Archive for December, 2008


December 3, 2008

Half-truths and evasions: BHP Billiton attacked for human rights, environmental record Report of the BHP Billiton plc AGM, 23 October, London Report by Richard Solly, Co-ordinator, London Mining Network. Opinions expressed or implied in this report do not necessarily reflect those of all member groups of London Mining Network.

Summary At its AGM (annual shareholders’ meeting) in London on 23 October, BHP Billiton was attacked over its record in the Philippines, Indonesia,Guatemala and Colombia, its failure to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and its role in worsening climate change and producing a radioactive legacy for future generations.

The company’s responses were characterised by:
a.. failure to listen to complaintsb..
failure to answer many detailed questions with anything more than vague generalitiesc..
failure to admit that consultation processes in many countries are affected by corruption and intimidationd..
and blank denial, without evidence, of informed and well-documented criticism.

Company Chair Don Argus repeatedly told critics to read the company’s ‘Sustainability Report’ without dealing adequately with examples showing that the company is not living up to it.

Argus and company CEO Marius Kloppers both asserted that ‘We won’t mine in World Heritage Sites’ – but would not commit to ditching prospective mining projects in UNESCO’s proposed World Heritage Site at Gag Island in Papua.

So what’s going on behind the scenes? Lobbying to ensure that Gag Island is excluded from UNESCO’s proposed site?

Full report We’re loaded The sparsely attended AGM began, as always, with lengthy speeches by the Chair and the Chief Executive singing the company’s praises and defending its record on climate change and its involvement in uranium mining.
Chair Don Argus assured shareholders that the company remained in a strong position despite the current financial turmoil because of its ‘uniquely diversified portfolio of high quality, low cost assets’ and its strong balance sheet, which enables it to invest throughout the economic cycle. Chinese growth, the motor of the minerals industry, is ‘softening’ but still strong, and industrialisation and urbanisation will mean continued strong demand for the company’s products

Zero harm. Chief Executive Marius Kloppers echoed the Chair’s enthusiasm but tempered it with deep regre tat continued work-related deaths and injuries in thecompany’s operations, which he said were unacceptable.
The companycontinues to aim for ‘zero harm’ among its workforce.

Vote first. Ask questions afterwards Argus then announced that the business of the meeting would be taken before general questions on the Annual Report and Accounts – so shareholders could re-elect directors without any examination of their collective conduct

Thirty-four agenda items later, he called for questions on the annual report. The majority of the questions concerned human rights and environmental issues.

Macambol, Philippines: community division, dubious associates and environmental damage.Sonya Maldar of CAFOD (Catholic Agency for Overseas Development) managed to read a brief statement from communities in Macambol on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines concerning the community divisions which have been caused by mining in the area by BHP Billiton’s joint venture partner AMCOR – despite being interrupted by Don Argus and told that she should ask a question, not make a statement.

Sonya said that CAFOD’s report on the Hallmark project had revealed bribery by AMCOR, flaws in the process of obtaining community consent and serious environmental problems.

Don Argus said that the company was in the early stages of studying the feasibility of mining nickel in the area. The company follows the guidelines set by the Philippine Government and the Free Prior Informed Consent process. The company has listened to CAFOD’s criticisms and undertaken its own private study. It rejects any allegations of impropriety.Marius Kloppers added that no work was being done by BHP Billiton on the Hallmark project because of a legal dispute with AMCOR.
He said it was in the company’s interests to ensure that all parties are content, because the company will be co-operating with them for decades to come. Projects go through pre-feasibility and feasibility stages before being approved, and before the stoppage this project was at the earliest stage. The company needs to ensure ‘maximum harmony’ before proceeding.

Sonya Maldar repeated that CAFOD’s studies show that there are major problems with the project. Don Argus repeated that the company’s study contradicts CAFOD’s findings.
He did not offer to publish the results of the investigation that he claimed the company had done, and after the meeting company representatives refused to make the results of their study available.

It is therefore impossible to judge the worth of the company’s study against the published, well-documented report by a widely respected Church development agency, and if the company is going to claim that CAFOD’s report is inaccurate, it should provide evidence.

