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Environmental dangers from Australian uranium mine

URANIUM MINING: THE SCARY THINGS I’VE LEARNT.. Social Journalism  BY SAFFI KEREZSY   02 JUL 2013 Several news reports quoted that 150,000 litres of contaminated water was being leaked from the mine daily. This figure was from a CSIRO report. So after reading these news stories, I began searching for the original report to discuss in my assignment. I read through pages and pages of CSIRO publications and found nothing. It turns out the report was never released to the public. It was commissioned by ERA.

I then found the Supervising Scientist Annual Reports. That is, the government-appointed scientist which was implemented when Ranger was first approved in order to protect the Kakadu environment. From what I can gather, the main ‘problem’  with the reporting process is that the Supervising Scientist reports often report that despite incidents, it is concluded that ‘no environmental damage has been recorded off the immediate mine site’, or words to that effect.

I also found a quote from the International Union for Conservation of Nature which said that ‘there had been more than 110 pollution incidents and numerous breaches of environmental requirements at the mine’. Obviously there was a lot of debate from various stakeholders, particularly the traditional owners within Kakadu and Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.

After 30 years of open-cut mining at Ranger mine, ERA announced the commencement of underground exploration drilling in December 2012. Unsurprisingly, environmental concerns have again been raised since the announcement of this development……  I do worry about the lack of  regulation regarding the environment. If the large-scale contamination mentioned has occurred at Ranger mine within a precious world heritage area, even with an appointed scientific division to monitor the mine activities, then obviously something is not quite right with the system. If we allow such damage to be done to Kakadu, then I don’t see there being much hope for the environment surrounding the other uranium mines located in less significant locations. And for me, that’s a little bit scary.


July 24, 2013 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment

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