefore Vimy is not following due process.”

The company was given five years to begin work on Mulga Rock as part of ministerial approval for the controversial project issued on December 16, 2016 — at last week’s AGM the company listed a series of milestones it had met in the interim including the recent clearing of about 143ha at the site, but it is yet to make a final investment decision.

Ms Carmody said the clearing was disrespectful and showed “a lack of social value, moral and ethical leadership”.

December 2, 2021 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

There must be a Conservation Plan before uranium mining operations are permitted at the fragile ecosystem of Mulga Rock, Western Australia

 

Nuclear-Free W,A, 28 Oct 21, We focus on Vimy Resources Mulga Rock environmental approvals, expiring on the 16th of December.  The State environmental approval states under condition 3, that the company must, ‘substantially commence’ by 16 December 2021. Vimy have had five years to get up and running and now we are seeing the unnecessary and unwanted clearing of an airstrip and re-establishment of the mine camp at Mulga Rock in an attempt to demonstrate ‘substantial commencement’.  This is deeply disturbing when we have argued that the project still lacks crucial information and approvals such as; 

they have not entered negotiations with the Upurli Upurli Nguratja registered native title claimant group and do not intend to negotiate with them;  

they do not have a final investment decision to develop the mine;they do not have a Works Approval that they require from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation;

they have not completed the Sandhill Dunnart Conservation Plan – a Federal requirement for the endangered species that has been recorded at the Mulga Rock area.

We are of strong view that no substantial works should be allowed at the site in the absence of a Conservation Plan for the increasingly vulnerable Sandhill Dunnart. 

October 28, 2021 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

No-one can get finance to build a uranium mine in Australia.

NO-ONE CAN GET FINANCE TO BUILD A URANIUM MINE IN AUSTRALIA   https://www.ccwa.org.au/no_finance_toro?utm_campaign=nuclear_news172&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa
BY K-A GARLICK JULY 26, 2021  
 CCWA nuclear-free campaigner Kerrie-Ann Garlick attended last week’s Toro meeting to raise concerns that the company’s most recent uranium proposal differs from its currently approved plan.

Toro Energy’s general meeting last Friday heard the death toll sounding on WA’s uranium hopefuls.

Toro Chair Richard Homsany told the meeting that no one can get finance to build a uranium mine in Australia. He also acknowledged that Toro’s conditional environmental approval for its stalled Wiluna project expires on January 9, 2022. From this date, Toro will not be able to mine without making project changes that would require further state government scrutiny and approval.

In 2017 the McGowan Labor government introduced a policy ban on uranium mining in WA but inherited four uranium mine proposals with existing approvals granted by the former Barnett government. By the end of January 2022, the current Ministerial approvals for all four of the states proposed uranium mines will expire if they do not commence mining.

Approval for Cameco’s Kintyre expired and was not renewed in March 2020, Vimy Resources Mulga Rock project approval expires in December 2021 and both Yeelirrie (Cameco) and Wiluna (Toro) are set to expire in January 2022. If any of these companies want to mine they will need to seek approval for amendments to Ministerial conditions. This may trigger a new assessment or a suite of other conditions being applied.

CCWA nuclear-free campaigner Kerrie-Ann Garlick attended last week’s Toro meeting to raise concerns that the company’s most recent uranium proposal differs from its currently approved plan. “Toro is now focused on developing a JV uranium project at Lake Maitland. This is completely separate from the existing approval for the Wiluna project and would require a whole new environmental assessment. It is our view that this could not be advanced because of the existing policy ban on uranium mining in WA.”

“The Wiluna uranium mine proposal is uneconomic and they don’t have the funding to develop it. There is almost no scenario in which the Wiluna uranium mine could be developed ahead of the approval expiry in January 2022”

“It is refreshing that the Toro Board are realistic about the current highly negative market conditions for uranium. No one is financing uranium mines and that is unlikely to change by January. It is increasingly likely that we will reach a point in January 2022 where there are no operating mines and no active approvals for uranium mining in WA,” Ms Garlick concluded.

July 29, 2021 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Mulga Rock Uranium Project – VIMY’S MINE – UNWANTED AND UNECONOMIC

VIMY’S MINE – UNWANTED AND UNECONOMIC, https://www.ccwa.org.au/vimy_s_mine_unwanted?utm_campaign=nuclear_news164&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa By Mia Pepper
Deputy Chair of the Mineral Policy Institute.   BY KIM SMITH  JUNE 02, 2021

Vimy Resources (aka Narnoo Mining) advertisement in Saturdays Kalgoorlie Miner is part of an extended last-ditch attempt to start a mine that is unwanted, uneconomic, does not have full and final approval or the financing needed to start mining.

Saturday’s ad suggests that Vimy will begin work at the site in Q4 2021. There are several critical elements for mining to commence that are not yet in place and are unlikely to be resolved by Q4 2021. The companies Mine Closure Plan and Mine Plan are not yet approved by the Department of Mines and previous attempts to have these plans approved have failed. There are also Works Approvals, export and other licenses and permits that are still required. The company does not have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Upurli Upurli Nguratja Native Title claimant group – pre-empting mining without an ILUA drastically impacts that groups ability to negotiate or determine what should or shouldn’t happen on their country. 

Perhaps the clearest pre-requisite to begin mining is a company’s Final Investment Decision and the finances to cover the capital costs. Without the ability to fund the project and meet the requirements of mining any ground-disturbing activities are pre-emptive and irresponsible. The capital cost for the Mulga Rock project is $493 million. Vimy’s March quarterly report shows Vimy raised over $18 million, since then they have raised a further $9 million. $27 million is a far cry from the $493 million needed to meet full capital costs. But it is enough to do some serious damage in the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community in the Great Victoria Desert, home to the endangered Sandhill Dunnart and other important vulnerable, migratory and priority species of flora and fauna. The company’s share value is down 97% since their inception in 2008 and has a long way to go to secure finance for a project that is just not economic. Until the company can demonstrate they have the capital funds to get the project off the ground they should not be allowed to embark on pre-emptive ground-disturbing activities.

