After the 2007 state election the newly elected State Liberal Government lifted a long standing ban on uranium in WA. This came shortly after the Australian Labor Party changed the three mine policy which has since the 1980s meant that there could only be three uranium mines operating in Australia. With these two decisions WA has become the target for many uranium miners.
There are now approximately 140 companies with uranium interests in WA, there are three proposed mines which are engaged in the State's EPA approvals process followed closely by another two proposals which are advancing their exploration programs followed by about 80 + other uranium explorations.
Uranium mining in WA is not a done deal
There are two uranium mine proposals that have conditional state and federal environmental approval Kintyre and Wiluna. They still require a suite of approvals and licenses before they can begin construction. There is mounting concern in the communities about the dangers and implications of mining uranium. There are strong calls for a public inquiry into uranium mining from environment, social justice and public health groups, from traditional owners, unions and politicians.
WA has a strong history of opposition against the nuclear industry, we know it’s radioactive, we know that uranium and its by products can cause cancer, we know uranium mining and milling is water intensive and that we’re a dry state, we know that in Australia despite regulations and controls we have contaminated mine sites and weapons test sites that have never been cleaned up to a safe standard.
Nuclear and climate change
The nuclear industry and those who support it continue to talk about nuclear power being the solution to climate change, but we know there is carbon pollution associated with every stage of the nuclear fuel chain. We know that as ore grades decline mining and milling processes become more and more carbon intensive. Nuclear Power is polluting, radioactive, expensive and finite; it is unsafe, unwanted and un-necessary.
Uranium and Health
Uranium and its by products emit radiation, you cannot see it, smell it, taste it or hear it. It is very hard to know when you’ve been exposed to radiation and the impacts of any exposure may go unnoticed for many, many years, but there is a lot we know about how radiation affects living cells.