WA EPA rejects proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine, Online Opinion, By Mara Bonacci – posted Tuesday, 16 August 2016 “…….Yeelirrie is located 420 km north of Kalgoorlie in the mid-west region of WA, the land of the Wongutha people. Yeelirrie is the name of a local sheep station and, in the local Aboriginal language, means “place of death”.
In 1973 Western Mining Corporation (WMC) found a uranium deposit there. The Yeelirrie Mine Proposal was submitted to the WA Department of Conservation and Environment in 1979. The proposal was for the development of an open cut mine, ore treatment plant, town and ancillary services and 850 employees. Environmental approval was given by both state and federal governments.
Trial mines were dug in the 1980s, which found the first large scale calcrete orebody in the world. It is estimated that around 195 tonnes of yellowcake were mined in these trials. WMC spent $35 million preparing to develop the mine until the 1983 federal election and subsequent implementation of the ALPs “three mines policy” in 1984, limiting Australia’s number of uranium mines to three.
In 2005, the mine was acquired from WMC by BHP Billiton, who concluded one stage of exploration mining. Then in 2012, Canadian mining company Cameco bought the deposit from BHP for $430 million….
Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal includes:
- A 9 km long, 1.5 km wide and 10 m deep open pit mine
- 14 million tonnes of overburden
- Using 8.7 million litres of water a day
- Producing 7,500 tonnes per year of uranium (10 percent of annual world demand)
- To be transported by four road trains a week
- It would produce 126,000 tonnes per year of CO2 emissions
- 36 million tonnes of tailings stored in the open pit2,421 hectares would be cleared
- 22 years of operation
- Highly variable work force – average of 300………http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18451&page=1
US firms knew about global warming in 1968 – what about Australia?, The Conversation, Marc Hudson, April 18, 2016 “……..In 1974, the Australian Conservation Foundation established its Habitatmagazine. An early issue included an article about global warming.
The following year, the economist and bureaucrat Herbert Cole “Nugget” Coombs persuaded the Whitlam government to commission research on the issue. This gave rise to an Australian Academy of Science (AAS) report that concluded it was too early to tell.
By the late 1970s, The Canberra Times began running prominent stories about the possibility of sea-level rise and other climate impacts. One that presumably caught the coal industry’s attention was a November 1977 article in which a US physicist warned that relying only on coal-fired power would flood US cities.
In 1981, the AAS followed up on its earlier work, releasing a report on “The CO₂-Climate Connection: A Global Problem from an Australian Perspective”. At this time, pro-nuclear Liberal politicians were invoking climate change as a reason for Australia to pursue nuclear energy.
The same year, the Office of National Assessment wrote a report for the Fraser government titled “Fossil Fuels and the Greenhouse Effect”. Clive Hamilton, who uncovered it, described how the report urged the government to consider moving away from fossil fuels…….
That decade climate change slowly but surely climbed the political agenda, thanks largely to the work of then federal science minister Barry Jones. In 1987 his Commission for the Future worked with CSIRO under the banner of the “Greenhouse Project” to stage a series of workshops, to be followed – with exquisite timing – by conferences across Australia in late 1988………
the first mention of climate change I found in the now-defunct Australian Journal of Mining was a November 1988 article titled “Physicist claims CO₂ will actually benefit biosphere”……… https://theconversation.com/us-firms-knew-about-global-warming-in-1968-what-about-australia-57878
In July 2004, a six-year anti-nuclear campaign spearheaded by Aboriginal women, who themselves had suffered in the British nuclear tests, was successfully concluded with the federal government’s announcement: ‘No national radioactive dump for SA.’
who could have imagined that just 11 years later, a new and far more dangerous plan would be launched by another royal commission, perhaps the first royal commission to plan a future scheme rather than examine one past?
Since this royal commission’s ‘tentative findings’ in February for South Australia to import international high-level nuclear waste, which it actually names as radioactive for ‘many hundreds of thousands of years’, the scepticism among South Australians is growing.
The passing of Bob Ellis recalls his faithful accompanying of the 1984–1985 royal commission into the British nuclear tests conducted in South Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. He went ‘to England and back’ and, as he described it, ‘to each black polis’ of the royal commission hearings.
Ellis’ article on the Wallatina hearings (The National Times, 3–9 May 1985), described what he named as the commission’s ‘worst story of all’ — Edie Milpudie’s telling of herself and her family camping, in May 1957, on the Marcoo bomb crater.
She told of being ‘captured by men in white uniforms … forcibly and obscenely washed down, miscarrying twice and losing her husband who to prove to the soldiers he knew English, sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so.”
‘And how the soldiers shot their beloved irradiated dogs.’
‘The bad parts of the story,’ Ellis went on, ‘the miscarriage and afterward, were communicated to Jim (Commissioner McClelland) in secret session, in the distance in the bush, with Edie’s women friends giving her comfort, and prompting with giggles and nudges her reminiscence of a story they knew by heart, already an old legend.
‘Jim called these women the best in the world, unstinting comforters, inextinguishable friends”
Five years later I had the privilege myself of meeting Edie Milpudie at her Oak Valley camp in the SA Maralinga lands. Many of the Yalata elders had prepared me in a way with the constant mantra: ‘Milpudie — she went through the bomb.’ Continue reading
Mr Kerin and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Robert Tickner, told the cabinet that the Commonwealth would plead the Statute of Limitations if any Aboriginal initiated a common law action against Canberra.
Further, the ministers stipulated that if Yami Lester, a Yankunytjatjara man blinded by a “black mist from the south in the 1950s”, rejected the offer and proceeded with his common law action the Commonwealth should also plead the Statute of Limitations.
In a coda, Bob Hawke [at left] told journalists attending a National Archives briefing on the cabinet papers last month that Australia should take the world’s nuclear waste as a way to raise new revenue as an alternative to raising the GST or reducing expenditure.
Cabinet papers: Fallout continues from British atomic tests http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/cabinet-papers-fallout-continues-from-british-atomic-tests-20151217-glqlmg.html January 1, 2016 Damien Murphy The cabinet papers reveal how ignorant various Australian governments had remained about contamination at the British atomic test sites in Maralinga in South Australia.
They also erroneously believed that British clean-up operations were effective in removing plutonium contamination. Continue reading
“By ploughing soil at Taranaki without first removing contaminated fragments the British failed to achieve a significant reduction in radiological hazard and made the situation more difficult to remedy,”
Under a 1956 agreement, the UK accepted responsibility for cleaning up the site. In a subsequent agreement in 1968, Australia released the UK from that responsibility.
Clean-up work finally started in 1996 and continued to 2000, with the worst-affected area now deemed safe to visit but not for permanent occupancy, including by traditional owners the Maralinga-Tjarutja people who officially got their land back only in 2009.
Aust demands UK pay up for nuclear mess http://www.9news.com.au/national/2016/01/01/00/09/aust-demands-uk-pay-up-for-nuclear-mess In 1990, [Prime Minister] Bob Hawke faced one of his more challenging missions, demanding British PM Margaret Thatcher pay to clean up the God-awful mess left behind when her predecessors let off A-bombs in the outback. Continue reading
Australia has a secret and scandalous nuclear history. But at the same time, Australia has a fine history of successes by the nuclear free movement. Aboriginals have been at the forefront, but not alone, as Australia also has a proud record of environmental and anti nuclear activism.
From the archives. Each week, this site will be reposting items from the past. Lest we forget:
U.S. military bases made Australia a nuclear target
Australia feared nuclear attack over US ties: archives ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Emma Rodgers 1 Jan 2011, Malcolm Fraser’s cabinet was warned in 1980 that boosting its military ties with the US could put Australia at risk of a nuclear attack and expose it to involvement it in American operations contrary to its national interest, secret cabinet documents show. Continue reading
The 15th anniversary of the Kakadu Charter is a good time for Aboriginal and environmental advocates to re-confirm our shared concern, action and effectiveness for the long awaited total rehabilitation and completion of Kakadu National Park.
The Kakadu Charter Which Helped Stop A Uranium Mine Marks 15 Years Of Shared Values https://newmatilda.com/2015/11/16/the-kakadu-charter-which-helped-stop-a-uranium-mine-marks-15-years-of-shared-values/ Tomorrow marks a significant anniversary in a landmark battle to protect a people, and a place. Justin O’Brien and Dave Sweeney explain.
“The mining company that has benefited and profited from the use of this area and the mining lease now needs to move towards a comprehensive clean-up.
“We’re still not completely aware of contamination problems that need to be rehabilitated.
“What’s promising is the protest from Aboriginal communities against the mining is as strong as ever. There’s a lesson [from Camp Concern] in partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists sharing information together.”
Camp Concern: Activists reunite for anti-uranium mining protest 40 years later inside Kakadu 105.7 ABC Darwin By Emilia Terzon and Lisa Pellegrino , 27 Oct 15 As uranium mining near Kakadu faces an uncertain future, activists calling themselves Camp Concern have reunited inside the Northern Territory park to mark 40 years on from the launch of an anti-mining protest. Continue reading
On Nov. 2, 1956, Australia’s Defense Committee formally recommended the acquisition of kiloton-range tactical nuclear weapons.
In 1969, the government announced plans to construct a 500-megawatt nuclear reactor at Jervis Bay in New South Wales.
The intention was clear — this reactor was to support a nuclear weapons program. The reactor project pushed ahead and preliminary site work commenced.
Revealed: Australia’s Failed Bid for Nuclear Weapons, Chris Walsh, The National Interest 16 Sept 15, At 9:00 in the morning on Oct. 3, 1952, a 25-kiloton nuclear explosion vaporized the retired British frigate HMS Plym off Australia’s remote western coast. The Operation Hurricane detonation in the Monte Bello Islands was a seminal moment for Britain and marked its return to the club of great powers.
But for Australia, these tests and others served a murkier purpose – as important and deliberate steps toward Australia’s own acquisition of nuclear weapons. It was in the tense Cold War environment of the late 1950s and early 1960s that these aspirations moved beyond talk and into concrete action.
By the time the Hurricane detonation took place, Australia was already experienced in weapons of mass destruction. From 1943 and in the shadow of a possible Japanese invasion, Australia built extensive stocks of chemical weapons and delivery systems…….
Australia — with its vast coastlines and deserts — emerged as a key player in Britain’s nuclear strategy.
When Britain approached Australia to host nuclear tests, a sympathetic government led by Prime Minister Robert Menzies readily agreed. While Menzies — an Anglophile — focused on his relationship with the United Kingdom, others saw this as an opportunity for Australia to buy membership into the nuclear club. Continue reading
in 1972, the conservative Gorton government was swept from power and replaced. Gough Whitlam, a longtime advocate of arms control, wasted no time ratifying the NPT and abandoning the Jervis Bay reactor. In a heartbeat, the 40-year quest for Australian nuclear capability was over.
Australia’s Failed Bid for the Bomb, War Is Boring, Chris Walsh, 15 Sept 15 Canberra was captivated by atomic weapons in the 1950s — then ruined its chances of ever getting them
At 9:00 in the morning on Oct. 3, 1952, a 25-kiloton nuclear explosion vaporized the retired British frigate HMS Plym off Australia’s remote western coast. The Operation Hurricane detonation in the Monte Bello Islands was a seminal moment for Britain and marked its return to the club of great powers.
But for Australia, these tests and others served a murkier purpose – as important and deliberate steps toward Australia’s own acquisition of nuclear weapons.
‘So to Mirarr, I guess what they see is very, very large disturbance, they see mountains of waste rock and low-grade ore, and sometimes that does affect their views of important sites like Djidbidjidbi or just the landscape.
‘It will never look the same again and the site will have to be monitored for decades to come after it is finished being rehabilitated so that we can make sure that it is actually in a stable chemical condition, the biodiversity is doing okay and the ecosystem is functional and so on.’
According to ERA figures, rehabilitation is expected to cost close to $500 million.
The long and controversial history of uranium mining in Australia, ABC Radio, Rear Vision, 14 July 2015 Keri Phillips Last month’s announcement that Energy Resources Australia will pull the plug on the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory signals the end of one of the most controversial chapters in Australian mining history. Keri Phillips traces the history of uranium mining in Australia and Ranger’s role in it……. Continue reading
‘The Anzac sermon was preached by an army chaplain;
it was a glorification of the Australians, with some humorous sidelights.
It had none of the dignity and impressiveness that one would have thought the occasion demanded,
and offered no comfort to those present who had lost relatives at Gallipoli and on other battlefields.
He denied absolutely the oft-repeated statement that the Australian soldiers were undisciplined.
They were splendidly disciplined, he said, but their disciplined conduct had no trace of servility.
He spoke feelingly of the social conditions that had killed soldiers before they entered the trenches.
The evidence in the trenches of the terrible results of those social conditions
had roused many men to the sense of their duty to their fellows,
and made them resolve that when they returned to civil life they would
do all in their power to right the wrongs under which their comrades had lived.’
Woman Voter 7 August 1919 State Library of Victoria
First World War Women working for peace 1914-1919
Daphne Marlatt 2001
One media narrative, as espoused in the AFR, is that this defeat was the result of a revolt by SA politicians. But this version of the story ignores the powerful campaign led by the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta, the senior aboriginal women’s council of Coober Pedy.
This story has been recorded by movement researchers Nina Brown and Sam Sowerwine and in a book, Talking Straight Out: Stories from the Irati Wanti Campaign.
Many members of the Kunga-Tjuta were survivors of the British government’s atomic testing in the 1950s and 60s, and so understood the devastating history of the nuclear industry. Upon hearing about the waste dump proposal, the group issued this statement:
We are the Aboriginal Women. Yankunytjatjara, Antikarinya and Kokatha. We know the country. The poison the Government is talking about will poison the land. We say, “No radioactive dump in our ngura – in our country. It’s strictly poison, we don’t want it.
The traditional residents of this supposedly “benign and sparsely populated geology” fought hard to protect their country using the tools they had available. They explained, demanded, marched and sang. They worked with green activists and wrote passionate letters. They urged politicians to “get your ears out of your pockets”. They won.
As South Australia faces another push from the nuclear industry, we would do well to remind ourselves of these stories. To paraphrase the late historian Howard Zinn, we need to emphasise what is possible by remembering those moments in our recent history when people demonstrated their capacity to resist, come together, and occasionally, to win.http://theconversation.com/south-australias-broad-brush-nuclear-review-is-meant-to-sideline-opponents-38110
Given that Australia’s uranium mining and export accounts for less than 1 percent of its hundred billion dollar mineral export business (iron ore, bauxite, coal, copper, nickel etc),36 however, these decisions by Australian leaders risked significant political capital over what has been a highly contentious issue in Australia’s recent political history
Undermining Nuclear Non-Proliferation: Energy and Security Politics in the Australia-India-Japan-U.S. Nuclear Nexus 核不拡散の土台崩し オーストラリア·インド·日本·米国間におけるエネルギーと安全保障政策 The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 46, No. 2, November 1, 2014 Adam Broinowski “……Until 2014, along with China, Japan has also seen a boom in mostly solar and wind electricity generation. But this has been stalled by utilities who have refused to take an influx of renewable power into the grid or to reduce electricity prices.10 With fewer nuclear plants scheduled for construction around the world than for shutdown, however, the nuclear industry faces the likely prospect of contraction11 and replacement by rapidly advancing renewable energy options, including solar, wind, tidal, hydro and possibly geothermal power over the longer term.
Despite this gloomy prognosis for the uranium sector, confidence began to return to the uranium mining industry in Australia from late 2012. Continue reading
Call to’unveil nuclear plans’ http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2007/02/27/call-tounveil-nuclear-plans Labor is demanding the federal government reveal what it knows about plans by three leading businessmen for Australia’s first nuclear reactor. Source: AAP 27 FEB 2007 – UPDATED 22 AUG 2013
Former federal Liberal Party treasurer Ron Walker, Hugh Morgan and Robert Champion de Crespigny are the key shareholders in Australian Nuclear Energy Pty Ltd, a private company reportedly behind the plan. Continue reading