The Australian Nuclear Free Alliance released the statement below on October 11.
* * *
In the wake of the approval of BHP-Billiton’s Olympic Dam expansion, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) is calling for a moratorium on uranium mining due to the long-term impacts associated with the nuclear industry.
Uncle Kevin Buzzacott, Arabunna elder from Lake Eyre and president of ANFA, addressed a rally at parliament House in Adelaide on October 11 held in response to the approvals announced by the state and federal government:
“Today is a very sad day, but it’s not over yet,” he said. “We are not going to rest until the government reverses its decision. We want BHP Billiton out of the desert. If we have to bring this town to a standstill, then so be it.”
South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources Development Tom Koutsantonis said the mine would be subject to the most “stringent environmental conditions”.
ANFA Committee member Nectaria Calan said: “If eight million litres of radioactive waste per day leaking into the underground rock and aquifers, and almost 9 billion tonnes of radioactive waste left in the desert at the mines closure, is acceptable under these conditions, then the South Australian government is setting the bar extremely low.
“The radioactive waste will remain on Kokatha and Arabunna country long after the former ‘Big Australian,’ now 76% foreign-owned, packs up its business and moves on.”
The mine expansion means an increase in shipments of uranium oxide and copper concentrate railed through the Northern Territory and shipped out from East Arm Wharf on Larrakia land, in Darwin.
Donna Jackson, ANFA co-chair and Larrakia woman, said: “The transport and export of these goods puts additional pressures on our emergency services, if we increase the volume, we increase the chance of an accident happening.
“We stand by the Kokatha and Arabunna who oppose this expansion and we repeat our opposition and distress to the approved increase of two trains a day transporting radioactive materials through the NT and out from our Darwin Harbour.”