Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Yeelirrie uranium project court outcome shows environment laws in need of urgent repair

Conservation groups are calling for state and national environment laws to be strengthened, following today’s confirmation that the Yeelirrie uranium mine approval was valid, despite advice that the project would lead to the extinction of several unique species and was contrary to key principles of environmental law.

Conservationists, Traditional Owners, and supporters of the campaign against the Yeelirrie uranium mine gathered today to hear the news that their legal challenge against the mine approval had been unsuccessful in the WA Supreme Court of Appeal.

Approval for the Yeelirrie mining proposal in the Northern Goldfields of WA was granted during the final days of the Barnett Government, against the recommendations of the WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and against the outcome of a subsequent appeal process.

The EPA found that the project would cause the extinction of multiple species of subterranean fauna and the complete loss of a species of saltbush, concluding that the proposal could not meet key objectives of WA’s environmental legislation.

In July 2017, the Conservation Council of WA (CCWA) and three senior members of the Tjiwarl Native Title group lodged a Supreme Court challenge seeking to overturn the environmental approval. After this challenge was unsuccessful, the decision was appealed by the applicants.

Vicki Abdullah, Traditional Owner and Tjiwarl Native Holder said, “We are disappointed, but glad we took this to court, to defend our country and expose the problems with environmental law in this state. We won’t give up – our country is too important. We will continue to fight for Yeelirrie and to change the laws.”

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said that the outcome of the case demonstrated that Western Australia’s environmental laws needed to be urgently strengthened.

“This case has confirmed our worst fears – that it is legally admissible for a Minister to sign off on a project against the advice of the EPA and in the knowledge that it would cause the extinction of multiple species.

“The decision demonstrates that our environmental laws are badly broken. Our community fought for these laws decades ago, and they were never intended to be used by a Minister to commit wildlife to extinction.

“We are calling on the McGowan Government to strengthen our environment laws to give proper protection to our wildlife and its habitat, and to ensure that Ministers cannot make decisions which cause wildlife extinction at the stroke of a pen.

“For the sake of all wildlife across our state, we were determined to challenge what we believe was an appalling precedent set by the previous State Government.

“We have been proud to take this action together with three incredible Tjiwarl Traditional Owners who have stood up for over 40 years to protect their sacred lands and culture from uranium mining.

“The case has drawn national and international attention to the issue and prevented early commencement of the mining project.

“Since this legal action commenced, the economic outlook for uranium mining has significantly worsened, and the community resolve to prevent extinction at Yeelirrie has strengthened. There are also a number of significant hurdles that this company needs to pass before it can commence any mining at Yeelirrie.

“Conservation groups will not give up our fight to prevent extinction at Yeelirrie. The project may have passed in the court of law but it has failed the court of public opinion.

“We will consider options for further appeal of this decision, and we will continue to vigorously engage with the project to ensure the highest level of scrutiny is applied at all approval stages.

“The mining company can expect a long, expensive process if they want to continue pursuing plans to mine uranium at Yeelirrie.

“We thank those who have supported this case to be heard by the WA Supreme Court, and the WA Environmental Defenders Office for representing CCWA and the Traditional Owners in the matter.”

Further Comment:

Piers Verstegen, CCWA Director – 0411 557 892
Kerri Anne (to arrange interviews with the Tjiwarl Women) – 0401 909 332

Further Information:

Background: http://www.ccwa.org.au/yeelirrie_legal_challenge 

Yeelirrie in the Northern Goldfields is part of the Seven Sisters dreaming and has many important cultural sites, all under threat from the proposed uranium projects. The community has fought against the proposed mine for over 40 years, and neighboring pastoralists have joined the fight in recent years.

The Cameco mining proposal was rejected by the EPA but approved by the Barnett Government.

The approved project would involve:
•    A 9km long open mine pit and processing plant
•    Clearing 2421 hectares of native vegetation
•    Use of 8.7 million litres of water per day
•    Generation of 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits
•    Extinction of several unique species found nowhere else on Earth

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August 1, 2019 Posted by | legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Hasty, secretive federal approval of Yeelirriee uranium project shows contempt for the scientific environmental evidence

New light on WA uranium mine approval sparks call to put environment before economics,  WA Today. By Cameron Myles, July 10, 2019 — New light shed on the “clandestine” approval of a uranium mine in Western Australia’s outback has sparked calls to beef up the country’s environmental laws, amid concerns the minister responsible prioritised the economy over the environment.Then-environment minister Melissa Price signed off on Cameco’s Yeelirrie project near Wiluna on April 10 this year, the day before the federal government called the May 18 election.

