Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Longterm slump in uranium industry looks like being permanent

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss.

And with the cost of a single power reactor climbing to as much as $20 billion, proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia seem more and more quixotic and are now largely limited to the far right ‒ in particular, Australians Conservatives’ luminary Senator Cory Bernardi and the Minerals Council of Australia.

BHP marketing vice-president Vicky Binns said in December 2017 that uranium markets would remain oversupplied for close to a decade, with downward pressure remaining on uranium prices 

Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the water  Jim Green, Online Opinion,  23 F

……….These days, the market exhibits multiple levels of weirdness, all stemming from the growing acknowledgment that nuclear power and the uranium industry face a bleak future.

The uranium market has a “subdued outlook” and Cameco’s uranium is now “more valuable in the ground” according to Warwick Grigor from Far East Capital, because the cost of production is higher than the prices currently being offered. Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel agrees, saying in January 2018 that at current prices “our supply is better left in the ground.” So uranium industry executives and market analysts are finally coming around to rallying cry of the anti-uranium movement: Leave it in the ground!

We’ve also had the odd situation over the past year of nuclear lobbyists arguing repeatedly that the nuclear power industry is in “crisis” and wondering what if anything can be salvaged from “the ashes of today’s dying industry“. Usually such claims come from the anti-nuclear movement ‒ sometimes more in hope that expectation.

And we’ve had the odd situation of industry bodies (such as the US Nuclear Energy Institute) and supporters (such as former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz) openly acknowledging the connections between nuclear power and weapons ‒ connections they have strenuously denied for decades.

Such arguments are now being used in an effort to secure preferential treatment for uranium mining companies in the US. Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels have lodged a petition with the Department of Commerce seeking a mandated requirement for US power utilities purchase a minimum 25% of their requirements from US mines. Uranium is “the backbone of the U.S. nuclear deterrent and fuels ships and submarines in the U.S. Navy”, the companies state………

Another miserable year for the uranium industry  Nuclear power has been stagnant for the past 20 years. Although power reactors account for an overwhelming majority of uranium demand, uranium production ‒ and prices ‒ have been up and down and all over the place.

Uranium mine production increased by 50% from 2007 to 2016. The increase was driven, initially at least, by expectations of the nuclear renaissance that didn’t eventuate. Mine production plus secondary sources (e.g. stockpiles and ex-military material) have consistently exceeded demand ‒ 2017 was the eleventh consecutive year of surplus according to the CEO of uranium company Bannerman Resources.

Stockpiles (inventories) have grown steadily over the past decade to reach enormous levels ‒ enough to keep the entire global reactor fleet operating for around eight years. Supply from mines and secondary sources in recent years has exceeded demand by about 18%.

Those dynamics have put downward pressure on prices. After six years of steady decline, uranium prices were flat in 2017. The spot price as of 1 December 2017 was less than one-third of the pre-Fukushima price and the long-term contract price less than half the pre-Fukushima price.

Countless would-be uranium mining companies have given up, some trying their luck in other areas such as property development or growing dope. Some mines have closed, others have been put into care-and-maintenance, and others have reduced output. But supply has continued to exceed demand ‒ and to exert downward pressure on prices.

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss. Many companies have been loathe to close operating mines, or to put them into care-and-maintenance, even if the only other option is operating at a loss. They have been playing chicken, hoping that other companies and mines will fold first and that the resultant loss of production will drive up prices. “We have to recognise that we over-produce, and we are responsible for this fall in the price,” said Areva executive Jacques Peythieu in April 2017.

Current prices would need to more than double to encourage new mines ‒ a long-term contract price of about US$70–$80 is typically cited as being required to encourage the development of new mines.

The patterns outlined above were repeated in 2017. It was another miserable year for the uranium industry. A great year for those of us living in uranium producing countries who don’t want to see new mines open and who look forward to the closure of existing mines. And a great year for the nuclear power industry ‒ in the narrow sense that the plentiful availability of cheap uranium allows the industry to focus on other problems.

Cut-backs announced

The patterns that have prevailed over the past five years or so might be changed by decisions taken by Cameco and Kazatomprom (Kazakhstan) in late 2017 to significantly reduce production. Continue reading

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February 23, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium | Leave a comment

Hunters Hill residents still waiting on government to clean up uranium contaminated land

Hunters Hill residents wary of latest announcement on uranium contamination, ABC News, 20 Feb 18, By Jade Macmillan

Residents on Sydney’s lower north shore have dismissed the Government’s latest plans to clean up land contaminated by a uranium smelter more than hundred years ago as “a hollow promise”.