One thing more dangerous than a uranium mine is an uneconomic uranium mine and ideologically driven company. Despite the lack of funding, final licenses and permits, an ILUA, social license and bipartisan support Vimy’s Mulga Rock project still presents a very real threat to the environment and the WA taxpayer. The WA government should make decisions based on evidence, not enthusiasm and should not facilitate this poorly considered project.

June 3, 2021 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Senior Morrison government ministers support Iluka’s plan to reprocess rare earths (no mention of what they would do with the radioactive wastes)

Iluka finds favour in bid to build rare earths refinery, W.A. Today, By Nick Toscano, May 11, 2021

A proposal to build the country’s first full-scale rare earths refinery has secured the support of senior Morrison government ministers, as Australia works to position itself as a key supplier of raw ingredients in smartphones, electric cars and wind turbines.

The board of ASX-listed Iluka Resources, a $3.6 billion company, is assessing the feasibility of developing a refinery at Eneabba in Western Australia to process rare earths – a group of elements used in a range of high-tech products and military weapons systems……..    https://www.watoday.com.au/business/companies/iluka-finds-favour-in-bid-to-build-rare-earths-refinery-20210511-p57que.html

May 13, 2021 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

New research into the effects of nuclear bomb tests on Montebello islands

 

March 22, 2021 Posted by | environment, weapons and war, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Time for Australia to clean up uranium mining damage, and end this toxic industry

It’s time to clean up not start up!    https://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=21352 On this 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is time to learn one simple lesson; radioactive risk is more constant than a politician’s promise. It is time to move beyond the risk of opening a uranium mine to safely rehabilitating existing exploration and trial mine sites. If we fail to act and allow small unproven company assurances to take the place of evidence, then we are both failing those affected by Fukushima and increasing the odds of fuelling a future one.

By Kerrie-Ann Garlick – , 12 March 2021
On the 10th anniversary of the Australian uranium-fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is time for a rethink on uranium Australia-wide and for WA to look beyond mining towards rehabilitation. WAs four proposed uranium mines and the 85 exploration sites have been unable to develop into mines and all pose serious environmental, economic and public health risks. Some of the companies involved no longer exist, others are hanging on by a thread. With a stagnant uranium price and a global nuclear power industry that is struggling to maintain status quo, we should be looking to clean up Barnett’s failed attempt to establish uranium mines in WA and close that chapter in our history book.

Ten years after the devastating earthquake and Tsunami and subsequent multiple reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Fukushima is still one of the most radioactive places on earth. It remains a profound human, economic and environmental tragedy one that was fuelled by Australian uranium. In Parliament in 2012 Dr Robert Floyd, Director General, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation confirmed that Australian uranium was in each of the reactors at the time of the meltdown. Following the disaster, the UN Secretary General urged every uranium producing country to hold “an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of mining fissionable material on local communities and ecosystems.”

Our government did not respond to the catastrophic disaster at Fukushima with any kind of review of our role in supplying uranium. There was no critical review from Australia of the warning signs we missed with TEPCO who had a history of falsifying records, mismanagement and accidents.

In the decade since the disaster there have been no new uranium mines in Australia. After 40 years of imposed mining in Kakadu the Ranger uranium mine has now closed and in attempting rehabilitation. Uranium mining in Australia is now confined to South Australia with just two operating mines – Olympic Dam and Four Mile and three mines – Honeymoon, Beverley & Beverley Four Mile – all in extended ‘care and maintenance’ (not closed but not operating). What is needed to make sure Australian uranium is not fuelling another Fukushima nuclear meltdown, is clearly to leave it in the ground.

The four uranium projects, Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Mulga Rock have all been unable to proceed in the face of high operating costs, a low uranium price and continued and sustained community opposition to mining uranium. With the imminent expiry of environmental approvals for the four uranium sites, the WA Government has an opportunity and a responsibility to manage these sites in a way that protects the environment, public & workers health and the WA taxpayers. The incoming government would be uniquely placed to legislate a ban on uranium mining in WA avoiding a repeat of the last decade of uncertainty, legal and procedural battles, and significant government resources.

There are a further 85 exploration sites, of those 56 projects are listed as being inactive or suspended of those 23 do not have an active owner, any rehabilitation of those sites would now be a cost to WA taxpayers. The risk of uranium will far outlive the uranium companies who have exploration sites across our state. The WA government should act now and ensure the best possible rehabilitation outcomes for those sites while there are still companies who can be held to account.

Small uranium companies like Vimy Resources who have the Mulga Rock uranium proposal to the NE of Kalgoorlie and Toro Energy with the Wiluna proposal, and underdeveloped projects like Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie have been deferred or placed on extended care and maintenance due to the depressed uranium market and low commodity price. Their time is up, we need to start to clean up these sites – not lock in an industry that has a history of being constrained by political uncertainty, that has a consistent lack of social license and one that has been met with strong Aboriginal and community resistance.

On this 10th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is time to learn one simple lesson; radioactive risk is more constant than a politician’s promise. It is time to move beyond the risk of opening a uranium mine to safely rehabilitating existing exploration and trial mine sites. If we fail to act and allow small unproven company assurances to take the place of evidence, then we are both failing those affected by Fukushima and increasing the odds of fuelling a future one.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | environment, Western Australia | Leave a comment