Australian news, and some related international items

BHP Billiton’s huge free water extraction from Great Artesian Basin, for Olympic Dam uranium mine

Save the Great Artesian Basin From Olympic Dam Uranium Mine, Save the Basin, 10 June 11 THE BLOGGER IS A BHP BILLITON SHAREHOLDER. On 13 May 2011 the company announced a proposal for six-fold expansion of Olympic Dam Mine in South Australia – to extract the most valuable single mineral deposit in the world. The mine will consume up to 42 million litres of water a day from the Great Artesian Basin for plus 40 years.

The justification by BHP Billition for its ongoing demand on the Great Artesian Basin is set out at 4.3.4 of Chapter 4 of the company’s Final Proposal published on 13 May, 2011. …

…The company does intend to increase GAB extraction by 9 million litres a day as part of the mine expansion – to that extent therefore the reference in the second paragraph to “…significant improvements in water use efficiency…” is deceptive.  Not a drop of the “significant improvements in water use efficiency” is offset against GAB demand by the mine……

  • The protection of the GAB from the expanded Olympic Dam Mine can be achieved through the Approval Process that is now in the hands of the Federal and South Australian Governments – in the form of the Conditions of Consent imposed on the company through the Approval Process.
  • This issue should now be brought to the attention of every Member of the Federal and South Australian Parliaments.  Readers of this blog may consider passing on the details of this site to your own Member(s) of those Parliaments. Or contact the relevant State/Federal Minister – see ‘USEFUL CONTACTS’ on this site).

June 11, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, water | , | Leave a comment

Point Lowly desalination plant – profit for BHP, destruction to environment

 the Rann Government’s lack of foresight is being clouded by the short term financial windfall created by the mine. “It’s just the cheapest, nastiest alternative,” said Melville-Smith. “There is no planning for the future of South Australia,

The Point Lowly desal plant that’s got SA squabbling Crikey   Esther Ooi 23 May 11: BHP Billiton refuses to back down from its controversial plans to build a desalination plant at Point Lowly, South Australia. The plant forms part of the proposed Olympic Dam mine expansion, but fears are growing over the possible risk of significant environmental damage.

“The fact is, it is just the worst place you could put a desalination plant,” Dr. Andrew Melville-Smith, chairperson of the Save Point Lowly group, told Crikey. He also says there will be severe ecological damage on Point Lowly’s recreational, coastal and living areas. Continue reading

May 24, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, water | , | Leave a comment

ERA uranium company delays improvements to Ranger water management

Ranger uranium miner accused of delays, ABC News, 2 May 11, By Anna Henderson, An environmental scientist is calling on a uranium miner in Kakadu National Park to urgently improve its water management or it risks serious harm to the environment. Continue reading

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Northern Territory, water | | Leave a comment

Famous Kakadu National Park in peril from radiation

For 30 years about 100,000 litres of contaminated water a day has been leaking from the tailings dam into fissures beneath Kakadu

Radioactive water threatens Kakadu, The Age, Lindsay Murdoch, April 16, 2011  Radioactive water is in danger of spilling into an Aboriginal community and Kakadu’s World Heritage-listed wetlands if record rainfalls continue to deluge the vast Ranger uranium mine. Continue reading

April 16, 2011 Posted by | Northern Territory, water | | Leave a comment

Productivity Commission condemns desalination plants

The 600-page report is highly critical of decisions by state governments across the country to overinvest in expensive and inefficient desalination plants, with economic modelling indicating desalination plants in Melbourne and Perth alone could cost consumers between $3.1 billion and $4.2bn more than cheaper water-saving measures over 20 years.

Commission slams desal plants * Lauren Wilson * The Australian * April 14, 2011 PROLONGED water restrictions and expensive desalination plants are the least efficient way of providing water security, the government’s key economic advisory body has found. Continue reading

April 14, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, water | | Leave a comment

Radioactive water risk keeps Ranger uranium mine closed

a threat of contaminated water leaking from Ranger into nearby waterways could keep the mine closed for the rest of this year….there’s no way the company will be able to safely treat the contaminated water stored at Ranger by the time the mining lease expires in 10 years….

AUDIO   AM – Traditional Aboriginal land owners pressure uranium miner to shut up shop 08/04/2011 ABC Radio National.  08/04/2011 TONY EASTLEY: The Australian company that produces 10 per cent of the world’s uranium is under increasing pressure by Aboriginal traditional owners to shut up shop.The Mirarr people own the section of the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park that includes the Ranger uranium mine operated by Energy Resources of Australia. Continue reading

April 8, 2011 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, water | | Leave a comment

BHP’s Olympic Dam uranium mine the reason for desalination plant

Olympic Dam, South Australia BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company The most ambitious mining-water supply project, which includes the expansion of the associated mine—it will become the world’s largest uranium producer…But the expansion depends on a coastal desalination plant— —at Point Lowly on southern Australia’s Spencer Gulf. Four pumping stations will move water through the 320-kilometer (200-mile) pipeline, providing nearly 90 percent of the 83 million cubic meters (22 billion gallons) of water the mine will use each year for ore processing and dust suppression,

Australia Builds Desalination Plants and Pipelines to Bring Water to Mines, Circle of Blue WaterNews,  05 April 2011 To feed water-hungry mining industries, similar plans are in the works to supply drought-ridden regions of Australia and China. Continue reading

April 7, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, water | , | 1 Comment

South Australian govt under pressure over Arkaroola’s environment

Some of the worst effects would be on the region’s scant groundwater resources….five million litres of water a day for mining and processing. “That’s a heck of a lot of water in a very dry environment,”

SA Labor buckling on Arkaroola uranium?,  Green Left Weekly, February 27, 2011, By Renfrey Clarke, Adelaide Under heavy public pressure, the South Australian government of Labor Premier Mike Rann appears to be wavering in its support for mining uranium in the Arkaroola wilderness in the state’s north. Continue reading

February 28, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, uranium, water | , | Leave a comment

Precious groundwater at risk from uranium mining

The conservation council’s Mia Pepper says mining for uranium in Wiluna’s dry climate could be disastrous for local water supplies.
With uranium mining, water uptake is always a really big issue, in a dry and arid area recharge of groundwater is also a problem but the biggest issue is radioactive tailings from uranium mining which will inevitably contaminate groundwater with other uranium mines around Australia,” she said.

Miner urged to rethink uranium plans – ABC North West WA – Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 16 Feb 2011, The Conservation Council of WA says a mining company which has begun testing for uranium, near Wiluna in the mid-west Western Australia, should consider the environmental impacts of its proposed exploration. Continue reading

February 16, 2011 Posted by | water, Western Australia | | Leave a comment

Aboriginals want a GENUINE study into Ranger uranium mine and water

Aboriginal people living in the area were worried about the health of their communities, wildlife and nearby world heritage listed wetlands. “The mining company – they wouldn’t listen to us,” she said…..The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation which represents the Mirrar is now calling for a study into surface water that comes out of the mine…

ERA rejects ‘poison’ mine water worry – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), By Anna Henderson  Feb 9, 2011 A senior traditional owner in Kakadu National Park is calling on the Australian government to reject plans to expand the Ranger uranium mine. Continue reading

February 9, 2011 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Northern Territory, uranium, water | | Leave a comment

Doubts on the value of desalination plant for Adelaide

Given the plant will be one of the top 10 users of electricity in the state, Parnell wants the Government to commission an equivalent amount of new renewable energy to put into the grid……Gulf is being exposed to further damage to its marine life and sea grasses from excessive salinity and ultimately deoxygenated water………….

Will desal be worth its salt? | Adelaide Now, 22 Jan 2011, “……….The plant’s appetite is enormous. While Port Stanvac is better than some, it still takes 2.1 litres of seawater to produce a litre of fresh.When fully operational at the end of next year, the 100GL plant will suck in around 260 Olympic swimming pools of seawater a day and transform them into 120 swimming pools of clean water.The unwanted 140 pools of hyper-saline waste will be dispersed in the Gulf through an outfall pipe 2.5km out to sea………….. Continue reading

January 22, 2011 Posted by | South Australia, water | , | Leave a comment

Wave energy for South Australia

Wave power could roll in to South Australia’s west, ABC Rural News, 23/11/2010 Waves on the west coast of South Australia could soon be powering up towns in the region.Renewable energy technology company, Wave Rider Energy, will set up a pilot plant in the waters near Elliston.
The plant will turn the waves kinetic energy into mechanical energy, with a potential 250 kilowatts of power available………Wave power could roll in to South Australia’s west

November 23, 2010 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, South Australia, water | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colorado Town Council opposes uranium mill

the chief concern for the town is the danger a uranium mill could pose to the region’s water and air quality….“The increased presence of radionuclide particles that will contaminate our surface water bodies, currently used as our municipal drinking water source, is of critical concern to the Town of Telluride.”….because it could affect the tourist population, he said, it endangers Telluride’s economy.

Town of Telluride protests uranium mill Town pens letter to CDPHE Telluride Daily Planet, By Katie Klingsporn, November 21, 2010 A group of environmentalists from the Telluride region has been hustling for more than a year to protest a uranium mill proposed to go up in Paradox Valley, a lonely, windswept valley in western Montrose County. Now, the Telluride Town Council is hopping aboard the opposition movement. Continue reading

November 22, 2010 Posted by | uranium, water | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victorian Greens will promote transition from coal to renewable energy

Renewable energy has become a hot topic in the lead up to Victoria’s November 27 election, with the Clean Energy Council of Australia predicting a $9 billion cash windfall for the state from renewable energy projects.

Greens Pledge To Divert Millions From Coal Into Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy News : by Energy Matters, 19 Nov 10, The Victorian Greens say they will redirect $150 million away from a proposed coal-fired power station in the Latrobe Valley and put the money into renewable energy projects instead. Continue reading

November 18, 2010 Posted by | climate change - global warming, energy, politics, solar, Victoria, water, wind | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uranium company chairperson spruiks nuclear power to solve Australia’s water problems

Here’s a lovely bit of spin –  from Erica Smyth, of Toro  Energy uranium company, at Toro’s AGM yesterday.  Of  course, she’s on the board of ANSTO – Australia’s nuke-spruiking agency. and a member of Julia Gillard’s mining tax advisory panel.

Erica spruiks nuclear energy as a solution to Australia’s water shortage!   Hers is a complicated story about combining nuclear energy with desalination plants.

She also advocates nuclear power for electric cars – well, we knew that particular spin was coming!  But nuclear power to provide fresh water for Australia – that is indeed a new and wonderful spin.  (And, let’s not forget – the uranium/nuclear industry is the most water-intensive, water guzzling, of all industries. – Christina Macpherson

November 16, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Christina reviews, spinbuster, uranium, water | , , , | Leave a comment