Bimblebox is an 8000-hectare nature refuge in the Galilee Basin in central-west Queensland. It is an important site of biodiversity and is being used as a site for many long-term research projects in land management. It also lies in the path of what is planned to be Australia’s largest coalmine. Nine huge mines have been proposed for the Galilee Basin. Waratah Coal, owned by billionaire Clive Palmer, has an exploration permit over the entire Bimblebox refuge.
Politics in this country can sometimes seem like a magic trick aimed at young children. “Look over there! Do you see? Those Boat People are taking all your taxes and your homes and your bread! Look! What an outrage!” And then Gina Rinehart jumps up behind our backs and nicks all our resources. And that stuff is non-renewable. Once the mining bosses have flogged it off to China to fill their bloated bank account balances, it’s gone for good. We’ll just be left with a bunch of holes in the ground.
Independent journalist and author Antony Loewenstein visited Papua New Guinea in January and February as part of his research for an upcoming book and documentary about disaster capitalism and privatisation. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Ash Pemberton about the influence of the resource industry in PNG, its links with government and private security forces, the rising influence of China and PNG's domestic politics in light of upcoming elections. * * *
Rich Land, Wasteland Sharyn Munro Exisle Publishing & Pan Macmillan 453 pages, pb, $29.99 When a coalmine starts up near a township, a village or a farm it is to be expected that lives will change. Indeed change is often promised and welcomed ― more Jobs, more money flowing into the community, better roads and services. In short, progress is promised.
Gina Rinehart — mining tycoon and Australia’s richest person — is now also the world’s richest woman. Last year, her wealth grew by $18.87 billion to $29.17 billion. Her wealth grew $52 million a day or $1 million every 30 minutes. It means that for every second that passed in 2011, Rinehart made more ($598) than a minimum wage earner made in a week ($589.30). Rinehart’s fortune is now so big, if she spent $1 million a year her money would last for 29,170 years. It would take a minimum wage earner about 950,000 years to reach Rinehart’s bank balance
Federal resources minister Martin Ferguson released a report on May 14 into Australia’s gas reserves. The report signalled a huge expansion of gas mining in the NT and bad news for the environment. Two new areas have been opened for gas exploration: shale gas exploration in the central NT, and conventional offshore gas exploration north-west of Darwin. Both of these present serious environmental problems. The shale gas industry relies on capturing gas by pumping sand, water and chemicals into the ground — a process commonly known as fracking.
On the same day that 8000 farmers, environmentalists, the Country Women’s Association and others took part in Australia's biggest rally against coal seam gas (CSG) mining, the NSW mining industry launched a website to “dispel myths” about the industry. Website creator the Minerals Council of NSW includes the state's biggest mining companies: Anglo American, BHP Billiton, Barrick Gold, Peabody, Rio Tinto, Shenhua and Xstrata.
It can seem like there is nothing but bad news in this country sometimes. Corporations are shedding jobs, governments are slashing spending and Essendon went down to Collingwood by one fucking point on ANZAC Day. So, it gives me great pleasure to be able to welcome a positive step to finally bring some honesty into the bastard world of Australian politics. Yes, billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has announced he will seek Liberal National Party pre-selection to challenge Treasurer Wayne Swan for the Queensland seat of Lilley.
After a hostage crisis in which one of armed group Shining Path's (Sendero Luminoso – SL) factions abducted gas workers employed by a major multinational, a counter-insurgency operation was launched in the Apurimac-Ene River Valley (VRAE). The stand-off was reported by the international media. But what has been largely ignored are the human rights abuses against VRAE civilian communities are being committed by the Peruvian military.
The Medical Association for Prevention of War released the statement below on May 1. * * * The Medical Association for Prevention of War has released a statement (reproduced below) signed by 45 medical doctors calling on uranium mining company Toro Energy to stop promoting the view that low-level radiation is beneficial to human health.
Communities throughout NSW are battling an expanding coal seam gas (CSG) industry and new government guidelines that allow coal and CSG mining in most of the state. The battle over “unconventional gas” mining, which includes CSG, shale and tight gas, is also spreading across Australia, as companies and governments try to cash in on the gas rush. Federal minister for regional Australia Simon Crean said last year that Australia will become “the Saudi Arabia of gas”.
If you are thinking of challenging a mining development in the courts, be prepared to go through the financial wringer. You might think you have an open-and-shut case, that the federal government has shirked its responsibilities under environmental legislation. But if the finding goes against you, the government and the mining industry will see you bankrupt.
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