Keeping WA Nuclear Free
Our clean energy future is renewable not radioactive. Uranium mining is unsafe, unwanted and uneconomic.
Uranium is different because of the unique health risks to workers, the community and the environment and because of its role in the nuclear fuel chain which ends as either nuclear waste, inside nuclear weapons or as nuclear fallout. Uranium is unsafe, uneconomic and unwanted.
There are no operating uranium mines in WA, and we want to keep it that way! However, there are four uranium mine proposals – Kinytre, Mulga Rock, Wiluna and Yeelirrie – these projects were approved under the Barnett Liberal Government – none have opened.
In 2017 the McGowan Labor government introduced a policy ban on uranium but allowed the four projects to proceed. The government has declared that approvals for three proposals – Kintyre, Wiluna and Yeelirrie – have expired after failing to meet a requirement to ‘substantially commence’ mining within 5 years. This is a huge win but it’s not over yet. While the companies are currently prevented from mining – the approvals still exist and could be amended under a future Liberal government to allow mining. We are now calling on the Minister to withdraw approvals for all four projects.
We share the view that the Mulga Rock project did not meet the commencement condition. Unlike the other projects they tried to demonstrate ‘substantial commencement.’ They cleared about 3% of the total area they intend to clear (in some critical habitat for the endangered Sandhill Dunnart) and laid a few km’s of pipe from a water bore. This work is evident but not substantial. They do not have the finance to develop the mine, they have not made a final investment decision at the board level and they do not have an agreement with the registered Native Title claimants. There is also an outstanding issue the EPA is considering about revisions to the project and complaints about clearing and potential breaches with Ministerial conditions. We are also calling on the Minister to withdraw approvals for Mulga Rock.
WA’s Environment Minister Reece Whitby has a unique opportunity to withdraw environmental approvals for uranium mine proposals in WA creating certainty for communities who have fought over many decades to protect these important places.