(en) Uranium Mining In Australia

DJ (dmjones@arts.adelaide.edu.au)
Tue, 17 Jun 1997 15:56:17 +0900

A AA AAAA The A-Infos News Service AA AA AA AA INFOSINFOSINFOS http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ AAAA AAAA AAAAA AAAAA

Adelaide, South Australia:

On Tuesday, June 10, the Wilderness Society's Anti-Uranium Roadshow came to the North Terrace campus of South Australia's University of Adelaide. The visit of the roadshow comes at a time when the uranium mining industry is looking to expand its operations under a government which will allow uranium mining to go ahead despite concerns about its environmental, social and health impacts.

Kevin Parker, the Wilderness Society's National Campaign Officer, is on a fast-paced and arduous tour of some 100 towns and cities throughout Australia. Parker aims to take his anti-Uranium message to people from all walks of life, in all kinds of places and he hopes that at least some of the people who come to hear him speak will realise the folly of uranium mining.

Speaking to a small crowd in the University's Union cinema, Parker spoke with great enthusiasm and persuasiveness about the perils involved with the mining of uranium. Parker informed the assembled group of the history of the mining of uranium and the uses to which uranium has been put and the problems it continues to cause for people throughout the world.

Parker pointed out that that the mining of uranium brings about both environmental and social problems. Tailings dams are not reliable, and they cause radiation to leak into groundwater, and this effects many animals and people who receive little or no monetary benefit from the mining of uranium. Many of the companies who mine uranium in Australia are owned by companies who have no interest in the welfare of Australians.

Australian uranium has been purchased by France and other nations whose nuclear power industries are connected to the manufacturing of nuclear weapons. As the world has found out, the nuclear industry is not as safe as its proponents have argued, nor is it as cost effective as was argued during the years of the Cold War. The use of nuclear power is not only environmentally unsound, given the lack of accountable disposal programs, but it stifles the creation and funding of alternative energy technolgies and programs to reduce energy consumption.

In addition, Parker was concerned to point out that Australian uranium can, and does, end up causing problems for people all over the world. Australian uranium has been put into nuclear weapons, and the recent nuclear tests in the Pacific, are likely to have used some Australian uranium. While he accepted that workers had a right to earn a living in the uranium mining industry, Parker argued that they should not have to work in an industry which was not only dangerous to themselves but which did so much social and environmental damage.

In recent times, the present Australian government and mining companies with interests in Australia have argued for the expansion of the uranium mining industry. This is very worrying, considering that several of the proposed mine sites are on environmentally sensitive sites, such as Jabiluka in the wetlands of the world-renowned Kakadu National Park. The government and the mining companies are set to go ahead with this mine, completely disregarding the wishes of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area and the concerns of environmentalists and other people around Australia. While the Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill has said the Jabiluka mine will only go ahead if it meets strict environmental guidelines, the government's continuing rhetoric of jobs, economic growth and foreign exchange suggests that the word 'strict' will be interpreted very loosely. In many cases the government gives subsidies and free infrastructure to mining companies, eg. free water.

The current Australian government seems set to expand the uranium mining industry with little thought for the ramifications that uranium mining has for the Australian environment and people, and the rest of the world. Western Mining Corporation is currently set to increase its output at Roxby Downs by up to 500%. This will add to an already (un)impressive amount of radioactive tailings and a substantial consumption of water and energy. Roxby Downs takes a its water from the Great Artesian Basin of Australia, and the expansion of their uranium mining operations could greatly accelerate their demise. There is also the likelihood that the Honeymoon and Beverley uranium mines (both in South Australia) will be approved by the Federal Government.

In concluding his talk, Parker argued that if Australians are against nuclear weapons and nuclear power and other associated problems connected with uranium mining, then they should do everything in their power to convince the government and other Australians that uranium mining is not in Australia's best interest, and that uranium mining should be discontinued in Australia.

Anyone concerned about the proposed expansion of uranium mining should send a message to:

John Howard Prime Minister c/- Parliament House Canberra ACT 2000

fax +61 6 273 4100


Level 9 ANZ McCaughan House 56-70 Phillip Street (GPO Box 36) Sydney NSW 2000

Phone:+61 2 9251 5711 Fax: +61 2 9251 5454

you can contact Sen. Robert Hill also:

Parliament House: Ph: +61 6 277 7640 Fax +61 06 273 6101 State Address: Commonwealth Parliament Offices, 100 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Ph +61 8 8237 7920 Fax +61 8 8237 7929

Darren Jones

Darren Jones                |Rumours of my intelligence are greatly       
History                     |exagerrated! 
University of Adelaide      |        
South Australia 5005        |A room full of monkeys | A tidal wave hits me
dmjones@arts.adelaide.edu.au|They could type my life| I am thrown backwards
                            |better than Shakespeare| only to step foward

****** A-Infos News Service ***** News about and of interest to anarchists

Subscribe -> email MAJORDOMO@TAO.CA with the message SUBSCRIBE A-INFOS Info -> http://www.tao.ca/ainfos/ Reproduce -> please include this section