News of the project’s approval did not emerge until around Anzac Day later that month, with no releases announcing the minister’s decision, prompting Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney’s call that it was a “clandestine approval under the cover of a national election”.

Yeelirrie, which sits within the boundaries of Ms Price’s vast federal electorate of Durack, had a long history of resistance.

It was previously rejected by the WA Environmental Protection Authority which flagged, among others, concerns about the project’s impact on 12 species living underground and in the water table.

Some species were only found in the area covered by the project and there were fears they could go extinct as the miner dug through groundwater to get to the uranium below.

It was later approved at a state level by the then-Barnett government, and several options on how to proceed were presented to Ms Price by the federal Department of the Environment and Energy on April 5 this year.

But the release last week of a statement of reasons from Ms Price – secured by the ACF – has revealed she signed off on the project with a less stringent set of environmental conditions than those recommended by the department, noting that if she attached the more onerous conditions “there is a real chance that the project could not go ahead”.

“I was satisfied that if the project did not go ahead and the social and economic benefits would not be realised, this would have an adverse effect on the region and the State as a whole,” Ms Price wrote.

The Wilderness Society WA state director Kit Sainsbury said the revelation meant the minister put economic and social conditions ahead of what should be her primary consideration – the environment.

“To see both at the state and federal level such contempt for the scientific evidence suggesting that this project is environmentally unsustainable – yet receiving approval – is galling and highly contentious,” he said.

“As the Yeelirrie decision proves, too often decisions affecting the environment are made behind closed doors … a national body with teeth can stand up for the communities which need it and their country they honour.”……….

Tjiwarl native title holders and conservationists are also appealing a Supreme Court decision against their challenge to the WA government’s approval of Yeelirrie, which Ms Price had previously told media she would wait for the outcome of before signing off on the approval. …….. https://www.watoday.com.au/national/western-australia/new-light-on-wa-uranium-mine-approval-sparks-call-to-put-environment-before-economics-20190709-p525mx.html

July 13, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Lithium is valuable for many clean devices, but we can’t just ignore the wastes from its mining

Enormous lithium waste dump plan shows how shamefully backward we are SMH, Emma Young, 25 June 19 Emma Young covers breaking news with a focus on science and environment, health and social justice for WAtoday.  We are all – well, all of us who are privileged enough – existing on a spectrum somewhere between “concerned” and “downright panicking” about human impact on the environment.

We look forward to the day our economy transitions to 100 per cent renewable energy, the sun and wind power our homes and lithium batteries store this energy to be used when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.But here’s the rub: the lithium used to make these batteries must be torn from underground, just like oil, gas and coal.

Western Australia holds some of the world’s richest known lithium deposits and now has an emerging industry to process that lithium here, not just ship it to China as previously done.

It’s part of a plan to make us more than just the world’s quarry; a bigger player in an industry promising big money, and bring jobs and industry to the South West.

But we have run up against a reality, in the very recognisable area of the Ferguson Valley: a reality predictable, yet startling.

Lithium mining will leave its own scars on a landscape already littered with tens of thousands of abandoned mining voids, pits, equipment and piles of tailings – and create its own waste.

In WA’s South West, processing of spodumene ore from the Greenbushes lithium mine will result in 600,000 tonnes per year of waste material being dumped – or ‘stacked’, if you want the euphemism – only 3.5km outside the charming little town of Dardanup.

Let me repeat that: 600,000 tonnes per year.

The existing landfill there, where Cleanaway has applied to take the spodumene tailings to, is already highly visible from the road as you drive towards the region’s flagship wineries.

The application has offended the residents who already put up with dust, rubbish and runoff from the existing and already enormous landfill site.

They are being told that the number of jobs the industry will create for WA justifies the intrusion on their idyll.

To them, it’s on the nose.

And it’s not just sand and dirt. It’s waste of a kind so new to Australia that they had to get samples from China to find out what to classify it as.

