Media Release – 10/01/17
State and National Environment groups have raised concerns and alarm at the fast-tracking of uranium mine assessments by the State Government ahead of the WA election, following the granting of approval for Toro Energy’s Wiluna uranium project in the Northern Goldfields.
CCWA Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said, “The latest approval of the Toro project puts two unique desert lake systems at risk, with plans to store around 50 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste on the edge of a lake system that periodically floods.
“The project faces major hurdles - including the lack of bipartisan support in WA, the stagnant uranium price which is likely to persist well into the next decade, and the ongoing community opposition to this and other uranium projects.
“Toro’s proposed uranium mine is the worst of a bad bunch. Not only is the company small and inexperienced, but their own board has slowly but surely abandoned the struggling company. Luckily this project is also the least likely to ever become operational.
“We will continue to campaign against this mine because the environmental risks - combined with the size and capacity of the company - puts both Lake Way, Lake Maitland, and surrounding environments and communities at a great risk.”
CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said, “This is a bad decision but it is not a final approval. It is a decision made by a State Government desperate to see uranium mining proceed despite there being no market, no public support, and no long term solution for the radioactive waste that will be created at the mine site and abroad.
“The Minister’s zealous support for uranium mining is both misguided and risky, given that the mine tailings will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years, stored in a lake bed in an area prone to flooding.
“The Barnett Government has committed to world best practice environmental conditions for uranium mining in WA, however it would be hard to imagine a worse environmental solution than dumping radioactive mine tailings in a lake bed, in the middle of a fragile desert ecosystem.
“The Toro uranium project is a risky decision for Government, a risky proposition for investors, and potentially a risky future for the environment and local community should it proceed.”
Environment groups and community leaders will continue to oppose the Toro project.
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