Nor did Argus or Kloppers mention the intimidation and violence to which opponents of mining in the Philippines are often subjected by its supporters in order to manufacture ‘consent’.

Protected areas in Indonesia – to mine or not to mine? Andrew Hickman of Down to Earth (the campaign for ecological justice in Indonesia) raised the issue of mining in protected areas in Indonesia. He said he was representing JATAM (the mining advocacy network in Indonesia and WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia).

They are concerned about Gag Island in West Papua, which itself raises human rights concerns (because of the Indonesian response to Papuan demands for independence) as at the Freeport-Rio Tinto mine at Grasberg. JATAM and WALHI are demanding that BHP Billiton stop its projects in Gag Island and in protected areas of Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).

They are demanding that shareholders stop profiting from destruction and bad governance. How will BHP Billiton dispose of tailings at Gag Island and how will it avoid human rights abuses associated with its operations?

It was difficult for Andrew to make his points because of repeated interruptions by Don Argus, who attempted to prevent him from conveying the very brief JATAM/WALHI statement of opposition, telling him that the AGM was ‘not a political meeting’ and that he should hurry up and ask his question.

 Don Argus then said that he had answered the question on six previous occasions and that the answer on this occasion was the same: the company will not use marine tailings disposal and will not mine in World Heritage Sites.

Marius Kloppers added that if Gag Island is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, BHP Billiton will not mine there. (The ‘if’, of course, is important. UNESCO has already told the Indonesian Government that Gag Island is at the top of its list of proposed sites, so the company’s failure to abandon its plans begs the question of whether it is lobbying UNESCO or the Indonesian Government to ensure that the areas it wants to mine are excluded from the proposed World Heritage Site.

It has already successfully lobbied the Indonesian Government to alter legislation on mining in protected areas.)
Don Argus said nothing about the widespread violation of human rights in West Papua. All he said was that BHP Billiton is not involved at Grasberg.He did not mention that Rio Tinto, which the company wants to buy, is heavily involved at Grasberg, a mine with an appalling record of Indigenous rights and human rights violations and of environmental destruction.

Andrew handed over the full statement from JATAM and WALHI to BHP Billiton’s Vice President for Sustainable Development and Community relations, Ian Wood.

Exploration in Guatemala: threat to ecosystems, livelihoods Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson in the House of Lords (the second chamber of the British Parliament) and member of the All Party Parliamentary Groups on Central America and Latin America, stated that she had made two visits to Guatemala, one as part of a parliamentary delegation and the other privately.

She was particularly concerned about the Lake Izabal region. There are plans for increased mining activity in the area and a nickel smelting plant is proposed. The area is a protected area. The lake is the largest in Guatemala and is particularly rich in biodiversity. Many people make their living from it. BHP Billiton has been exploring for nickel in the area.

Baroness Miller asked whether the company would accept that it should not mine any nickel it found because of the threat to biodiversity and livelihoods.It was interesting to note that

Don Argus did not interrupt Baroness Miller while she made the series of statements leading up to her question. Don Argus said that ‘the company has a process which it goes through’ and has a good record on the environment. It only owns 2.5% of the project at Lake Izabal. (He did not mention that, although it owns only 2.5% of the project being developed by HudBay Inc, it has also itself been exploring for nickel to the north and west of the lake in recent years, and has failed to answer specific questions as to whether it is still exploring there).

Baroness Miller pointed out that the Guatemalan Government has fined BHP Billiton’s subsidiary Maya Niquel $25,000 for not carrying out a legally required Environmental Impact Study. She said that communities have made a number of representations about mining projects but that in Guatemala when people do this they get shot dead or are otherwise intimidated. What might apply to community consultation in Australia does not apply in Guatemala. And if even the Guatemalan Government believes that BHP Billiton has not completed a proper Environmental Impact Study, it reflects badly on the company.

The company’s concern for the safety of its workers should extend to the people in the communities which its operations affect.

Don Argus said that he totally agreed with the Baroness. He advised her to read the company’s Sustainability Report.
She replied that she had done so already.

Cerrejon, Colombia: community removals and worker health Richard Solly, of Colombia Solidarity Campaign, spoke about the Cerrejon mine in Colombia. He noted that since the Independent Panel of Investigation into the mine’s impacts published its report early this year. there:had been progress towards a settlement with the people of Tabaco and negotiations had begun with other communities facing relocation.

He said there is concern about how people in those communities will make a living during the couple of years before they are able to move, given the impact of mine expansion on their farming activities. He asked what Cerrejon Coal is doing to ensure that livelihoods will not suffer during the transition period.

 He also said that the mine workers’ union, SINTRACARBON, is concerned at the lack of progress on concerns raised at last year’s BHP Billiton plc AGM, particularly on recognition of work-related illnesses and injuries and social security payments. The union says that the higher rate contributions required by law for workers exposed to carcinogenic crystalline silica are not being paid and that this prevents workers from limiting their exposure through earlier retirement. When will Cerrejon Coal accept the union’s demands on these issues?

Marius Kloppers said that the company would scrupulously follow the World Bank guidelines on removals, including on managing transition. BHP Billiton is aware that union is trying to get work at the mine declared hazardous but Cerrejon Coal disagrees with it, and BHP Billiton supports the view of the management that the work is not hazardous.

Philippines: deaths and even dodgier associates Andy Whitmore, of PIPLInks (Philippine Indigenous People’s Links), said that he had warned the company about the Hallmark project and that if they had listened to him they would not now be having problems with AMCOR.
As for the Sibuyan project, the community had sent a statement calling for the cancellation of the contract (not simply its suspension) with its Philippine associate Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Corporation Ltd (SNPDC) because of the killing of Councillor Marin at a peaceful anti-mining protest in October 2007 by an SNPDC security guard.
Marius Kloppers said that BHP Billiton has a supply agreement with SNPDC but is not taking any ore from them at present and has to await the outcome of the legal dispute in court. He would not comment further

Andy Whitmore handed a copy of the Sibuyan community statement to BHP Billiton’s Vice President for Sustainable Development and Community relations, Ian Wood.

Indigenous rights to Free Prior Informed Consent Geoff Nettleton, of PIPLinks, pointed out that there is a major problems of social licence to operate’ in Indigenous territories. Since the last AGM the United Nations General Assembly has passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, making Free Prior Informed Consent a minimum standard for operations on Indigenous lands.

Neither BHP Billiton nor the International Council on Mining and Metals, of which the company is the biggest member, has endorsed the declaration. If BHP Billiton takes over. Rio Tinto, this will represent a step back in terms of recognition of Indigenous rights. The company should endorse the Declaration.

Don Argus said that not all governments have accepted the Declaration and it is governments that determine the company’s procedures. He said that the company’s behaviour is first class, that it is just as aware of Indigenous issues as Geoff is, that it spent $141 million on community projects over the past year, and that it has no lack of commitment to Indigenous Peoples.

Geoff said that it was an issue of rights, not money. He pointed out that only four governments voted against the Declaration, and one of those – Australia – has now announced that it will accept it. The UK has accepted it and so have most of the countries where BHP Billiton operates. It is up to the company to take responsibility to go beyond government requirements when these are inadequate, as the company says it does and which it has in fact done in some cases. It needs an independent element in its monitoring processes so that it is not being evaluated only by itself.

Don Argus repeated that the company had a good record and does not lack commitment. He said that in the Philippines they work according to Government guidelines. Geoff suggested that the Philippine Government had a very poor record of respecting people’s rights.
Don Argus said that was just Geoff’s opinion and he disagreed with it.

Geoff countered that his own opinion was shared by many, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings, so it was fairly solidly grounded.

Climate Change. Fr Frank Nally, of the Society of St Columban (Columban Fathers) pointed out that the company’s increasing production of oil and coal is contributing to climate change and that the total carbon dioxide emissions caused by its operations and the use of its products worldwide approach the carbon emissions level of the whole of the UK.

 Production of uranium at Olympic Dam in South Australia already accounts for 10% of South Australia’s total power consumption and this would worsen with mine expansion – and then there is the legacy of radioactive waste. He asked what alternatives the company is investigating.

Don Argus told Fr Frank to look at the Sustainability Report. The company has an emissions reduction scheme in place. It works with Governments throughout the world. Governments have to make choices about the mix of energy their populations need. Emissions trading is being proposed for Australia. There is not a universal view at present. The company has invested $300 million in research into technology such as carbon capture and storage. It will be technology that changes people’s behaviour.Marius Kloppers said that although energy was used in the production of uranium, over the whole life cycle uranium use compares favourably on carbon emissions with other energy sources. Each nuclear power station takes carbon emissions equivalent to those of a city of a million people out of the air. (

He did not mention that a serious nuclear accident could take a city of a million people out of existence; or that the radioactive wastes left by mining, processing and use of uranium will remain deadly for many times longer than the entire course of recorded human history.)

Fr Frank appealed for the company’s Zero Harm policy towards its workers to be extended not only to communities, as Baroness Miller had rightly advocated, but towards the planet itself.London Mining Network, 41a Thornhill Square, London N1 1BE. Tel: 07929 023


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BHP Billiton’s record in Indonesia etc

December 3, 2008

Press Release by JATAM (Indonesian Mining Advocacy Network) and WALHI
Indonesia), 23 October 2008

Stop destroying our protected forests and small islands

On 23rd October 2008, BHP Billiton will hold its shareholder meeting in
England. In Indonesia, the company is turning a protected forest in
Central Kalimantan into a coal mine. It is also going to devastate Gag
Island, Papua, by mining nickel and dumping tailings in the sea – a sea
which contains the richest biodiversity in the world. This is bound to
make BHP Billiton shareholders feel ashamed.

Gag Island, in Papua, covers an area of just 9,200 hectares, lying in
Raja Ampat Island cluster, which is
known to host the highest level of
marine biodiversity in the world. Four hundred and fifty types of coral,
950 types of reef fish and more than 600 species of molluscs of various
size can be found here. Two years ago the area was proposed as a World
Heritage Site.

Gag Island also contains one of the world’s biggest laterite nickel
deposits. In 1998 BHP Billiton signed a contract of work with the
repressive Suharto regime to acquire the nickel deposit in a joint
with PT Antam Indonesia. The companies established PT Gag Nikel, with a
concession covering the whole island and the surrounding waters. The
company will develop an open-pit mine, excavating 660,000 tonnes of ore
per day and dumping 627,000 tonnes of tailings into the sea. Gag Island
could well disappear.

Despite its status as a protected forest, with soil extremely prone to
erosion, PT Gag Nikel is pressing ahead with a
mine. The island’s
topography is also susceptible to landslides, because 27% of the land
consists of steep slopes and rainfall is quite high. It is certain that
the corals and other marine biodiversity will end up being destroyed by

PT Gag Nikel’s contract was signed without any agreement whatsoever from
local people. From 1999 to 2004 BHP Billiton along with other
multinational mining companies, put pressure on the Indonesian
to change Forestry Law No 41, 1999, which prohibits open-pit mining in
protected forests. The companies’ move led to public protests across the
country. At the time, the company even threatened to take the Indonesian
government to international arbitration if it prevented open-pit mining
from going ahead on Gag. In the end, the pressure worked and in 2004, a
new law was issued which permitted PT Gag, among others, to go ahead

Tension in the area has increased since PT Gag Nikel appeared. On April
24th this year, for example, local people blockaded the door of the
company’s office in Sorong. Given that West Papua is a region of
and military brutality, people fear that PT Nikel will worsen human
conditions there.

In another part of Indonesia, in Central Kalimantan, BHP Billiton’s coal
mine is changing the nature of 65,858 hectares of protected forest,
cover the upper reaches of the area’s main rivers. The coal is being
to generate electricity, creating greenhouse gas emissions and
contributing to global warming.

At the upcoming shareholders meeting, this morning at 10.30am local time
in the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, England, JATAM
and WALHI are demanding that BHP Billiton stop these mining projects.
destroying protected forests and
small Islands in Indonesia, both in
Central Kalimantan and West Papua, and in other parts of the world.
we ask shareholders to stop profiting from this destruction and bad

Sibuyan community statement

No to BHP Billiton!

Early October, the Taclobo (San Fernando, Sibuyan Island, Romblon)
chief received notices of small-scale mining applications (July 9, 2008)
of two previous holders of small-scale mining permits (SSMP) which
in May 2008.

All Acacia Resources Inc. (AARI) is applying for another 20 hectares for
utilisation of nickel ores and SunPacific Resources Philippines Inc.
(SRPI) for another 15.58 hectares. They seek for another two-year permit
from the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) of the province of

We strongly oppose the application for small-scale mining permit of
SunPacific Resources Philippines Inc.
(SRPI) and All-Acacia Resources
Inc., (AARI) stockholders of mining conglomerate Sibuyan Nickel
Development Corp. (SNPDC), venture partner of Pelican Resources Ltd
(ASX-PEL) of Australia. SNPDC has a Memorandum of Agreement with QNI
Philippines (QNPH), as agent for Queensland Nickel Pty. Ltd. (QNPL)
for and on behalf of the joint venture participants of QNPL Resources
Ltd. and QNPL Metals Pty. Ltd., which are subsidiaries of the global
mining giant BHP Billiton. SNPDC further has a Memorandum of
(MOU) with Altai Philippines Mining Corp (APMC), which is connected to
Altai Resources Inc (TSX-ATI) of Canada.

The agreement grants BHP Billiton or its related entity the exclusive
rights to purchase laterite nickel ore mined by SNPDC. BHP Billiton in
return shall finance the exploration and drilling evaluation upon the
issuance of Mineral Productions Sharing Agreement (MPSA) permit
by the
Philippine Government. The total cost of financing is $250,000.

Both AARI and SRPI (with Mabuhay Gold Project in Mindanao) are
partners of
Pelican Resources Ltd.

“Because MPSA and Exploration Permit cannot be issued quickly, SNPDC
to use SSMP to access the areas as they did before. These small-scale
mining applications show the aggressive push for the financed further
exploration and drilling of BHP Billiton” opines Rodne Galicha,
Director of Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment Inc.

“BHP Billiton through its subsidiaries and partners can be described
as an
island-swallowing Godzilla”, says Taclobo village resident Lando Tan, a
former Kabang Kalikasan ng Pilipinas-World Wildlife Fund (KKP-WWF)

Late last year, the chief security officer of SNPDC shot to death a
newly-elected councillor, Hon. Armin Rios-Marin, during a picket

The ice-age Sibuyan Island, dubbed as Galapagos of Asia, is where the
world’s densest forest flourishes, the Philippines’ cleanest inland
of water flows, and the majestic Mt. Guiting-guiting dwells.

Rodne R. Galicha
Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment, Inc. (Sibuyan ISLE)

Lee Rhiannon MLC – The people of Wedderburn v BHP Billiton

December 2, 2008

The people of Wedderburn v BHP Billiton
04 September 2008

BHP Billiton recorded a $17 billion profit last financial year. Last Tuesday night in a cold hall at Wedderburn, 10 kilometres south of Campbelltown on the outskirts of Sydney, I had an upclose glimpse of how this company pulls in such obscene amounts of money……………….The main spokesperson for BHP Billiton was Jim Middleton……………………..They are quite cagey about revealing details of their decades of local mining experience. In 2006 Illawarra Coal declined to be interviewed by the magazine Australian Mining. The journalist who unsuccessfully pursued the interview was willing to speak to any one of ten of BHP Billiton’s Illawarra operations but the response was that all the possible spokespersons were “time-challenged”.

The theme for BHP Billiton’s operations is clear – avoid scrutiny at all costs. While the journalist with Australian Mining was given the flick the Wedderburn community did not comply so easily………………………I found this a disturbing event to participate in. The frustration of the locals heightened as the evening wore on. For all the politeness and apparent helpfulness of the BHP Billiton staff they cannot give satisfactory answers. Their job is to contain local opposition using divide and conquer tactics. They cannot give satisfactory answers to the questions of the people of Wedderburn when they ask for certainty that the local rivers will not crack, that the local environment will not be damaged and their homes will not be undermined…………………….

This whole process is a charade. A crude con job designed to divert locals who BHP Billiton know will do everything in their power to stop mining under Wedderburn proceeding.

So locals are given the illusion that submissions and community consultations will make a difference. 

Locals have tried to engage with the process that BHP Billiton rolls out in accordance with the loose planning laws under which this mine will be approved.

Lee Rhiannon MLC – The people of Wedderburn v BHP Billiton

ACF – Forget Rio, uranium is BHP Billiton’s major meltdown

December 2, 2008

Forget Rio, uranium is BHP Billiton’s major meltdown-
: 27-Nov-2008The Australian Conservation Foundation will ask the BHP Billiton board to explain to shareholders at today’s AGM why the company has been left highly exposed by making itself dependent on uranium sales to countries with nuclear weapons.“BHP’s growing involvement in the uranium industry means financial exposure for the company and radiation exposure for communities in Australia and overseas,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner David Noonan.“The company’s Olympic Dam mine expansion plan is at odds with the views of a majority of Australians, with a recent national Newspoll survey showing 62 per cent of Australians are against the export of uranium to countries with nuclear weapons, such as China.“BHP is making the Olympic Dam mine dependent on uranium sales to China, despite China not meeting its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations on nuclear disarmament and the elimination of its nuclear weapons arsenal.”ACF also criticised the company’s plans to increase the volume of radioactive freight on the central Australian rail corridor and push ahead with uranium mining in Western Australia.“The central railway is in receivership and BHP’s plan for a massive increase in radioactive rolling stock moving right through the NT is making many people nervous – as is the company’s haste to revisit an earlier shelved uranium operation at Yeelirrie in WA.“Communities near proposed mine sites and transport corridors face an increased and unwelcome threat from these activities.“To a large extent the company’s corporate reputation will be measured on its involvement in this dirty, dangerous industry.”

ACF – Forget Rio, uranium is BHP Billiton’s major meltdown


December 2, 2008

Lax mining laws Advertiser Dr. Jim Green29/11 AT its annual general meeting on Thursday, BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers said the company will not relinquish legal privileges contained in the Roxby Downs Indenture Act.This 1982 legislation exempts the Roxby Downs (Olympic Dam) uranium/copper mine from South Australian environmental and Aboriginal heritage protection laws and also curtails the Freedom of Information Act……………………………………….no excuse for ultra-lite environmental standards. BHP Billiton proposes digging a pit of about 20 cu km, increasing uranium production to 19,000 tonnes per year, increasing water consumption to 150 million litres daily, and increasing radioactive tailings production to 70 million tonnes per year.Yet the company wants to retain its exemptions from the SA Environment Protection Act and the Natural Resources Act.Haven’t events in recent months taught us about the perils of lax corporate regulation?


Protect the Great Artesian Basin! Stop Olympic Dam!

December 2, 2008

Protect the Great Artesian Basin! Stop Olympic Dam!
SERVETHEPEOPLE 27 Nov 08 – Arabunna elder Kevin Buzzacott told Directors and shareholders. This courageous and defiant call was made by a man who has spent his life standing up to some of the giants in mining, industry and politics on behalf of his land and his people.

The local (South Australian) media have buried Buzzacott’s comments and it’s been left to a New Zealand site to give voice to his anger at BHP Billiton…………………..BHP Billiton currently draws about 35 megalitres of water per day from the GAB for mining purposes. This water comes from two borefields north of Olympic Dam. It does not pay for this water. Therefore there is no incentive not to waste the water, nor to limit the future draw on the borefields……..Our illustrious Premier keeps bragging that we are mineral rich, that we are set to become the “Saudi Arabia of uranium mining”.

Nowhere does he alert us to the fact that pressure in the GAB has dropped dramatically.

BHP Billiton continues to bleed the GAB dry without paying a cent for its water wastage. Cyanide used in mineral recovery (leaching) and radioactive wastes lie about as surface waters, poisoning wildlife and filtering back into local shallow aquifers. Not content with what it has already, BHP Billiton is currently trying to buy properties along the Birdsville Track…they need MORE water than the GAB can deliver.

For the sake of the shareholders of an already bloated multinational, South Australia and other parts of the country are being damaged for all time[13].

This must stop.

We must take an interest in this issue and put country first.

The legal exemptions granted to WMC and inherited by BHP Billiton in the form of the SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act must be repealed!

The voice of Kevin Buzzacott must be heard in South Australia! servethepeople: Protect the Great Artesian Basin! Stop Olympic Dam!



December 2, 2008

Nuclear train plan for Alice: One train, 1km long, every day CENTRALIAN AdvocateDaniel Burdon 28 Nov 08 TRAINLOADS of radioactive material up to 1km long would pass through Alice Springs every day by 2016, under a plan put before the town council on Monday.The proposed expansion of BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam mine in South Australia could result in the ore being ferried north by rail.Greens have slammed the proposal, citing major concerns ..including possible derailments, radioactive dust escaping from”closed wagons” and long-term social and environmental effects………………….

Ms Poddar, for BHPBilliton said: “What we’re talking about is a very low level of radioactivity. ………

…………..Alderman Jane Clark, chairwoman of the Environmental Advisory Committee, said: “There is also the potential if BHP’s transport option is approved, that this will be used as a precedent.

So if Cameco starts mining the Angela-Pamela deposit, it might follow suit and transport uranium directly through Alice Springs to Darwin.”


Good times wane for BHP

December 2, 2008

Good times wane for BHP
Herald Sun Felicity Williams 28 Nov 08 Two days after BHP dumped its $102 billion bid for Rio Tinto in the face of the global financial crisis, chief executive Marius Kloppers warned the climate made it difficult to predict customer demand.”The world has changed significantly in the past three months and,in our world of mining and resources, that rate of change has accelerated rapidly within the last month,”

Mr Kloppers told the 800-odd shareholders attending the company’s annual meeting in Melbourne.

He added: “These challenges are impacting every part of the economy and, as a major global supplier of many key commodities, we will not be immune from the effects.”…………………….

The abandoned Rio bid was the subject of surprisingly few shareholder questions.

Investors appeared more concerned about plans to mine the world’s largest uranium resource at Olympic Dam in South Australia.



December 2, 2008

Aboriginal elder takes on BHP over mine
The Age November 27, 2008 An Aboriginal elder has taken on the heavyweights at BHP’s annual general meeting to urge the mining giant to abandon plans to expand its Olympic Dam mine because it was taking “sacred water”.Kevin Buzzacott patiently waited for almost three hours for question time at BHP Billiton’s AGM in Melbourne on Thursday when he meekly stood up to the microphone and read out a prepared speech.He politely addressed the board of the world’s biggest miner, asking them to stop the planned expansion of the copper, gold and uranium mine in South Australia.Do not expand this mine. We don’t want an open cut mine; we do not want any more water taken out of the Great Artesian Basin; we want that to stop,” Mr Buzzacott said.He was supported by about 100 protesters who gathered on the Melbourne Park lawn outside the venue to oppose the expansion, which would make Olympic Dam one of the largest mines in the world………………Another shareholder, documentary filmmaker David Bradbury, asked the board if it had done forward estimates on how much they would have to pay in future class actions for people, including mine workers, adversely affected by the mining……………………….The protesters claimed the miner is legally able to override important environmental legislation because of the South Australian Roxby Downs Indenture Act.



December 2, 2008

Olympic Dam Legal Privileges A DisgraceScoop 27 November 2008, Michaela Stubbs “………………………..Friends of the Earth national nuclear campaigner Dr Jim Green said: “For all of BHP Billiton’s hollow rhetoric about corporate social responsibility, the company operates the Olympic Dam uranium/copper mine in SA under an outdated Indenture Act which exempts the mine from key environmental and Aboriginal heritage laws that apply everywhere else in SA.“The Aboriginal Heritage Act is the key law aimed at protecting Indigenous heritage in South Australia. However, under the Indenture Act, BHP Billiton decides the level of protection that Aboriginal heritage sites receive and which sites are recognised. Ironically, BHP Billiton has provided over $2 million to Reconciliation Australia, yet will not relinquish its exemptions from the Aboriginal Heritage Act. The company’s attitude appears to be ‘do as I say not as I do’.”Dr Green concluded: “The legal privileges enshrined in the Indenture Act were highly contentious when they were introduced in 1982 and are completely inappropriate as the legislative framework for the proposed expansion of the Roxby Downs mine.”



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