Cleanaway submitted to the EPA that it was inert and non-toxic waste.

Yet no sustainable market exists for its reuse.

“By storing tailings in dedicated storage cells, in the event a sustainable market for reuse was developed, the material might one day be recovered,” it submitted, optimistically, to the Environment Protection Authority considering its proposal.

Somehow, I find it hard to believe that it is any miner or processor’s priority to find or develop such a market.

Subject to EPA and Joint Development Assessment Panel approvals, this waste will pile up in Dardanup for decades……. https://www.smh.com.au/national/enormous-lithium-waste-dump-plan-shows-how-shamefully-backward-we-are-20190621-p52054.html

June 25, 2019 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

New explorer for rare earths in W.A. – doesn’t mention processing, or radioactive wastes

Krakatoa Resources acquires WA rare earth project as China threatens export ban  https://smallcaps.com.au/krakatoa-resources-acquires-wa-rare-earth-project-china-threatens-export-ban/

Perth-based mineral explorer Krakatoa Resources (ASX: KTA) has acquired an exploration licence application over an area considered highly prospective for rare earth elements (REE) in Western Australia.

The company today announced its acquisition of a 100% interest in Mt Clere rare earth project, with the licence expected to be granted within five to nine months.

The project covers a 403sq km area about 200km northwest of Meekatharra in WA’s Gascoyne region.

It is considered prospective for three REE deposit styles: monazite sands in vast alluvial terraces; Chinese-type ion adsorption clays in extensive laterite areas; and carbonatite dyke swarms.

The primary exploration target is monazite, which is an important ore for thorium, lanthanum and cerium, though, most monazite also contains additional uranium, calcium, strontium, silica and lead, and sometimes sulphur. Continue reading

June 20, 2019 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Vimy Resources managing director Mike Young talks up uranium industry, despite its gloomy market

Vimy Resources eyes US uranium fix, Stuart McKinnon, The West Australian 1 June 2019  Vimy Resources managing director Mike Young refers to himself as a “silver-lining guy” and jokingly admits “you have to be … in uranium”.

The Andrew Forrest-backed Vimy has a completed definitive study for its $493 million Mulga Rock uranium project 200km east of Kalgoorlie, has two granted mining leases and other key approvals in place. It just needs the price of yellowcake to roughly treble so it can push the button.

The spot price of uranium has been in the doldrums since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, which prompted a phasing out of nuclear power in western countries, particularly in Europe.

Despite several false dawns, sentiment for the commodity has remained stubbornly low for the past eight years.

But the forthright Mr Young and Vimy’s chief nuclear officer Julian Tapp are hopeful the market might be approaching an inflection point.

They see a looming decision of the US Government as a potential catalyst to move uranium prices higher.

President Donald Trump is expected to decide next month whether to introduce trade restrictions to protect US-based uranium producers……..

If a quota is introduced, the company is hopeful Australia’s close relations with the US could win the country key concessions as it has done with aluminium and steel.

But whatever the outcome, Vimy believes a decision will provide clarity to a market starved of certainty for the past 18 months. US utilities, representing nearly a third of the global uranium demand, have effectively been on a buying strike since the start of last year.

… Politically, people are now thinking of nuclear as an avenue to emissions-free, dispatchable power 24/7 in all weather conditions,” Young said. “There’s still an anti-nuclear lobby, but by and large mainstream environmental scientists are getting on board nuclear power.” ….. https://thewest.com.au/business/spinifex/vimy-resources-eyes-us-uranium-fix-ng-b881212458z

June 3, 2019 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Yeelirrie has a low grade of uranium, and Cameco has closed McArthur River mine with a much higher grade

It’s not worth wiping out a species for the Yeelirrie uranium mine, SBS,   BY GAVIN MUDD  “……. So are the economic benefits worth wiping out a species?

Short answer: no. But let’s, for a moment, ignore these subterranean animals and look at whether the mine would be beneficial.

Yeelirrie is one of Australia’s largest uranium deposits – and yet it has a low grade of 0.15 per cent (as uranium oxide). This refers to the amount of uranium found in rock. For comparison, the average grade of uranium mines globally is normally 0.1 to 0.4 per cent of uranium oxide (with some higher and others lower).

