Australian news, and some related international items

Radioactive dust storms from uranium mine will threaten Australia’s cities

Dust storm envelopes Coober Pedy, South Australia – September 27 11, Christina Macpherson    Dust storms can travel thousands of km, from South Australia – the Olympic Dam uranium mine area,   to three capital cities, and even to New Zealand.

These winds travelled similarly to the 2009 Red Dust storm and went across to NSW and through Victoria. Coober Pedy is just East of Emu Field.

Weather forecast was : A vigorous front moving across South Australia 28 September 2011, with west to southwest winds averaging 60-km/h with damaging wind gusts in excess of 80 km/h

RED DUST STORM TWO YEARS AGO to the week was: Forecast September 2009    A vigorous front moving across South Australia 22-25 September [2009], with west to southwest winds averaging 60-70 km/h with damaging wind gusts in excess of 90 km/h.

This time around, Australia’s capital cities have been lucky. Not like two years ago, when dust covered dozens of towns and cities in three states, affecting Adelaide , Melbourne and blanketing Sydney. The dust from the Olympic Dam region might have carried radioactivity –  the uranium mine then , and now,   an underground mine.

But what happens when Olympic Dam uranium mine becomes the world’s biggest open cut mine?

Similar wind storms will happen.  But then the winds will be carrying the  radioactive dust from BHP Billiton’s massive mountain of tailings. The waste rockpile (overburden) will be an enormous mountain on the landscape, 150 metres high and up to 8 kilometres wide.

BHP Billiton themselves admit – or is it boast ? – that this giant mine will alter the region’s weather patterns – to such an extent that aircraft flight paths will have to be changed.

Wake up, city-dwelling Australians – the radioactive threat of Olympic Dam means that Coober Pedy’s dust storms will concern you, too

September 30, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Olympic Dam, uranium | | Leave a comment

Expansion of Olympic Damn uranium mining is not yet certain

it is a lengthy process as BHP lines up all the necessary government approvals before taking the project to its board next year.

South Australia digs deep to take part in mining boom Telegraph UK 28 Sept 11, Deep in the South Australian outback, change is in the air. Quite literally in fact, since the plans under way to develop the Olympic Dam mine will create a site so vast that it is expected to affect local weather patterns.

Negotiations are now in advanced stages to give BHP Billiton the go–ahead to turn its existing operation some 560km (350 miles) north of Adelaide into the world’s biggest open cast mine. Continue reading

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, uranium | , | Leave a comment

Uranium mine expansion to damage marine life, leave huge radioactive wastes

plans for the desalination plant would pose a major risk to local marine life……..”Under no circumstances should the governments involved in the assessment of the supplementary EIS approve of this desalination plant,”

it will dump more than two cubic kilometres of radioactive tailings over an area measuring up to 44 square kilometres,” Senator Ludlum said.

“The new open pit proposed will leak over eight million litres of radioactive liquids every day.”

OLympic Dam Mine Expansion ‘Staggering’  ninemsn news, 31 May 11 BHP Billiton’s proposed expansion at its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia would make it the biggest mine in the world. The figures involved are simply staggering……….the whole site, with its production and support facilities, will cover an area of about 30 square kilometres, a fair chunk of Adelaide’s metropolitan area…… Continue reading

June 2, 2011 Posted by | environment, Olympic Dam, South Australia, uranium | , | Leave a comment

BHP pushes ahead with uranium mine expansion: public will not be consulted

Time to move beyond talking: BHP Billiton.Adelaide Now  Christopher Russell May 14, 2011  THE public will be engaged, but not consulted, on the Olympic Dam expansion, BHP said yesterday. President of BHP’s uranium sector, Dean Dalla Valle, pledged yesterday to continue talking to the community but said the company had to move on to the next phase.

“The formal part is complete,” he said of public input.

Supplementary EIS released for Olympic Dam mine ABC News  May 13, BHP Billiton is today releasing its supplementary environmental impact statement (EIS) for the expansion of the Olympic Dam mine. The 15,000-page draft document was handed to the state and federal governments in December.

It contains the mining giant’s response to more than 4,000 public submissions made to the company’s first EIS, released in 2009.The South Australian Government is expected to make a decision on the development later this year.

May 14, 2011 Posted by | business, Olympic Dam, South Australia, uranium | , | Leave a comment

BHP- cutting staff, new Environmental Impact Statement on OLympic Dam uranium mine expansion

The decision is understood to affect about 150 staff…..BHP is preparing a supplementary environmental impact statement in response to public consultation on its draft EIS for the Olympic Dam expansion.

BHP to move white-collar jobs interstate and overseas Gavin Lower .  The Australian July 23, 2010 Continue reading

July 24, 2010 Posted by | Olympic Dam, politics, South Australia, uranium | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Protest at Olympic Dam against effects on Aborigines, water, pollution

Zane Alcorn said: “Not only is the expansion at Olympic Dam going ahead without the consent of traditional owners, but tens of thousands of gigalitres of water per day is being sucked out of the Artesian Basin on Arabunna land to service the mine.

Protesters block mine. Roxby Downs Sun, 22 Jul, 2010 Forty anti-nuclear activists staged a protest on Friday against the Olympic Dam expansion, blockading the entrance and stopping traffic from entering.

The protest aimed to highlight the “catastrophic effects” the mine and its expansion would have on traditional owners and their natural resources. Activists painted themselves blue and used their bodies to spell words such as water, with some people partly naked to help draw attention to their views. Continue reading

July 23, 2010 Posted by | Olympic Dam, Opposition to nuclear, South Australia, uranium | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Costs and low uranium prices put Olympic Dam expansion at risk

BHP’s Olympic Dam expansion under pressure, Business Spectator 12 Jul 2010 BHP Billiton Ltd’s $US20 billion Olympic Dam expansion in Australia may be delayed by a protracted environmental assessment and cost, the Australian Financial Review reports. The recent softening prices for Olympic Dam’s key minerals, especially uranium, and a significant increase in the required capital is also understood to be weighing on BHP, the paper said. Continue reading

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Olympic Dam, South Australia, uranium | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment