Eco group to fight ura­nium min­ing tick

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Dy­lan Ca­porn

Con­ser­va­tion groups have come out all guns blaz­ing af­ter four prospec­tive ura­nium projects were spared from the State Gov­ern­ment’s blan­ket ban on the in­dus­try.

Un­der the new pol­icy an­nounced last week, all min­ing leases granted will in­clude a “no ura­nium min­ing” con­di­tion.

How­ever, Mines and Pe­tro­leum Min­is­ter Bill John­ston said Kin­tyre in the East Pil­bara, Yeelir­rie, Cameco and Mulga Rock could not be stopped be­cause they had al­ready been ap­proved by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

Mr John­ston said if any be­came com­mer­cially vi­able and pro­ceeded, WA agen­cies would en­sure they met reg­u­la­tory and en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

“If we were to at­tempt to stop these four projects, then we would po­ten­tially open up the State to sig­nif­i­cant legal li­a­bil­ity that tax­pay­ers would be re­spon­si­ble for,” he said.

“The Gov­ern­ment would pre­fer to put tax­pay­ers’ money into schools, hos­pi­tals, com­mu­nity safety and job-cre­at­ing projects.”

Con­ser­va­tion Coun­cil of WA di­rec­tor Piers Ver­ste­gen said en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists would fight the de­ci­sion to spare the four projects.

“Should these mines go ahead, they would cause per­ma­nent dam­age to our en­vi­ron­ment and com­mu­ni­ties,” he said.

“We be­lieve there are se­ri­ous legal flaws in the way these ap­provals were granted by the Bar­nett gov­ern­ment and we will con­tinue to con­test them at ev­ery stage of the process.”

Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy chief ex­ec­u­tive Reg Howard-Smith said the projects de­served the right to pro­ceed, hav­ing un­der­gone en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­provals. Greens Mem­ber for Min­ing and Pas­toral Robin Chap­ple said the State Gov­ern­ment had bowed to in­dus­try pressure.

The Aus­tralian Con­ser­va­tion Foun­da­tion, WA Nu­clear Free Al­liance and Anti Nu­clear Al­liance of WA all ex­pressed their dis­ap­point­ment in the de­ci­sion.

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