the mine is unlikely to go ahead due to poor economic viability. Yet another reason to ramp up the opposition to this marginal and unpopular mine.
Arid Lands Environment Centre, Jess Abrahams, 9 Sept 10, On the eve of the Federal election in Alice Springs, incumbent local member Warren Snowdon made an announcement that if they were re-elected, Labor would fund a study into the threat to Alice Springs’s groundwater supplies from a uranium mine at Angela Pamela.
The problem with Snowdon’s $100,000 water contamination study, is that it is seriously underfunded, rushed and too narrowly focussed. Cameco haven’t even decided that the mine will go ahead yet, let alone what sort of processing they will employ and how and where they will deal with their tailings. Which makes a study due at the end of the year simplistic and premature. The need for a special study also shows that the existing uranium mining regulations are insufficient. If an additional study is needed here, surely other potential uranium mines across Australia also need similar studies too?
Now that Labor has won the election (just), we will push hard for the Terms of Reference of this study to be widened to include all threats to the town from the mine, not only from water contamination, but also from water consumption, radioactive dust and radon gas, as well as the social and economic impacts on health, housing, workforce, existing industries, and transport. Only this week did the Ghan derail yet again due to heavy rain, this time in Alice Springs. What if radioactive material were spilt into our waterways from such an accident?
With a Labor minority government in the lower house and Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate, the situation in Canberra is as interesting as it has ever been. Back in September 2009, little known Country Independent, now key-player, Rob Oakeshott, asked Environment Minister Peter Garrett a question about Angela Pamela. Rob wrote in a follow-up email to ALEC that he was “obviously concerned” about the mine. With Independent and Green campaign allies now holding such influential roles in Federal Parliament, even uranium miners are worried about their future.
In other news, Stephan Stander, Cameco’s Angela Project Manager has quit, leaving Cameco without a boss here in Alice. In my mind it confirms the truth of Stefan’s off the record comments to me at the Alice Springs Show that the mine is unlikely to go ahead due to poor economic viability. Yet another reason to ramp up the opposition to this marginal and unpopular mine. We have also requested that a representative from Paladin attend the next Cameco Community Reference Group meeting, as Paladin will be designing the controversial tailing dam, and as we all know, their reputation on environmental and social issues overseas is not good.