And Cameco’s Cigar Lake and McArthur River mines in Canada have typically been 15-20 per cent of uranium oxide. Despite such rich ore, McArthur River was uneconomic and closed indefinitely in early 2018.

What’s more, the future of nuclear power is not bright. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, the number of nuclear reactors under construction around the world is at its lowest point in a decade, as renewable energy increases. The amount of nuclear electricity produced each year is flat. And nuclear’s share of global electricity is constantly falling behind renewables……..https://www.sbs.com.au/news/it-s-not-worth-wiping-out-a-species-for-the-yeelirrie-uranium-mine

April 27, 2019 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

It’s not worth wiping out a species for the Yeelirrie uranium mine

SBS,   BY GAVIN MUDD  26 Apr 19,     Like the rest of the Western Australian outback, there’s a wonderful paradox where the land appears barren, but is, in fact, rich with biodiversity – and animals are under threat of extinction if the mine goes ahead.   The Western Australian outback may look bare at first glance, but it’s teeming with wildlife, often beneath the surface.

The Tjiwarl Traditional Owners have fought any uranium mining on their land for the last 40 years, and the decision by the government wasn’t made public until the day before Anzac Day……..

This region is home to several of Australia’s deposits of uranium and not only holds cultural significance as part of the Seven Sisters Dreaming Songline, but also environmental significance. If the mine goes ahead, groundwater levels would drop by 50cm and wouldn’t fully recover for 200 years. And 2,422 hectares of native vegetation would be cleared.

I visited the site 16 years ago and, like the rest of the Western Australian outback, there’s a wonderful paradox where the land appears barren, but is, in fact, rich with biodiversity.

Native animals living in underground water, called stygofauna, are one such example of remarkable Australian fauna that aren’t obvious at first glance. These animals are under threat of extinction if the Yeelirrie uranium mine goes ahead.

Stygofauna  are ecologically fragile

Most stygofauna are very tiny invertebrates, making up species of crustaceans, worms, snails and diving beetles. Some species are well adapted to underground life – they are typically blind, pale white and with long appendages to help them find their way in total darkness.

n 2016, the Western Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advised against building the Yeelirrie uranium mine because it would threaten the stygofauna species there, despite the proposed management strategies of Cameco Australia, the mine owner.

Stygofauna are extremely local, having evolved in the site they’re found in. This means individual species aren’t found anywhere else in the world. EPA chairman Tom Hatton said:

Despite the proponent’s well-considered management strategies, based on current scientific understanding, the EPA concluded that there was too great a chance of a loss of species that are restricted to the impact area.

Yeelirrie has a rich stygofauna habitat, with 73 difference species recorded.

And to get to the uranium deposit, the miners need to dig through the groundwater, a little like pulling the plug in the middle of the bathtub. Stygofauna have adapted to living at different levels of the water, so pulling out the plug could dry out important parts of their habitat.

Stygofauna are also susceptible to any changes in the chemistry of the groundwater. We simply do not know with confidence what mining will do to the groundwater chemistry at Yeelirrie in the long term. Various wastes will be backfilled into former pits, causing uncertainty for the welfare of surrounding stygofauna.

The approval conditions suggest that the mine should not be allowed to cause extinction – but if this does happen, nothing can be done to reverse it. And there would be no penalty to Cameco either – which has said it can’t guarantee such a condition can be met………..https://www.sbs.com.au/news/it-s-not-worth-wiping-out-a-species-for-the-yeelirrie-uranium-mine

April 27, 2019 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian Aboriginal community uses solar hydropanel to solve problem of uranium in water

Buttah Windee in remote WA now has clean water thanks to solar hydropanel technology   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-31/solar-hydropanels-fix-water-supply-in-remote-community/10941788?fbclid=IwAR2j446RfOuRIZNBC0K1xY6CWBq3Jnn48zx0b-WiuI8o96Jklb-bL1pfZHQ

Key points:

  • Six solar hydropanels have been installed in the small WA community, capturing 900 litres of water a month from the air
  • The community had discovered its water supply contained uranium more than twice the national health standard, and the State Government deemed it too expensive to address
  • With the help of crowdfunding and technology donated by a WA company, the residents of the community no longer need to live elsewhere

The remote Aboriginal community is 760 kilometres north-east of Perth on the outskirts of Meekatharra.