Property Minister Victor Dominello announced $30 million to remediate the waterfront land on Nelson Parade in Hunters Hill, the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915.

The area was also occupied by a carbolic acid plant until the early 1900s and a tin smelter until the 1960s.

Residents have spent decades urging the Government to remove the affected soil, which the NSW Environment Protection Authority found it was contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, coal tar pitch, arsenic and lead.

“Having this funding should give the community confidence that we are determined to remediate the site,” Mr Dominello said, ahead of a public meeting of more than 200 residents on Tuesday night.

“The Government is currently considering suitable disposal locations for the waste, and is in discussions with the Federal Government on the possibility of using the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility earmarked for development in South Australia.”

The minister did not provide a timeframe for the works and a site for the radioactive facility has not yet been selected.

Rosemary Manusu, 80, who has lived on Nelson Parade for more than 50 years, said she had little faith in the announcement after years of inaction from successive governments.

“It’s been promised and promised about three or four times. So until they actually start moving it, I don’t believe a word they say,” she said……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-21/hunters-hill-uranium-contamination-residents-wary/9468272

February 21, 2018 Posted by | environment, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

Yeelirree uranium project Court decision – “a bad decision, but not the end decision”

‘Sad day for our people, our land’: Appeal fails against Yeelirrie uranium mine in WA’s Mid West, http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/sad-day-for-our-people-our-land-appeal-fails-against-yeelirrie-uranium-mine-in-was-mid-west-20180208-h0vrpr.html

Conservationists and Tjiwarl traditional owners will continue to fight the approval for a uranium mine in central WA despite losing a Supreme Court appeal.

Former state environment minister Albert Jacob gave the green light to Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine proposal in January last year, just 16 days before the pre- election caretaker mode began.

The Conservation Council of WA and traditional owners fear unique subterranean fauna in the area will be made extinct if the project proceeds.

Chief Justice Wayne Martin determined on Thursday that the appeal against the ministerial decision should be dismissed. Costs will be determined at a later date.

 CCWA executive director Piers Verstegen told reporters outside court the decision was disappointing but only a setback for their battle.  “It’s absolutely not the end of the road for Yeelirrie or the other uranium mines that are being strongly contested here in Western Australia,” he said.

Tjiwarl native title holder Vicky Abdullah said the court case was only part of the campaign . “This is a very disappointing and sad day for our people, our land, and our future,” she said. “We have fought long and hard to protect Yeelirrie and stop the uranium project. “It’s a bad decision, but it’s not the end decision.”

The ministerial endorsement was subject to 17 conditions, including the Canadian company undertaking further surveys and research into stygofauna and troglofauna to minimise impacts on the tiny underground creatures.

Mr Verstegen said he always knew the appeal would result in either the uranium approval being ruled invalid or the environmental laws being exposed as inadequate.

“Today’s ruling shows that indeed our environmental laws are deeply inadequate,” he said.

There is still a federal decision pending, with the WA appeal delaying the process by months.

“It is now up to the commonwealth government to take a rigorous approach to the environmental assessment of this project rather than just relying on the shonky assessment that was done under the Barnett government,” Mr Verstegen said.

“We call on the federal government not to approve extinction at Yeelirrie.”

Mr Verstegen said advice would be sought on whether further legal action was possible. Regarding costs, he said lawyers would argue it was a public interest case and they should not have to bear the full costs.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Western Australia, legal, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium mining company Paladin: most shares in hands of creditors

Paladin to return to ASX, most shares in hands of creditors http://www.miningweekly.com/article/paladin-to-return-to-asx-most-shares-in-hands-of-creditors-2018-02-02/rep_id:3650 2ND FEBRUARY 2018 BY: MARIAAN WEBB CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR RESEARCHER AND DEPUTY EDITOR ONLINE JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Uranium miner Paladin Energy will apply for its securities to be reinstated to official quotation on the ASX, the Australia-based company said on Friday, announcing the completion of its restructuring and the appointment of two new directors.

With the deed of company arrangement (DOCA) effected, deed administrators have retired and the day-to-day management and control of Paladin has reverted to the company’s directors. The two new board appointments are iCobalt MD David Riekie and former interim CEO and MD of Atlas Iron Daniel Harris.

The DOCA was put forward to the administrators of Paladinby a group of the company’s unsecured bondholders, known as the Ad Hoc Committee. The DOCA’s key terms included the debt-for-equity swap, the raising of $115-million pursuant to the issue of a high-yield secured note and the reinstatement of Paladin to trade on the ASX.

In terms of the DOCA, 98% of Paladin’s shares have been transferred to creditors and other investors and only 2% are retained by shareholders. If a shareholder held 10 000 Paladin shares before the restructuring, they will now hold 200 shares.

Creditors all agreed to a restructuring proposal in December, although major creditor Electricité de France (EDF) previously said that it may seek to have the DOCA terminated.

Paladin appointed administrators in July last year after the company was unable to agree a delay to the repayment of $277-million it owed EDF.

On Wednesday, Paladin published its quarterly activities reports for the June, September and December quarters, as well as its June 2017 annual report.

The most recent quarter’s results show that the Langer Heinrich mine, in Namibia, produced 873 107 lb of uranium oxide (U3O8), up 4% on the prior quarter. Sales were at 1.24-million U3O8 at an average selling price of $22.39/lb.

The Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, remains under care and maintenance

February 5, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

BHP aims to make a decision about a $2.76 billion expansion of Olympic Dam in the next few years 

Cameron England, Business Editor, The Advertiser, 28 Nov 2017
BHP is considering a $2.76 billion expansion at Olympic Dam which it expects to make a decision on by mid 2020.

The company also said it has already started a $1 billion program to upgrade surface infrastructure as part of the Southern Mine Area Expansion, currently under way, which will increase its copper production to 230,000 tonnes per year.

The mine produced 166,000 tonnes last financial year which is expected to drop to 150,000 this year due to a major smelter upgrade. At an investor briefing in Adelaide today, Jacqui McGill, asset president Olympic Dam, said the company was working on a three phase expansion plan for Olympic Dam

The first phase — the SMA — will increase production to 230,000 tonnes of copper equivalent by 2020.

The term “copper equivalent” refers to the value of the mine’s production when also taking into account the gold, silver and uranium it produces.

The second phase of the project — brownfield expansion or BFX — would cost $US2.1 billion with the company currently running the numbers on the project with a view to making a decision on going ahead in mid 2020…. http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/jobs/bhp-aims-to-make-a-decision-about-a-276-billion-expansion-of-olympic-dam-in-the-next-few-years/news-story/1a9f517cb561e7f46ea58cfbdc7983f3

November 29, 2017 Posted by | business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Western Australia: Mulga Rock Uranium Project threatens environmental impacts from Tailings waste:

Briefer (Nov 2017) by David Noonan, Independent Environment Campaigner

Uranium mining has unique, inherent risks and long term impacts. The West Australian Parliament has passed a Motion (Legislative Council 23 May 2012) recommending:

The government adopt equivalent or better environmental management regulatory requirements for any future uranium mine in Western Australia as exists under Commonwealth and Northern Territory legislation for the operation of the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory with regard to the disposal of radioactive tailings, including the requirements that –

(a) The tailings are physically isolated from the environment for at least 10,000 years: and

(b) Any contaminants arising from the tailings do not result in any detrimental environmental impacts for at least 10,000 years.”

The Barnett era WA gov Approval for the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (Dec 2016) fails to comply with required Commonwealth & NT legislative standards or with the WA Parliament recommendation.

There are two types of intended Tailings Storage Facilities (TSF): an Above Ground TSF and multiple Mine Pit TSF’s in 4 areas across 30 km. An “authorised extent of physical and operational elements” (Approval Schedule 1 Table 2) place some limits on Above Ground TSF but no limits on Mine Pit TSF’s:

Initial disposal for no longer than 2 years after commencement of mining operations, in the above ground TSF labelled on Figure 2. After this time, all disposal must be in the mine pits”;

Disposal of no more than 3 Mtpa of beneficiation rejects and no more than 2 Mtpa of post-leaching tailings material”, within an Above Ground TSF cleared area of up to 106 ha.

Mine Pit TSF’s are not required to use “best available landform modelling over 10 000 years post mine closure” or to try to meet a safety outcome that is applied to the Above Ground TSF disposal:

Condition 16 (1) ensure that the above ground TSF is safe to members of the public and non-human biota, geo-technically and geo-morphologically, and geo-chemically non-polluting.”

