National and state environment groups have today release an analysis of the proposed Mulga Rock uranium mine, which identifies that the project lies between three fault lines that the proponent failed to adequately disclose.
The confirmation raises serious environmental concerns over land clearing, water consumption, waste management and impacts on rare and endangered species.
The public comment period for the proposal closed today with over 1100 individual submissions calling on the EPA to reject the mine proposal.
Vimy Resources’ proposal for a uranium project at Mulga Rock is in the Yellow Sandplain Priority Ecological Community, 250km north east of Kalgoorlie and upstream from the Queen Victoria Springs A Class Nature Reserve.
“Vimy want to take 15 million litres of underground water every day for their uranium operation,” said CCWA nuclear free campaigner Mia Pepper. “This ancient water is sustaining life and supporting this fragile desert ecosystem. Vimy would be voraciously consuming this precious water resource in a bid to extract a product that is unsafe, unnecessary and uneconomic.”
“Vimy are seeking to fast-track approvals for this project before next year’s state election even though the uranium price has flat-lined in the wake of Fukushima”.
The environment groups detailed submission has also identified deficiencies in the plans for the long term containment and management of radioactive mine tailings, including the presence of under reported seismic fault-lines in the proposed tailing dams region.
“March 11 is the fifth anniversary of the Australian uranium fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“Australia should withdraw from mining the mineral that fuelled Fukushima, not open the door to more mines and more radioactive disasters.”
In September 2011 following the Fukushima accident UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon called on Australia to conduct ‘an in-depth assessment of the net cost impact of the impacts of mining fissionable material on local communities and ecosystems’.
“This assessment has never occurred,” said Dave Sweeney.
“Instead of trying to fast-track an unwelcome new mine to promote an unsafe old industry it is time for a genuine examination of the costs and benefits of WA’s fledgling uranium sector through a full public inquiry under the provisions of the state Environmental Protection Act”.
For further context or comment:
Mia Pepper, Nuclear Free Campaigner CCWA – 0415 380 808
Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner ACF – 0408 317 812
Note: Detailed joint environment submission is available at - www.ccwa.org.au/mulgarocks
- Since the WA Government lifted the ban on uranium over seven years ago not one uranium proposal has attained final approval to begin mine construction.
- The recent SA Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission preliminary findings found that "significant barriers to the viability of new uranium mine developments in South Australia" including the "current low price of uranium and uncertainty about the timing of any price increases" – a finding with direct relevance for WA
- Australian uranium production has been in decline since 2009
- In 2014-2015 the Australian uranium industry employed just 987 people nationally
- The uranium spot price is currently $32.15
- Nuclear energy contributes just 4.4% of the global energy mix
- Renewable energy contributes 6% of the global energy mix with a growth rate of
- There are 62 reactors under construction worldwide - of these 47 are experiencing construction and commissioning delays.
- Globally over 130 reactors have operated for over 30 years - nearing their lifespan. 54 of those reactors have operated beyond their designed life span of 40 years. These reactors are required to be decommissioned and the industry will struggle to maintain its shrinking market share.
- There is no state bi-partisan political support for uranium mining in WA
Image from Vimy's Mulga Rock PER - Appendix C2 Figure 2 Subterranean Fauna Pilot Study, Rockwater Consultants.