Almost a decade ago, resident Andrew Binsiar discovered the community’s water was tainted with naturally occurring uranium at more than twice the national health standard.

“I was actually very surprised,” he said.

“You’d imagine people would test the water for human consumption before people are allowed to drink it.”

Unable to drink the community’s tap water, most of the 50 people who lived at Buttah Windee left.

Too expensive to fix: State Government

But for Andrew Binsiar and his wife Janine, leaving the home where they had raised their five children was not an option.

He turned to the State Government for help, but was told fixing the water supply would be too expensive.

“They come out and put up ‘do not drink the water’ signs and that was their solution to it,” Mr Binsiar said.

The State Government offered to move the remaining residents into state housing in Meekatharra, but Mr Binsiar was apprehensive about exposing his family to the town’s social issues.

“We knocked them back … for the simple reason I’d already been there and done that. My life changed when I moved here,” he said.

“I wasn’t a very good father when I lived in Meeka.”

Solar hydropanels pull water from air

Almost a decade on, Buttah Windee is the first remote Aboriginal community in Australia to use innovative technology for its water supply.

Six solar hydropanels have been installed at the outback community, donated by a WA company who heard about the community’s plight and wanted to help out.

Director of Wilco Electrical Frank Mitchell said the units captured water from the air and produced up to 900 litres of water a month.

“Those fans, you can hear them whirring away, are just drawing in air all day, all around, and the piece of material inside collects … the moisture in the air, then condenses down into the tank where it’s got a pump straight out to the tap,” he said.

Mr Binsiar said it was a simple idea, which should be introduced to all remote communities.

“Water is a basic human right that everyone deserves,” he said.

“It could mean better health for your children … I would guarantee that most communities have bad water.”

Crowdfunding rallies support

The near decade-long battle for clean drinking water has not come easily for the Buttah Windee residents, with Mr Binsiar turning to crowdfunding as a last resort.

Word spread quickly when Mr Binsiar began the fundraising campaign last year, and people from across Australia donated nearly $26,000 in three months.

“It was a huge success. The Australian public have been awesome,” he said.

Mr Binsiar used the funds to install a reverse osmosis water treatment plant.

“Reverse osmosis takes out all the contaminants in the water … on the back end of it, it puts the minerals your body needs back into the water,” he said.

“They’ve given us a chance where no-one else would and we are really proud of what we have done here.”

Barramundi fish farm to boost employment

The two separate systems now supply the community with safe drinking water and enough water to run a small barramundi fish farm.

Mr Binsiar and several residents built the fish farm hoping it would eventually provide local employment and a potential source of income.    “Hopefully we can continue on and make it bigger and provide this region with fresh barramundi,” he said.

“I’d like to welcome everyone out to Buttah Windee and come and look at the work we do.”

April 1, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Lynas considers relocating its rare earths processing to Western Australia

Lynas looks to WA, not Wesfarmers, for its Malay solution, WA Today, By Hamish Hastie, Colin Kruger and Darren Gray, March 27, 2019 Western Australia might hold the key to Lynas Corp’s future despite the rare earths miner rejecting a $1.5 billion takeover offer from Perth-based Wesfarmers on Wednesday.

WA’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) confirmed it had recently met with the company to discuss approvals in the state.

“These discussions are preliminary in nature and no formal submission for any change has been presented to the EPA,” a spokeswoman for the agency said.

The discussions could help solve the problems in Malaysia which threaten the company’s future, and made it vulnerable to what analysts and investors described as a low-ball bid from Wesfarmers on Tuesday.

Lynas faces an uncertain future after the Malaysian government imposed strict new conditions on its billion-dollar Malaysian operation which could force it to shut down in September.

This includes the permanent removal of a residue with naturally occurring radiation, Water Leached Purification Residue (WLP), from Malaysia.

According to institutional investors, Lynas discussed plans last month to relocate some of its rare earths processing back to Western Australia. All processing is currently handled in Malaysia.

Lynas chief executive Amanda Lacaze denied there was any plan to extract and retain the controversial WLP residue in WA – the state where it is mined – but did confirm it planned to expand its processing operations outside of Malaysia.