Condition 15-1 allows for a plume of tailings seepage and contaminants to move in groundwater:

The proponent shall manage the design and maintenance of all TSF’s to … ensure that the tailings plume is within background groundwater concentrations at the M39/1080 lease boundary”.

The TSF Monitoring and Management Plan (C 15-3) provides for the proponent: “to manage impacts on groundwater quality including from seepage of contaminants into the groundwater and/or soil”.

Conditions 12 & 14 only seek to “minimise impacts” on Inland Waters, on groundwater, and impacts on water quality, including: “Acid and Metalliferous Drainage from seepage into groundwater”.

A number of Management Plans relevant to TSF’s, Groundwater & Environment issues are required: “prior to substantial commencement of the proposal or as otherwise agreed in writing by the CEO” (Conditions 6-1 & 7-1). These Plans require the approval of the CEO Depart of Environment. 2

Barnett era WA gov Uranium Approvals fail to protect Aboriginal Heritage sites:

Redress is required to WA Uranium Approvals authorisation of impacts to Aboriginal Heritage in favour of mining vested interests and irrespective of cultural & heritage values. Aboriginal people should have rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent over any WA uranium mine proposal.

The WA Approval to the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (Condition 11-1 Aboriginal Heritage) authorises impacts to registered Aboriginal Heritage sites and to “unregistered sites”, with a weak objective to only minimise impacts on heritage sites rather than to properly protect sites and avoid impacts:

  1. minimise impacts as far as practical to registered sites DAA 1985 and DAA 1986 and unregistered sites.”

An Aboriginal Heritage Management Plan is required to be approved “prior to ground disturbing activities being undertaken” with decision powers held by the CEO of the Depart of Environment.

Flawed Federal Uranium Approval fails to mention Aboriginal Heritage or Tailings issues:

The Federal Approval to the Mulga Rock Uranium Project (02 March 2017, Minister Josh Frydenberg MP) inexplicably fails to mention Aboriginal Heritage or regulation of uranium mine radioactive tailings. These are unacceptable omissions of key Federal EPBC Act responsibilities to protect the environment from nuclear actions. The Federal ALP should commit to address this Liberal failure.

WA Approval Conditions require a “Compliance Assessment Plan” by May 2018:

WA Approval Condition 4 “Compliance Reporting” requires the proponent submit a “Compliance Assessment Plan” by May 2018, to the satisfaction of CEO Depart of Environment. This will test the new ALP State gov: acquiesce to uranium mining or require robust Plans to protect the environment.

Further, the CEO has a power under Condition 5 to require release of all validated environmental data relevant to assessment of the Mulga Rock Project “within a reasonable time period approved by the CEO”. These data sets should be made public ASAP and well prior to any Project commencement.

marginal Uranium Project risks a pristine Priority Ecological Community:

The Mulga Rock Uranium Project site is entirely inside the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community and upstream from the Queens Victoria Springs ‘A Class Nature Reserve’. The project poses a serious long term risk to a listed ‘pristine’ area through production of approx. 32 million tonnes of radioactive tailings and seepage of wastes that require isolation for over 10 000 years.

The Bulletin Magazine (Oct 2016) reports capital costs for Mulga Rock processing and mining infrastructure and indirect costs at over A$360 million, with a planned annual production of uranium oxide concentrate at (only) 1,350 tonnes over a mine life of 16 years. A ‘break even’ Uranium Price for Mulga Rock has been estimated at US$50 per pound. Steve Kidd a former senior official of the World Nuclear Association writes in NEI Magazine (Sept 2017) that: “…uranium prices are set to remain in the US$20’s per pound for a long time, maybe throughout the whole of the 2020’s.

For further info see: www.ccwa.org.au/nuclearfreewa and www.ccwa.org.au/mulga_rocks 

November 18, 2017 Posted by | environment, legal, reference, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Costly removal of uranium from water supplies

Tamworth Regional Council uranium removal $50,000 more than initial estimate, Northern daily Leader, Jacob McArthur , 22 Oct 17

October 23, 2017 Posted by | New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

Julie Bishop in pro uranium session with CEO of failed miner Paladin!

Julie Bishop helps promote African uranium with Australian zombie miner, Independent Australia Dave Sweeney Better known for her support for asbestos, why is Julie Bishop fronting an African mining conference beside uranium miner John Borshoff, who ran Paladin Energy into insolvency and called Fukushima a “sideshow”?

NO DOUBT, tall tales and cocktails will both flow at this week’s Africa Down Under mining conference in Perth, an annual event that sees Australian politicians join their African counterparts alongside a melange of miners, merchants and media.

But it is unlikely that too many of these will be the stories of corruption, dirty dealing and corner cutting that are so common in the world of resource extraction, especially in the developing or majority world.

Earlier this decade the Human Rights Law Resource Centre found that many

‘Australian companies, particularly mining companies, can have a severe impact on human rights throughout the world, including the right to food, water, health and a clean environment. Despite this, successive governments lack a clear framework of human rights obligations for Australian corporations operating overseas. This is particularly problematic in countries with lax or limited regulations.’

The operations and impacts of one embattled Australian miner highlights the point. For years, Paladin Energy was a bullish uranium promoter, now in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster it has joined the zombie companies — the walking corporate dead.

For a few short years, Paladin, headed by the John Borshoff, a man reminiscent of Les Patterson with a drill-rig, operated the Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi.

Borshoff was clear in his rationale stating that the

“Australians and the Canadians have become over-sophisticated in their environmental and social concerns over uranium mining — the future is in Africa.”

The contested mine was a focus of sustained criticism from community and civil society groups before being placed into extended ‘care and maintenance’ following the collapse in global demand and the freefall in the uranium commodity price that followed Fukushima.

Borshoff termed the Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima meltdown a “sideshow”. Not true, although Paladin were always clowns. But never funny ones.

The company is now in administration and a complicated planned bailout involving a Chinese takeover of a shrinking Namibian uranium project has failed. So now, as the creditors circle, who cleans up after the party? What priority will be given to addressing the disrupted and damaged country and communities around Kayelekera?

All good questions to ask John Borshoff, who is presenting Africa Down Under in a session with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. But don’t hold your breath. This year he will wear a different hard hat. Paladin is the past and the future now is Deep Yellow — a junior miner with ambitions in Namibia. The caravan moves on with scarcely a glance behind.

Paladin’s ambition and appetite always exceeded its capacity and competence and now the gap between its inflated promises and its profound under-performance is absolute.

As the senior Mirarr Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula reflected about her experience with the uranium sector in Kakadu:

”The promises never last, the problems always do.”………

The absence of a robust regulatory regime in many African countries can see situations where Australian companies are engaged in activities that would not be acceptable practise at home.

Paladin’s boom to bust case study is a further clear example of the lack of independent scrutiny of the uranium sector that also reflects poorly on the activities of Australian miners operating in nations with limited governance and regulatory capacity.

The mining sector always makes a difference, but it is not always a positive one. Especially given that many of the Australian company’s active in the African mining sector are juniors with limited capacity, scant accountability and little or no operational experience or proven compliance history.

In 2015, Tracey Davies, a lawyer with the South African-based Centre for Environmental Rights told Fairfax Media of the widespread and

“… very strong perception that when Australian mining companies come here they take every advantage of regulatory and compliance monitoring weaknesses, and of the huge disparity in power between themselves and affected communities, and aim to get away with things they wouldn’t even think of trying in Australia.”

There are too many examples of Australian mining activities in Africa ending in corruption, environmental damage or community disruption for us to simply accept pro-industry rhetoric. There is a clear need for increased transparency, responsibility and support for affected communities. And a clear need for independent proof, not industry promises.

Africa Down Under cannot be allowed to be an uncritical platform for Plunder Down Under.

Dave Sweeney is the Australian Conservation Foundation‘s nuclear free campaigner. You can follow him on Twitter @nukedavesweeney.  https://independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/julie-bishop-helps-promote-african-uranium-with-australian-zombie-miner,10694#.WbH-ZD_xgOU.twitter

September 8, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, uranium | Leave a comment

Aboriginal women’s long walk to stop uranium mining in Western Australia

‘Walkabout’ protesters get their day in court to fight uranium mining in WA http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/walkabout-protesters-get-their-day-in-court-to-fight-uranium-mining-in-wa-20170831-gy82w9.html, David Allan-Petale, 31 Aug 17, 

A group of indigenous women have completed a month long ‘walkabout protest’ against uranium mining in Western Australia that saw them travel on foot through remote lands being considered as mine sites.

The protest was kindled by the WA government’s move in June to allow four uranium projects previously granted environmental approval to proceed, whilst blocking any future mining bids.

Toro Energy’s Wiluna project, Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project, and Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects all had the approval before Labor won the March election.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said Labor, which banned uranium mining when last in power between 2002 and 2008, had received advice it could not legally deny secondary approvals for the purpose of frustrating those already granted.

“In making this decision, the McGowan government has carefully considered the potential liability risk for WA taxpayers,” Mr Johnston said.

 But the government’s wider view is not shared by the Yeelirrie Traditional Owners group, whose lands they believe are under threat from any mine that’s pushed through.

The Conservation Council of WA is part of a legal challenge against a proposal by the Canadian uranium company Cameco to develop a uranium mine at Yeelirrie, 70 kilometres south-west of Wiluna in the northern Goldfields.

Shirley Wonyabong, Elizabeth Wonyabong, and Vicky Abdullah from the Walkatjurra Walkabout against uranium mining protest are part of this legal challenge, and they started their walking protest to highlight their struggle against it.

“Yeelirrie is important to my family. We have fought to protect this site for over 40 years and we won’t stop now,” Vicky Abdullah said.

“I grew up here, my ancestors were Traditional Owners of country, and I don’t want a toxic legacy here for my grandchildren.

“We have no choice but to defend our country, our culture, and the environment from the threat of uranium mining – not just for us but for everyone.

“The last government made a mistake approving the Yeelirrie mine – now we have a chance to make that right through the courts.”

The women were joined by fifty other people from around the world who wanted to join the protest, which saw the group walk through traditional lands, including Yeelirrie.

They finished the walkbout on Thursday, and were told by supporters that the Supreme Court will hear an application for Judicial Review of uranium mine proposal on November 14.

September 1, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Safety concerns about Port Pirie’s former uranium plant site raised by Liberal candidate

Liberal candidate raises safety concerns about Pirie’s former uranium plant site, Port Pirie Recorder, 25 Aug 17,  Frome Liberal candidate Kendall Jackson is calling on the state government to restore the fence at the former Port Pirie Uranium and Rare Earth Treatment Plant and Tailings site.

She said the State Development Department was responsible for managing the area and was yet to release the Radiation and Environment Management Plan for the site.

This was expected to be released in the first half of this year.

“The government must publicly release its plans for the former uranium plant site,” Mrs Jackson said.

“Residents deserve to know what the government has planned for the site and why the report is taking so long to be publicly released…..http://www.portpirierecorder.com.au/story/4877490/fears-over-former-uranium-plant-site/

August 26, 2017 Posted by | safety, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Aboriginal group’s claim against Western Australia Conservation Council over uranium mining

Traditional owners hit out at WA Conservation Council for alleged misrepresentation over uranium campaign http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-28/traditional-owners-hit-out-wa-conservation-council-on-uranium/8751926  ABC Goldfields By Jarrod Lucas An Aboriginal corporation representing traditional owners in WA’s northern Goldfields claims an environmental group has misrepresented it by suggesting it supports legal action against a proposed uranium mine.

The Conservation Council of WA launched Supreme Court action earlier this month to challenge the Barnett Government’s decision to approve Cameco’s proposed mine at Yeelirrie, 1,079km north east of Perth.

The council maintains it has the support of members of the Tjiwarl people, the native title holders over the Yeelirrie area, in pursuing the action.

But the Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation said they do not speak for its 150-odd members or 10 directors, who represent each of the area’s different family groups.

A spokesman for the Tjiwarl group told the ABC it is yet to formally adopt a policy on uranium mining or the Yeelirriee court case — although that could change as soon as September when the directors meet in Leinster.

“Any decision about this project needs to be made by Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) in accordance with our traditional laws and customs,” the corporation said in a statement.

“Until such time, we ask that media outlets, and the Conservation Council of WA, refrain from referring to Tjiwarl (Aboriginal Corporation) as supporting this legal proceeding.”

The spokesman said the group had received significant backlash on social media, due to its perceived involvement in the action.

Conservation Council denies misrepresenting group

Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen denied they ever misrepresented the Aboriginal corporation.

“We haven’t linked them to the case, there’s certain members of that claim group that are part of the case, but we haven’t linked the body corporate to the case and I’m not sure where they’re getting that information from,” Mr Verstegen said.

“We haven’t made any linkage between their claim group and the case — it’s just individuals who are part of that claim group who are part of the case.”

Vicky Abdullah, whose family has opposed uranium mining at Yeelirrie for more than 40 years, is one of three traditional owners who are backing the Conservation Council’s legal action.

“Yeelirrie is important to my family; we have fought to protect this site and we won’t stop now,” Ms Abdullah said.

A crowdfunding page set up by the 47-year-old not-for-profit group seeking to raise $50,000 to fund the court case also mentions the traditional owners.

At last count the page had raised more than $9,800.

Uranium mine a challenging call for traditional owners

The Tjiwarl claim was officially recognised by the Federal Court in April, with the long legal fight seeing the group’s 13,000 square kilometres of land between the towns of Wiluna and Leonora officially acknowledged.

It has sparked a flurry of negotiations with Cameco and fellow mining giants BHP and Gold Fields, both of which have operating mines in the area.

But as WA’s biggest uranium deposit, Yeelirrie remains the area’s most controversial potential development.

Discovered by Western Mining Corporation in 1972, the deposit was sold to Cameco by BHP for $US430 million in 2012.

The mine takes its name from a nearby pastoral station, which in turn took its name from the traditional word for the area.

Opponents of the mine say the name translates to “place of death”, but others have suggested “lethargy” or “fatigue” are better translations.

The mine is one of four proposed uranium mines the McGowan Government will allow to proceed, despite reinstating a ban on any further development or exploration in Western Australia.

The Tjiwarl spokesman said the group would likely formalise its position on uranium mining when the corporation’s directors meet in September.

July 29, 2017 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australia Walkabout against uranium -month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora

 https://thewest.com.au/news/kalgoorlie-miner/walkabout-against-uranium-ng-b88547279z, , 26 July 2017 A month-long pilgrimage from Wiluna to Leonora to campaign against uranium mining will begin next month in the wake of the State Government’s approval of four proposed uranium mines earlier this year.

Program co-ordinator Marcus Atkinson said the seventh annual Walkatjurra Walkabout will see 50 to 60 participants walk 10km to 15km a day while connecting with land and culture and supporting the sovereign rights of Aboriginal people to protect their lands and support a nuclear-free future.

Mr Atkinson said considering the Government’s recent decision, this year’s walk was particularly pertinent.

“We want to stop uranium mining and connect with country and culture,” he said.

“It is about supporting traditional owners to show that people from all over the country and the world are standing with them.”

One of the mines, the Yeelirrie uranium project, was approved against the recommendation of the Environmental Protection Authority which said mining would lead to the extinction of several unique species of subterranean fauna.

The Conservation Council of WA and members of the Tjiwarl native title group have taken Supreme Court action against the Yeerlirrie project.

CCWA director Piers Verstegen cited environmental, economic and social concerns over the approval of the mine.

He said environment groups could not allow any project that would knowingly cause the extinction of unique species to go unchallenged, given the precedent it would set.

Mr Atkinson said the walk, which is quite a significant undertaking, was the most effective way of acknowledging the importance of the land. “Often we bring traditional owners to Perth to speak about the significance of the land, but those words and stories are so much more powerful when you are out on the country,” he said.

“It emphasises the fact that this isn’t a place in the middle of nowhere and it is worth saving.

“We need to take a step back and make a decision which is best for WA, not a handful of multinational companies.”

The Walkatjurra Walkabout begins in Kalgoorlie on August 8.

To register to be a part of the walk or for more information, visit walkingforcountry.com.

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Opposition to nuclear, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Quiet shipment of uranium from Australia to India – non signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty

Australia quietly makes first uranium shipment to India three years after supply agreement, ABC Radio The World Today By South Asia correspondent James Bennett, 18 Jul 17 Three years after signing a civilian nuclear supply treaty, the Federal Government confirmed overnight the first shipment of Australian uranium has left for India.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop provided little detail about the inaugural sale, saying only that it was subject to commercial negotiations.

The supply deal with India, signed in 2014, is the first of its kind Australia has made with a country not party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty…….

Details of inaugural shipment unclear

It is not clear how big the shipment is, where it departed from, or where in India it might be heading.

Indian officials were unable to immediately provide comment, while the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said only that the details were subject to commercial negotiation.

Parliament only passed the final legislation enabling sales last December, following years of debate about supplying uranium to a country with a strategic nuclear weapons program and that refuses to sign the non-proliferation treaty.

Parliamentary hearings to ratify the supply treaty in 2014 heard the International Atomic Energy Agency still had concerns about India’s safeguards.

Ongoing tensions between India and its neighbour Pakistan, which also has not signed the non-proliferation treaty, have raised the spectre of armed confrontation in the past……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-19/australia-quietly-makes-first-uranium-shipment-to-india/8722108

July 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics international, uranium | 1 Comment

As ERA’s Ranger Uranium mine lease to expire, town of Jabiru’s future is not clear

Kakadu National Park: Jabiru residents in limbo as governments, mining company contemplate town’s future, ABC, By Sara Everingham, 18 July 17,  If the Northern Territory’s mining town of Jabiru near Kakadu National Park is to stay afloat, decisions will need to be made soon to avoid the loss of essential services, infrastructure and people, a report commissioned by Energy Resources of Australia has warned.

ERA, which operates the Ranger Uranium mine, is planning for the expiry of its lease agreements in 2021.

The company is required to return the town of Jabiru, which is also a service hub for the national park, to its pre-development state, removing housing and critical infrastructure, including power and water services.

Jabiru, which has a population of about 1,100, was built in 1982 as a mining residential and service hub, and the majority of its residents, whether they work at the mine or not, live in the town.

Even if there’s a consensus that Jabiru should continue to exist, it’s not clear what services would remain, particularly if there’s a sharp population decline once ERA departs………

The NT and Federal Governments have been in talks with traditional owners, the Northern Land Council, and ERA about a plan for the future of the town, but have not yet reached an agreement.

Traditional owners have also been in talks with the Commonwealth about a new township lease over Jabiru.

In the absence of any final agreements, ERA was planning for the closure of the town in four years’ time…….

ERA’s lease on the Ranger Uranium Mine expires in 2021, and the rehabilitation of the Ranger Mine has to be completed by 2026.

ERA had proposed prolonging the life of the Ranger mine by developing the underground 3 Deeps project, but in 2015 that plan lost the support of traditional owners and Rio Tinto, the majority shareholder of ERA.

The Mirrar traditional owners “absolutely” want to see the town continue and have been intensely lobbying the Federal Government since 2003, said Justin O’Brien, CEO of the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

“If you want security of tenure, if you want to avoid the bulldozers and the base case scenario that’s still the only option on the table, sadly, you negotiate very speedily the township lease that the traditional owners have put on the table, which we’ve commenced negotiating with the Australian Government,” he said.   “If the Government engages quickly in the next several months with traditional owners then yes, it’s got a great future in terms of tourism and service provision. It’s a really positiveplace.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-18/jabiru-residents-in-limbo-as-uranium-mining-draws-to-a-close/8718432

July 19, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin Energy going broke

Paladin Energy enters administration, WNN, 03 July 2017  Paladin Energy Ltd has today appointed administrators after it was unable to agree a delay to the repayment of $277 million it owes Electricité de France (EDF). The administrators will continue to operate the company on a business-as-usual basis until further 

Western Australia-based Paladin in February announced plans for a balance sheet restructuring to enable it to meet debts due in April, after plans to sell a 24% stake in the Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia to China’s CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings failed to progress. The sale of a 30% stake in the Manyingee project in Western Australia to Avira Energy Ltd (formerly MGT Resources), announced at the same time as the CNNC sale in July 2016, also failed to complete.

CNNC, which already owns a 25% joint venture equity stake in the Namibian project, subsequently began a process that could lead to it exercising an option to acquire all of Paladin’s share of Langer Heinrich. This led to the proposal in May of an alternative restructuring plan by Paladin, as the original plan had assumed the company would retain an ongoing interest in its Namibian flagship project.

Paladin is due to pay EDF $277 million by 10 July under a long-term supply agreement signed in 2012. The company said it had approached EDF to grant a “standstill” agreement, which would allow time for the alternative restructure proposal to be implemented. Although terms had been negotiated they had not been signed.

“EDF has now informed Paladin that it is not prepared to enter into a standstill agreement and requires payment of the amount when due on 10 July 2017,” Paladin said today……. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/UF-Paladin-Energy-enters-administration-0307177.html

July 5, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment