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Toro Energy's uranium plans go from bad to worse

Toro Energy released new plans to include a uranium mine at Lake Maitland and Millipede to the Wiluna uranium proposal. Read  the joint NGO submission to the EPA that identifys many issues with the project plans for four mines across two lake systems. The plan is to use 6.9 million litres of water a day generating 50 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in a floodplain. On September 6th 2016 the WA EPA recommended that the extension be approved. 

What can you do?

  • Lodge a appeal against the EPA recommendation to approve *Due 20th September 2016 - come to an appeal writing workshop  on the 14th September - 2 Delhi St West Perth - 5pm - 8pm 
  • Join the Walkatjurra Walkabout - find out why this country is important to the Traditional Owners and pastoralists
  • Read about the plans for the mine here 
  • Sign up to our weekly news bulletin to stay up to date on events, actions and news here

Toro Energy is a small inexperienced company and they are leading the charge to open WA's first uranium mine.

The proposal is to mine four uranium deposits, Centipede, Millipede and Lake Way, on the Lake Way playa system south east of Wiluna and the Lake Maitland deposits on the Lake Maitland playa system. The project has been cut up and assessed as two projects - allowing the company to avoid doing full assessment of cumulative impacts from what is essentially an industrial uranium precinct incorporating at least four small uranium mines across two lake systems in a fragile desert ecosystem. The company has clear plans to incorporate more regional deposits - extending the impact and risk regionally. 

Toro propose to truck uranium ore across the lakes to a central processing facility. Toro also propose to store all radioactive mine waste - 50 million tonnes - from the four sites in two mined out pits in and on the edge of the Lake bed of Lake Way. We know tailings leak and lakes flood. This proposal should not be approved.

CCWA has opposed the Wiluna uranium proposal at every stage of assessment. We are most concerned about the following aspects of the proposal to mine uranium at Wiluna:

  • Toro have only identified enough water for the first seven years of the project and have failed to do any environmental impact studies on water use for the proposed full life of the mine.
  • Toro have not yet submitted a mine closure plan or costings. In clear conflict with industry best practice this part of the project has dodged public scrutiny and the application of any legally binding environmental conditions on mine closure. Such an approach increases the likelihood of WA taxpayers being left to foot a future cleanup bill.
  • Toro have failed to do important base line studies on flora and fauna – an issue that the EPA and Minister Marmion ignored even when the Department of Environment and Conservation formally advised that these issues should be addressed before approval.
  • Toro have failed to do important base line studies on the interaction between ground water and surface water.
  • Toro’s representation of natural background levels of radiation in the Wiluna region has been inadequate and inaccurate.
  • Toro plan to divert creek systems away from Centipede and Lake Way deposits during mining and re-divert them back through the sites post closure – when the mined pits will be replaced with radioactive mine waste. This poses a significant risk to the integrity of plans to contain and isolate the long lived radioactive mine wastes.
  • Toro has no complete transport management plan. The transport of radioactive material is a significant community and emergency service agency concern. This issue needs to be addressed early, directly and in detail.
  • The Department of Mines and Petroleum’s Uranium Advisory Group made several comments on how WA’s regulations fail to meet world’s best practice – despite State Government promises. These deficiencies include:
    • lack of cumulative impact studies
    • lack of transparency and public engagement
    • operating under an outdated set of regulations on tailings management.

File Archive Original Wiluna Proposal: 

  • Public Environment Review (PER) companies mine proposal  here
  • Our Submission into the Public Environment Review here
  • EPA and Company response to Submissions here
  • Our Appeal here
  • Appeal Convenors Report here
  • State Minister Conditional Approval here
  • State Minister Reasons for decision here
  • Federal Minister Conditional Approval here
  • Federal Minister Reasons for decision here

File Archive Wiluna Extension Proposal: 

  • Public Environment Review (PER) companies mine proposal here
  • Our Submission into the Public Environment Review here
  • Toro Energy response to submissions here
  • WA EPA Recommendation to approve here
  • Our Appeal here

 

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Economists at Large have conducted an independent economic analysis on the Toro Wiluna proposal.

The report outlines that for Toro to achieve a positive Net Present Value would require the convergence of a range of external scenarios including low mine closure costs, structural changes in the long term uranium contract price, a drop in Australian exchange rates, cost easing in the mining sector and better efficiency in mining, milling and recovery rates so the project proceeds on time, within budget and without technical snags.

To read the report follow this link.

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For detailed information on the environmental concerns of the Wiluna uranium proposal: Wiluna book . This was developed by independent environment consultant David Noonan, prepared for the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke. In response to strong opposition and scant detail from Toro Energy - Tony Burke gave conditional approval to the project pending compliance with 36 conditions including a Environmental Management Plan.

cover_page_3_0.jpgFind out more about Toro Energy, their different uranium proposals, history and behaviour. This alternative annual report was compiled to hand out to Toro Energy shareholders at their annual general meeting in Adelaide in 2012. Alternaitve Annual Report


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