She confirmed that Western Australia was a contender.

We operate in a growth industry and we are looking at how we grow our business with the market,” Ms Lacaze said.

According to the EPA, in February 2017 the rare earths miner applied to make changes to conditions of its rare earths operation at its Mt Weld mine in Laverton, 700 kilometres north east of Perth, and “secondary processing” at Meenar in the Shire of Northam 100km north east of Perth.

Lynas received approval for the mine and Meenar processing facility in 1998, but decided to set up its processing plant in Malaysia instead.

Anti-nuclear groups had fought the facility in both countries over concerns about rare earths radioactive by-product thorium.

Speaking of the approvals, Ms Lacaze said “it’s not something that we have specifically refreshed for any purpose”.

On Wednesday, Ms Lacaze played down the Wesfarmers bid, saying the highly conditional nature of the approach meant there was “nothing substantive with which to engage”.

“This business is not for sale,” she told the media after the company said “it will not engage with Wesfarmers on the terms outlined in the indicative and highly conditional proposal”.

Lynas said its key assets included its position as “the only significant” rare earths miner and processor outside of China, and its Mt Weld ore body – a long life Tier 1 asset……… https://www.watoday.com.au/business/companies/lynas-looks-to-wa-not-wesfarmers-for-its-malay-solution-20190327-p5186c.html

April 1, 2019 Posted by | rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Adani protesters shut down WA Parliament, ejected from public gallery

 WA Today, By Nathan Hondros, March 19, 2019 Protesters against a coal mining project in Queensland briefly shut down question time in WA Parliament on Tuesday.

About eight protesters in the public gallery interrupted Housing Minister Peter Tinley to shout slogans about Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin…….https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/western-australia/adani-protesters-shut-down-wa-parliament-ejected-from-public-gallery-20190319-p515kv.h

March 20, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Dismissing Aboriginal objections, Leonora Shire Council, (Western Australia) wants an underground nuclear waste dump!

Outback WA council keeps hand raised for nuclear waste facility, as legal action halts progress on SA sites ABC North and West ,By Gary-Jon Lysaght , 12 Mar 19, While the search for a place to store Australia’s nuclear waste remains on hold pending a decision by the Federal Court, a small council in outback Western Australia still has its hand raised as a potential site.

Key points:

  • Kimba and Hawker in South Australia are being considered as sites for storing nuclear waste
  • A company called the Azark Project has a proposal to store waste in a “seismically stable” location near Leonora in the WA Goldfields
  • The Federal Government says it is currently not considering Leonora as a potential location

Leonora, a WA Goldfields town about 200 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie, is being touted as a potential location for an underground nuclear waste disposal facility.

The Federal Government is considering sites at Kimba and Hawker in South Australia for an above-ground facility capable of permanently storing low-level waste and temporarily storing intermediate-level waste.

Nuclear waste being stored at Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) would be sent to the nuclear waste disposal facility…….

He said the Azark proposal was to store low-level and intermediate-level waste underground on a permanent basis. ……

Leonora not being considered

The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science said it was currently not considering Leonora as a potential location and that detailed studies were continuing at the three nominated sites in South Australia.

Lyndhurt and Napandee are the properties near Kimba being considered and the site near Hawker is called Wallerberdina Station.

A proposed community ballot on support for the facility in Kimba and Hawker has been on hold pending legal action.

The Leonora Shire Council remains in favour of a nuclear waste facility near the town, saying it could provide jobs and much-needed infrastructure for the small town.However, Leonora Shire President Peter Craig said that support could wane because of what he described as a lack of consultation from Azark.

“Azark did have a community meeting back in April 2018, which was pretty positive, there were some questions that still needed to be answered,” he said.

“To this day, in our view, as a council, Azark have failed in consultation work with the community…….

Mr Craig said Azark had consulted people one-on-one but not in a wider group since the 2018 meeting. ……

Cultural and environmental concerns

Throughout the site selection process at both Kimba and Hawker there has been opposition from local Aboriginal groups, who say a facility would impinge on sacred land.

Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said local Aboriginal groups at Leonora remained strongly opposed to the facility.

“[Azark] says there’s no chance of any impact on water — there’s no evidential basis for that,” he said.

“They say there is no cultural or heritage issues — that is contested by local Aboriginal people.

“When this was first flagged, Aboriginal people who have deep concerns about this proposal got a petition together that rapidly got, in a number of days, around 500 signatures.

“In a remote region, that’s a quick and significant expression of concern.”……

Mr Sweeney said the Federal Government should stop the site selection process.

“We desperately need, right now, for the brakes to go on the federal process at Kimba and at Hawker and an independent assessment of the best ways we can manage radioactive waste.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-12/goldfields-council-continues-support-for-nuclear-waste-facility/10887644?pfmredir=sm&fbclid=IwAR1mUzAfXLzOl5CeF41xkST82NALrwTf4xs8pVRnfW5v5U1FS9KxJZoLX04

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Traditional owners and Western Australia’s Conservation Council continue legal action, to uphold environmental law  

Battle against Yeelirrie uranium mine continues for traditional owners and Conservation Council     https://thewest.com.au/business/uranium/battle-against-yeelirrie-uranium-mine-continues-for-traditional-owners-and-conservation-council-ng-b881125927z 5 March 2019  Traditional owners and the Conservation Council of WA are continuing their fight against a proposed uranium mine, fearing unique subterranean fauna in the project area will be made extinct if it proceeds.
Former State environment minister Albert Jacob gave the green light to Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal in January 2017, just 16 days before the pre-election caretaker mode began. Yeelirrie is 70km southwest of Wiluna in the Mid West region.Together with members of the Tjiwarl native title group, CCWA challenged the approval in the Supreme Court but lost, and have now taken their   battle to the Court of Appeal.  CCWA director Piers Verstegen said the previous government was desperate to lock-in a uranium project before it lost power, going against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority, which was concerned about the impact of mining on subterranean fauna.

“Stygofauna might be a relatively obscure species. In fact, these particular species of stygofauna were not known to science until the proponent started exploring for uranium in that area,” Mr Verstegen said on Tuesday.

“But the legal precedent here has much broader implications.

“We’re certainly very keen to be upholding environmental laws … which were never intended to be used by a minister or a government to approve the extinction of species.”

The matter was heard on Tuesday and a decision will be handed down at a later date.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, legal, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and three Tjiwarl Traditional Owners in court battle against uranium mining

WILDLIFE AND TRADITIONAL OWNERS REPRESENTED IN LANDMARK LEGAL CHALLENGE http://www.ccwa.org.au/landmark_legal_challenge?utm_campaign=nuclear_news68&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ccwa

The Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and three Tjiwarl Traditional Owners have continued their landmark legal bid to prevent the extinction of multiple species and protect Aboriginal lands from uranium mining at Yeelirrie, with a hearing in the WA Court of Appeal today.

The Yeelirrie mine proposal by uranium miner Cameco in the Northern Goldfields on Tjiwarl Native Title land was approved by the Minister for the Environment in the final days of the Barnett Government, against the advice of the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and against the outcome of an appeals process.

The EPA found that the proposal would cause the extinction of multiple species of subterranean fauna.

Bret Walker SC, Dr Hannes Schoombee, and the Environmental Defenders Office WA (EDOWA) represented Traditional Owners and CCWA in the legal challenge to the environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium mine.

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said, “This important case is seeking to prevent the extinction of multiple species at Yeelirrie, and uphold the rights of Traditional Owners to protect sacred country from uranium mining.

“Mr Walker is one of Australia’s most eminent legal minds and his involvement with this case is an indication of its national legal significance.

“The approval of extinction at Yeelirrie at the stroke of a Minister’s pen cannot go unchallenged because it sets a dangerous precedent for all wildlife across Western Australia.

“We are proud to stand with three members of the Tjiwarl Native Title Group, Shirley and Elizabeth Wonyabong and Vicky Abdullah, who have been fighting to protect their country from uranium mining for many years.

“As well as the threat of extinction, Cameco’s uranium project would have a major impact on the landscape and ecosystems at Yeelirrie. It would involve a 9km open mine pit and processing plant, clearing 2421 hectares of native vegetation, and generating 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits.”

EDOWA Principal Solicitor Declan Doherty said, “This is a landmark case to test how Western Australia’s primary environmental law should be applied.

