WA Government blows one million on dangerous, dead-end uranium industry
The Barnett Government’s costly support for uranium mining in Western Australia will leave the state littered with long-term environmental disasters, the Greens warned today.
The State Government has thrown away more than one million dollars encouraging uranium mining in just the first three quarters of 2010/11.
Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said the ongoing problems plaguing Ranger mine in the Northern Territory and the decades-long multi-million dollar clean up of the defunct Rum Jungle mine illustrated the danger of uranium mining.
“Just last week it was revealed another seven million dollars will be spent just assessing how best to clean up the radioactive mess at Rum Jungle, and this is not the first time authorities have tried to rehabilitate the site since it closed 40 years ago,” he said.
“At Ranger there have been more than 150 leaks, spills and license breaches at the mine since it opened in 1981. In 2009 a government-appointed scientist confirmed Ranger was leaking 100,000 litres of contaminated water into the ground on a daily basis. At present it is closed due to heavy rainfall and the danger of more leaks.”
Robin Chapple, MLC for the Mining and Pastoral Region, said the State Government was spending vast sums of public money to prop up a toxic and ill-fated industry.
“In 2010/11, the State Government has gifted $1,035,650 in taxpayers’ money for exploration on uranium mining projects,” he said. “In addition to the serious health and environmental problems caused by uranium mining itself, the market for this radioactive material is shrinking. With the nuclear industry in retreat around the world and countries such as Germany and Switzerland phasing out nuclear power completely, uranium mining also makes no economic sense.”
The two-day AusIMM International Uranium Conference begins today and is being held in Perth. Tonight at 7pm, Senator Scott Ludlam will debate Australian Uranium Association CEO Michael Angwin at The Grove Library, 1 Leake Street (Cnr Stirling Hwy), Peppermint Grove.
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302