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Karoo, South Africa, community unaware of hazards of uranium mining

text-Please-NotePeople should make their voices heard in the public consultations expected to take place over the course of the year 2016, before mining rights are granted.

To register as Interested and Affected Parties write to Ferret Mining at call 012 753 1284/5.

To stay informed, join the Facebook page Stop Uranium Mining in the Karoo.

dust from miningflag-S.AfricaUranium Mining Threatens the Karoo, Karoo Space, 18 Jan 16  By Dr Stefan Cramer  Images sourced by Dr Stefan Cramer  Just as the threat of fracking seemed to recede in the Karoo, the danger of uranium mining has arisen – and it is even more frightening and more likely than shale gas extraction.

The Karoo has long been known to harbour substantial sedimentary uranium deposits. Now an Australian company with Russian funding is planning to get the radioactive mineral out of the ground on a major scale.

The company has quietly accumulated over 750 000 hectares of Karoo properties and concessions around Beaufort West and plans to set up a large Central Processing Plant just outside that town.

While the nation is still debating the pros and cons of fracking, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as the precursor to mining licences is nearing finalisation. During 2016 the Department of Mineral Resources will make a decision on the industry’s application……….

extensive studies on the risks of uranium mining over many decades are available today.

We can draw on vast experiences on what huge impact the uranium mining industry has had in such diverse places as in Germany, USA, Australia or Niger. The death toll of a hugely dangerous industry is well known and firmly established.

Yet so far there is no public debateno strategic assessment process in place in the Karoo.

No advocacy groups balance the glossy claims of the industry against sobering experiences on the ground. While global energy prices are depressed, the deepening economic and political crisis makes South Africa less and less attractive to the huge investments necessary to establish an upstream gas industry.

Opponents of fracking had long made mention of the known occurrence of uranium in the Karoo subsoils. They pointed out to the dangers of extensive drilling and fracking of uranium-bearing formations.

Formation and flow-back water could contaminate surrounding waterways in the same way as has happened in Pennsylvania, USA………

There is a deafening silence in the public domain regarding uranium mining in the Karoo.

Unnoticed, the largely unknown South African company Lukisa silently accumulated some 750 000 hectares of uranium exploration concessions in the three Karoo provinces of Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

The company did so by changing partnerships with different nuclear corporations like UraMin and AREVA, thus gaining access to all earlier exploration data.

The Perth-based Australian uranium miner Peninsula Energy is now engaged in a joint venture with Lukisa, called  Tasman RSA Mines, with offices in Beaufort West.

Its working capital comes from several institutional investors, but is dominated by Pala Investments, domiciled in Jersey (UK) with offices in Zug (Switzerland). Pala is a relatively unknown mining giant.

According to its website, the fund has invested since its inception in 2006 in a total of 87 mining ventures in 25 countries across all six continents.

The company is controlled and run by the Russian oligarch billionaires Vladimir Iorich and his son Evgeniy Iorich. This should come as no surprise, as the secret (but leaked) nuclear agreement between Russia and South Africa calls for Russia to invest and possibly control the entire value chain of the nuclear cycles from mining, beneficiation, enrichment and fuel fabrication to energy generation, waste disposal and decommissioning.

It is only in this context that the renewed interest in the Karoo uranium makes sense………

While the specialist studies for the EIA are currently nearing termination, the company will be obliged to disclose its detailed mining and engineering plans to the general public in a series of public consultations in all affected municipalities.

This process of public participation is opening the space for a more rigorous public debate on a key issue of the future development of the Karoo, not only in the directly affected Central Karoo, but also further afield.

But the current level of information on uranium mining in general and the detailed plans for the Karoo in particular is still rather poor.

A series of information sessions in 2015 by the consulting company Ferret Mining attracted only a handful of local farmers and other interested and affected parties

The three provincial governments are completely silent. It is their duty to equip their citizens with the necessary knowledge to participate in a meaningful debate.

The South African government has identified uranium as a strategic mineral. This implies that there would be strong limitations to the export of unprocessed uranium.

The current national nuclear debate centres on nuclear power generation alone, but fails to address uranium mining at the origin of the nuclear value chain, with its widespread damages and costly remediation requirements.

The legacy costs of uranium mining have been well researched and documented (see also Broder J. Merkel, Mandy Schipek, 2011: The New Uranium Mining Boom: Challenge and lessons learned – Springer, Berlin-Heidelberg).

The affected municipalities should start their own debate as part of their legal duty to develop consistent and sustainable Integrated Development Plans (IDP). Many of the affected municipalities’ IDPs do not even reflect, or discuss the long-term threats stemming from uranium mining in their midst.

People should make their voices heard in the public consultations expected to take place over the course of the year 2016, before mining rights are granted.

To register as Interested and Affected Parties write to Ferret Mining at call 012 753 1284/5.

To stay informed, join the Facebook page Stop Uranium Mining in the Karoo.

January 19, 2016 - Posted by | politics, South Africa, Uranium


  1. Reblogged this on "OUR WORLD".

    Comment by Nancy | January 19, 2016 | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on Mining Awareness Plus.

    Comment by miningawareness | January 24, 2016 | Reply

  3. Reblogged this on Radiation Free Lakeland and commented:
    deafening silence on imminent uranium mining plans … South Africa

    Comment by mariannewildart | January 24, 2016 | Reply

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