We argued that in approving the Yeelirrie uranium mine, Minister Albert Jacob failed to correctly follow the process set out in the relevant legislation.

“It will be an important test for how the legislation should be applied, which could have significant implications for future decisions of this kind.”

March 7, 2019 Posted by | legal, opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia bushfire a threat to homes and lives

WA bushfire a threat to homes and lives https://www.sbs.com.au/news/wa-bushfire-a-threat-to-homes-and-lives  26 Jan 19   Authorities in Western Australia say a bushfire burning in Perth’s northern suburbs is a threat to lives and homes. An emergency warning has been issued for a bushfire burning out of control in Perth’s northern suburbs with authorities warning of a threat to lives and homes.

The fire at Jandabup is burning in an area near Sydney Road and Ross Street and a nearby pine plantation.

“The bushfire is moving fast in a north-westerly direction. It is out of control and unpredictable,” Emergency WA says.

Spot fires are also starting up to 300 metres ahead of the fire front.

Authorities say the best escape route is to the southwest, using Badgerup Road but anyone still planning to leave should follow the directions of fire crews.

January 27, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Ngalia man Kado Muir opposed Warren Mundine’s pro nuclear campaign for Western Australia

Response to Warren Mundine, letter published in the Australian Financial Review, Kado Muir, April 2012, http://nuclearfree.wordpress.com/media/?preview=true&preview_id=11&previ…

(at left Kado Muir) It’s time to stop radioactive racism

Globally the nuclear industry is in decline and has been for a long time. The price of uranium was briefly inflated along with false dreams of a nuclear renaissance, in reality the industry is waning. The Fukushima disaster reminded both communities and financial institutions that nuclear power is far too risky for life on this planet.

In Western Australia we have a very aggressive uranium exploration program, sponsored by the State Government, yet deeply opposed by the people. We have a strong history of resistance against uranium mines and a proud history of stopping these mines. In the 1970′s my elders fought against uranium mining at Yeelirrie. In the 1980′s people from the Western Desert marched down St Georges Terrace in the thousands against uranium mining on their lands and we are proud to say we’ve never had a uranium mine in WA. We are going to keep it that way.

Warren Mundine wrote to the Financial Review promoting the nuclear industry. He wants uranium mining, he wants nuclear power and he wants the international community to dispose of its nuclear waste here, all on our lands. Mr Mundine does not speak for us here in Western Australia and has no right to talk about what should or should not happen on our country.

Some of the communities who are being barraged by these wanna be miners have generations of knowledge about uranium ‘poison’. We know better than most, the dangers of uranium. We also have generations worth of experience in dealing with mining companies , of witnessing their broken promises and the deep enduring failures of government to protect our country and people.

We don’t need someone from the East Coast, from Canberra or Canada to tell us what we should or shouldn’t do. Uranium stays in the ground. We have a saying, “Wanti* Uranium, leave it in the ground!” (*leave it)

The nuclear industry across Australia takes it’s toll on Aboriginal communities; from the nuclear weapons testing in Maralinga and Monte Bello island, from the trial mines in Wiluna, Yeelirrie and Manyingee in WA, to the abandoned mines in the NT & Queensland at Rum Jungle and Alligator River and Mary Kathleen, the existing mines at Ranger and Beverley and Roxby Downs in SA. The defeated proposed waste dump in South Australia now proposed for Muckaty Station in the NT. This industry preys on remote Aboriginal communities keeping everything out of sight and out of mind.

Across Australia there has never been a uranium mine that has not leaked radioactive mine waste into the environment, this industry has been tried and consistently failed.

The risk to our lands, to life itself far outweigh the measly rewards, the few jobs on offer, the State government royalties. It is not worth the long term damage to our country and to our water.

These mines will only last for 10 years or 20 years but as custodians we have thousands of years of waste. Long after this State government is a memory, long after the mining companies have gone broke we will be living with the radioactive legacy of their greedy short term ambitions. I and the people of West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance will not sell future generations short.

Kado Muir is the Chairperson of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance, he is a Ngalia man and a custodian for Yeelirrie – one of the uranium deposits under exploration by BHP Billiton.

January 24, 2019 Posted by | politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment