Gaping holes in Wiluna uranium plan demand it be rejected – Greens
Media Release, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, Robin Chapple MLC. Monday October 31st
Toro Energy’s bid to mine uranium at Wiluna has raised a series of unanswered questions, WA Greens warned today.
In his submission to the Environmental Protection Authority, Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam identified a several alarming holes in company’s impact assessment of the proposed mine.
“Only the first iteration of this project is being assessed. This project should not proceed until there is a full public inquiry as provided for under the Act into the wider environmental and public health consequences of uranium mining in WA, and full disclosure by the company as to the real scope of the project. This company has multiple targets on dozens of tenements across the north-east goldfields.”
Senator Ludlam said Toro’s application was startlingly incomplete.
“The company does not yet know from where it will source 35 million tonnes of groundwater over the proposed 14 year life of the mine. It does not yet have a coherent proposal for transporting the radioactive concentrate thousands of kilometres to the port of Darwin. Toro has not yet undertaken a formal assessment of security risks, despite acknowledging potentially high risks in the transport phase, and there has been no high volume air sampling for much of the 2010 sampling period.
“A formal agreement with Aboriginal Traditional Owners has not been signed and the mandatory heritage mapping survey has not yet been completed.
“Toro has not revealed estimates of future mine closure liability and has not submitted a final rehabilitation plan. This is remarkable given the company intends for post-closure liability to pass to Australian taxpayers only 10 years after mining ceases, though the consequences of the mine will endure for many centuries.”
Greens WA member for the mining and pastoral region Robin Chapple MLC said the “original EIS in March 1981 of the failed Lake Way project identified the need to build a new bore field for the Town of Wiluna as the water draw done would have posed a risk to the community. There is no such commitment or acknowledgment in the current referral relating to water drawdown or contamination”.
Senator Ludlam said it is ridiculous that the EPA is still precluded from considering the wider consequences of uranium exports – and restricted to assessing only the domestic impacts of the project.
“Australia’s general approach involves approving exports of this material while refusing any liability for the risks inherent in fissioning the product in reactors, let alone contemplating the fact our uranium exports facilitate diversion of other sources into nuclear weapons production.
“If the events following the triple-meltdown in Japan have taught us anything, it is that the calculated ignorance of Australian policy makers as to the consequences of this trade is no longer supported by the majority of Australians, and should be brought within the remit of the EPA.”
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302