Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Stop Deep Yellow: No uranium mining on Upurli Upurli Nguratja country

 https://www.ccwa.org.au/mulga_rock The Mulga Rock uranium project is the only uranium proposal being advanced in WA. The project is uneconomic, unwanted and unnecessary.

Mulga Rock is on Upurli Upurli Nguratja country in the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological community in the Great Victoria Desert (GVD) and home to the endangered Sandhill Dunnart – one of three remaining areas where the species is found in Australia. The area is also home to the endangered Southern Marsupial Mole the vulnerable Crest Tailed Mulgara and Desert Skink, the migratory Rainbow Bee-Eater and many other priority species. 

Vimy Resources are seeking to merge with uranium miner Deep Yellow. Deep Yellow’s leadership is a cause for Deep concern. Their Chairperson Chris Salisbury was the Iron Ore boss at Rio Tinto during the Juukan Gorge destruction. Deep Yellow’s Managing Director John Borshoff was the Director of uranium company Paladin. During his leadership there were ongoing reports of industrial disputes worker fatalities and environmental concerns. 

“I worry about that country and what effect uranium mining would have on it, there is no other area like it. Once that’s destroyed and poisoned well how can you replace all that. It’ll be gone forever.” Janice Scott – Nangaanya-ku 

There is a registered Native Title Claim over the area – Upurli Upurli Nguratja. Vimy have routinely undermined Native Title interests in the area and have failed to meet the claim group. The Spinifex people who are descendants of some of Australia’s first environmental refugees who fled South Australia during the British atomic weapons tests between 1956 and 1963 and settled near Mulga Rock first at Cundallee then Coonana and then Tjutjuntjarra. There are strong connections to the area and a strong history of impact and resistance to the nuclear industry.   

“We don’t want uranium mining. We’ve written to government to let them know we the Traditional Owners have not been consulted. The current clearing at the site is disrespectful and shows a total lack of social value, moral and ethical leadership.” Debbie Carmody – Upurli Upurli Nguratja 

The Proposal: 

  • Four open pits, strip mined and backfilled
  • Licensed to take 15 million litres of water per day
  • Would produce 32 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste
  • Would clear 3,709 ha of native vegetation
  • Located in the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community, known as one of the most pristine areas in the Great Victoria Desert.
  • Home to the endangered Sandhill Dunnart
  • Upstream from the Queen Victoria A Class Nature Reserve

May 28, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

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

Scott Morrison has been urged to act over fears Australian uranium could be used to fuel Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

Fears Australian uranium could be seized by Russia for nuclear weapons arsenal

Scott Morrison has been urged to act over fears Australian uranium could be used to fuel Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
news.com.au, Alex Blair  9 Mar 22.

The Electrical Trades Union of Australia has called on Scott Morrison to take immediate action over Australian uranium in Ukraine, which analysts believe could be seized by Russia and used to fuel its nuclear weapons arsenal..

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister this week, the ETU highlighted its concerns over Australian obligated nuclear material (AONM) which has been transferred to Ukraine under the Australia-Ukraine Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

The ETU is urging the Prime Minister to reveal details on any contingency plans set in place following Russia’s invasion, as the Australian government has an “obligation to create a plan for the removal of nuclear material if it is at risk of a loss of regulatory control”.

The ETU has also requested information on whether uranium that was transferred to Ukraine is still stored in the besieged nation.

“Amongst many other horrors, the war in Ukraine is painfully highlighting the inherent problems with nuclear power,” ETU National Assistant Secretary Michael Wright said.

“If Russia is able to gain control of Australian uranium in Ukraine, the fallout could be catastrophic.

“Australians have a right to know if Australian uranium is at risk and what our nation’s obligations are in the event of an incident.

“We not only have an obligation under our own agreement with Ukraine but we owe it to the global community to ensure these materials are protected – preferably by leaving them in the ground.”

It came as Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of using nuclear “blackmail” to keep the international community from interfering in his Ukraine invasion.

“This is one of the scariest moments really when it comes to nuclear weapons,” Beatrice Fihn, who leads the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, told AFP in an interview on Tuesday.

The 40-year-old, who has spearheaded the group’s global efforts to ban the weapons of mass destruction since 2013, said she had never in her lifetime seen the nuclear threat level so high.“It is incredibly worrying and overwhelming.”

Just days after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of its pro-Western neighbour on February 24, Putin ordered his country’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert, sparking global alarm……………………………     https://www.news.com.au/world/europe/fears-australian-uranium-could-be-seized-by-russia-for-nuclear-weapons-arsenal/news-story/565ae8e823834435ad1846798f4066d4

March 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Directors net $3.7 million in selling off their Paladin Energy uranium shares, then uranium stocks plummet

Paladin directors narrowly avoid nuclear sell-off   https://www.afr.com/rear-window/paladin-directors-narrowly-avoid-nuclear-sell-off-20220308-p5a2u3Joe AstonColumnist,  Uranium miner Paladin Energy advised the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday that chairman Cliff Lawrenson and non-executive director Peter Watson had, between them, sold 4.5 million, or 55 per cent, of their shares in the company between February 28 and March 3, netting proceeds of $3.7 million.

Lawrenson’s broker secured an average out price of 84¢ while Watson had to settle for 81¢.

It was certainly an auspicious moment for the pair. That very evening, of March 3, Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, but not before their shelling set it on fire, and uranium stocks dutifully plummeted across global markets.

On March 4, 154 million Paladin shares changed hands, crunching the share price down 15 per cent to 74¢. At one point in intraday trading, they were down 26 per cent.

Timing is everything, the old truism goes, and you can safely say about Lawrenson and Watson that their timing is the opposite of radioactive.

Lawrenson still has 2.1 million Paladin shares to his name while Watson has 1.6 million.

March 10, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian companies’ uranium shares plummet

ASX uranium shares plummet amid Ukraine power station attack. Motley Fool, A fire at Europe’s largest nuclear power station has uranium investors on edge… Mitchell Lawler   6 Mar 22, ASX-listed uranium shares are tumbling on Friday following reports of a fire at Ukraine’s largest nuclear power station ……..

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) is suffering a red session on Friday amid an intensification of the situation in Ukraine. However, ASX uranium shares are showing up as some of the hardest-hit companies of all on the Australian share market.

At present, many uranium producers and explorers are trading 10% to 20% lower. This follows reports that one of Ukraine’s nuclear power stations — the largest in Europe — is on fire as a consequence of Russian attacks.

………. with years of unattractive prices for the commodity, investments in creating new a new supply had been dampened.

However, with expectations of nuclear energy becoming a piece in the green transition puzzle, investors were willing to take a punt on ASX uranium shares.

That was until the latest development in the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Companies copping the brunt of bad news

Currently, ASX uranium shares are being sold off hard. Here’s how some of these companies are tracking:

……..  https://www.fool.com.au/2022/03/04/asx-uranium-shares-plummet-amid-ukraine-power-station-attack/?fbclid=IwAR3wVwynPOQ2N70CGEs0Tr8ch7ZGTZXuIJ75k1Ii4sQE-0xN0Tgdgqkq_-Q

March 7, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium miner BHP under criticism for guzzling precious artesian water, and for not keeping its word to Aboriginal native title holders

Environment campaigner and consultant David Noonan, who provided submissions to the Juukan Inquiry, is sceptical of the desalination plant announcement.

Mr Noonan says even if it was built, BHP could be taking GAB water until the end of the decade. He wants to hear a formal commitment about alternative water sources.

Why BHP is facing a minefield, CHRIS MITCHELL, Adelaide Now, 4 Mar 22,

AUSTRALIA’S biggest company and the world’s secondbiggest miner, BHP, may disappoint conservationists and Aboriginal native title holders who had hoped for commitments to reform of heritage issues and underground water use at its Olympic Dam mine before the March 19 state election BHP, the Big Australian, with market capitalisation of $230bn, paid the state government royalties of $136m last year. Its Olympic Dam project 560km north of Adelaide is South Australia’s largest mining venture and the world’s biggest uranium mine, a global top-four copper mine and producer of gold and lead. BHP is powerful in SA.

Premier Steven Marshall is Aboriginal Affairs Minister but it would be fair to say native title holders do not wield the sort of power in Adelaide that big miners do.

Yet BHP has flagged some changes to the way it operates that could reduce its own power over its own asset.

Under the 1982 Roxby Downs (Indenture Ratification) Act signed with former mine owner Western Mining, BHP, which bought the mine in 2005, has almost unprecedented powers over resources and water within its 12,000sq km Stuart Shelf exploration lease.

BHP has been criticised by conservation groups and Aboriginal interests in last year’s report into rival Rio Tinto’s destruction of Juukan Gorge in Western Australia. The report includes criticism from the Arabana tribe of the mine’s heavy reliance on water from the Great Artesian Basin (GAB), and particularly from the so-called “Mound Springs” Aboriginal heritage sites north of the mine.

On February 15, The Advertiser revealed BHP would back a new $15m study, partly funded by state and federal governments, into a Spencer Gulf desalination plant to pump water to SA’s northern mines. But BHP is still far short of publicly committing to end its use of GAB water.

Conservationists say BHP is trying to control the water agenda, to maintain its privileges under the Indenture Act. But some hope it will be pragmatic enough to cut water demand from the GAB if it eventually decides to proceed with its Oak Dam copper-gold-uranium mine 65km southeast of Olympic.

Asked last week if BHP was formally committed to ending GAB water use, a spokesman said: “We continuously monitor and publicly report our water draw under a program approved by the SA government.”

BHP is not just under pressure for environmental reasons.

It is in discussion with three native title groups about the Olympic Dam Agreement it settled in 2008 with the Kokatha, Barngarla and Kuyani.

Of these, only the Kokatha have been granted formal native title over parts of BHP’s Stuart Shelf.

BHP’s problem now is how to balance the very valuable 40-year-old legal rights it has under the indenture with rights found in a native title determination in favour of the Kokatha in 2014……….

The Kokatha fought a long, 18-year battle to win their native title in 2014. Kokatha directors say dealing with BHP on the ODA before and after their native title court win has been challenging.

At this point, they are not receiving mining royalties and are unhappy with employment opportunities for Kokatha people.

Michael Turner, a former Kokatha director and current adviser on the Kokatha Native Title Compensation Settlement and Kokatha Charitable trusts, says he has been dealing with BHP for much of his adult life.

At this point, they are not receiving mining royalties and are unhappy with employment opportunities for Kokatha people………

negotiations on BHP’s Olympic Dam Agreement had been disappointing.

“We have been calling for a review of the ODA for many years and it has constantly been deferred,” he said.

“They’re refusing to move forward. It would be great if BHP could keep to its word and respect the wishes of the Kokatha people and review the ODA for the benefit of generations to come.”…………….

The final report into the May 24, 2020 destruction by Australia’s second-biggest miner, Rio Tinto, of the Juukan Caves in Western Australia’s Pilbara was released in October. In it, Arabana chair Brenda Underwood says: “Unfortunately, our springs are disappearing. The cause … is water taken from the GAB by BHP’s mine at Roxby Downs.”

BHP and the state government believe the springs remain healthy but environmentalists fear a possible expansion to the Oak Dam could take daily GAB water use well beyond 50 million litres a day. BHP says it is averaging 34 million litres a day.

Environment campaigner and consultant David Noonan, who provided submissions to the Juukan Inquiry, is sceptical of the desalination plant announcement.

Mr Noonan says even if it was built, BHP could be taking GAB water until the end of the decade. He wants to hear a formal commitment about alternative water sources.

BHP’s Aboriginal engagement team is mindful expectations have changed across the industry since Juukan and BHP will need to be seen to be engaging seriously with traditional owners. Some believe an ODA negotiated before the Kokatha achieved native title should be written off and a new agreement established………………………………………

more  https://todayspaper.adelaidenow.com.au/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=23a5b7bd-e6d5-4a82-972e-347f65874b3a&fbclid=IwAR11bzLNHD6mcfZaJkwLcs7cvtfeJQbEhz9btfDFZeFDTsE-BvpWFcuXQnw

March 5, 2022 Posted by | aboriginal issues, environment, South Australia, uranium, water | Leave a comment

Ranger uranium mine rehabilitation costs could blow out to $2.2 billion, Energy Resources tells ASX

Ranger uranium mine rehabilitation costs could blow out to $2.2 billion, Energy Resources tells ASX,  https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2022-02-02/ranger-uranium-mine-cleanup-cost-blowout-to-2-2-billion/100798666ABC Rural / By Daniel Fitzgerald  The rehabilitation of a decommissioned uranium mine in Kakadu National Park could cost up to $1.2 billion more than expected and take two years longer than initially planned. 

Key points:

  • Rehabilitation of Ranger uranium mine to cost between $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion
  • Timeline of clean-up pushed out by two years 
  • Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation concerned ERA won’t be able to fund extra costs

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) — a subsidiary of mining giant Rio Tinto — shut down production at its Ranger uranium mine, 250 kilometres east of Darwin, in January last year and has since been working to return the mine site to its original state.

The rehabilitation was originally estimated at $973 million, but in a statement to the ASX on Wednesday, ERA revised costs to be approximately between $1.6 and $2.2 billion.

The company also said clean-up works could continue until the end of 2028, more than two years longer than planned.

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, which represents Mirarr traditional owners, had been seeking clarity on the expected cost blowouts from ERA.

“We knew it would cost more, but a doubling — to probably the biggest rehabilitation exercise in the history of Australian mining — took us by surprise,” chief executive Justin O’Brien said.

“It’s not good news, but at least we now have a much greater picture of the true cost.”

ERA’s statement outlined a number of reasons for the revised cost, including engineering issues, emerging technical risks and additional water treatment costs.

“It is a complex operation and it is in a very sensitive, world-heritage-listed national park, upstream of Aboriginal communities and the Arafura Sea,” Mr O’Brien said.

Federal changes needed to extend time frame

ERA’s current lease stipulates the company must complete the rehabilitation and be off the mine site by 2026, a condition legislated by the Atomic Energy Act 1953.

With the rehabilitation time frame now stretching into 2028, ERA said it “has been engaging with government and key stakeholders to amend the Atomic Energy Act 1953 and extend the expiry date of ERA’s tenure on the Ranger Project Area”.

Mr O’Brien said a two-year extension to the rehabilitation was “pretty ambitious”.

“If you’re going to amend the legislation in Canberra you don’t just do it for two years, you give them lots of space to do this,” he said.

“If they [ERA] relinquish within another 26 years, then fine.”

Can ERA afford the cost blowout?

In light of the cost revision, ERA said it was “currently reviewing all available funding options to ensure that the increased forecast cost of the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area will be adequately funded”.

As of December 31, 2021 the company had $699 million in cash funding and $535 million held by the Commonwealth government as part of the Ranger Rehabilitation Trust Fund.

ERA’s parent company, Rio Tinto said in a statement to the ASX, “it is committed to working with [ERA] to ensure the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area is successfully achieved to a standard that will establish an environment similar to the adjacent Kakadu National Park”.

February 3, 2022 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, environment, uranium, wastes | 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

Flooding in South Australia includes Kimba- what about the nuclear dump sit? and what impact on uranium tailings dams?

This Channel 7 video report mentions Kimba as having had record rain. The ABC report mentions several towns with record rain, but does not mention Kimba

I wonder how this obviously flood-prone area could be selected a the nation’s nuclear waste dump site.

I also wonder how Olympic Dam’s huge dams of radioactive tailings are faring in this flood situation.

This Channel 7 video report mentions Kimba as having had record rain. The ABC report mentions several towns with record rain, but does not mention Kimba

I wonder how this obviously flood-prone area could be selected a the nation’s nuclear waste dump site.

Roads destroyed and homes flooded as rain cuts off towns in South Australia’s north | 7NEWS, 23 Jan 22,

Floodwaters submerge parts of outback SA as rain washes away highway and cars,  ABC 23 Jan 22, 

Key points:

  • Emergency crews have rescued people trapped by floodwaters
  • A section of the Olympic Dam Highway was washed away, blocking access between Roxby Downs and Woomera
  • The bureau said several spots had recorded “all-time” highest rainfall totals over 24 hours

Entire towns in the state’s Far North are cut off after record-breaking rain. The SES has been flat out responding to hundreds of calls for help, as the heavens opened, destroying roads and inundating homes.

Rescue crews have been kept busy by outback floodwaters and record-breaking rains, which have continued to cause havoc in South Australia’s north and west, washing away roads as well as cars.

The weather bureau said some locations had set “all-time records” in terms of rainfall, while social media is awash with photos and videos of inundated highways. 

Several people were rescued by the State Emergency Service (SES) after becoming trapped by floodwaters — including one who was swept 80 metres downstream and waited on top of his semi-submerged car for “at least four hours” as crews travelled to his remote location.

An entire section of the Olympic Dam Highway was also eroded between Pimba and Woomera, cutting off access from Roxby Downs………………………………………….  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-01-23/sa-rain-and-floods-wash-away-outback-roads/100776030

January 24, 2022 Posted by | climate change - global warming, safety, South Australia, uranium | 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