A headache of Olympic proportions The Drum, Scott Ludlam, 13 Oct 11 The concept of ‘environmental protection’ has taken on new meaning with the announcement of Commonwealth environmental approvals for BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam copper/gold/uranium mine in South Australia.
“We have the toughest environmental conditions that you’ll ever find imposed on a uranium mine,” Commonwealth Environment Minister Tony Burke stated proudly.
This is known in the technical literature as a ‘bald-faced lie’. We know that, because the toughest environmental conditions found at a uranium mine are 2,000 kilometres northward, at the Ranger Uranium mine on a lease chopped out of Kakadu National Park in the NT. There, the company is required to backfill the mine voids with their radioactive wastes, removing somewhat more than a hundred million tonnes of the stuff from the surface and dumping it back in the pit to be capped and revegetated as best as possible. In Kakadu, the company is required to isolate these wastes from the wider environment for a period not less than 10,000 years. This is clearly an impossible task, but a worthy ambition at least. Read more »
Mike Rann has claimed that the new open-pit mine will be his “economic legacy to the state.” However, a considerationof the financial return to BHP through diesel rebates alone indicates that this legacy may be somewhat overstated…
BHP stands to gain $128 million per year in diesel rebates in the initial development period of the mine, $144 million per year in the intermediate stage, and $178 million per year at full production.
Public resources for private profit: free water for the largest open-pit mine in the world Coober Pedy Regional Times, by: Nectaria Calan, 13 Oct 11, ”………With approval of the new mine announced on Monday, the next stage of the approval process is the negotiation of a new Indenture Act which will apply to the new mine. It is expected that the revised Act will be introduced into the South Australian parliament next week, given Mike Rann’s commitment to finalising the indenture agreement before his retirement on October 20.
It is within the power of the South Australian government to negotiate a substantially different indenture agreement, or to repeal the Indenture Act completely. Read more »
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