About 60 anti-uranium protesters set up a bonfire in the middle of the road leading to Olympic Dam, in South Australia, stopping all traffic in and out of the BHP Billiton uranium mine for about 19 hours on July 3. Olympic Way was also closed for about 90 minutes on July 2 as about 200 demonstrators undertook a funeral procession, carrying a black coffin and baskets of animal bones to the gates of Olympic Dam. The protest was organised by Desert Liberation Front, which opposes toxic waste dumps in Australia and wants BHP Billiton's uranium mine to be closed within two years.
Locals and participants in the Radioactive Exposure Tour gathered to say no to Alkane's rare earths mine, on July 1. The mine, at Toongi, 30 kilometers south of Dubbo, will commence operation towards the end of the year. Uranium will not be sold, but it will be dug up and stored on site in a tailings dam, along with other toxic substances.
Ten years ago, the uranium price was on an upward swing. South Australians were dazzled by the prospect of becoming the 'Saudi Arabia of the South' because of the state's large uranium deposits and the prospect of a global nuclear power renaissance. Those comparisons didn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny — Australia would need to supply global uranium demand 31 times over to match Saudi oil revenue.
While Prime Minister Tony Abbott sealed a deal in New Delhi to export uranium to India, the Queensland government granted six mining development leases to two companies on September 5. No uranium has been mined in Queensland since 1982 and has been banned since 1989. However in October 2012 the QLD government lifted the mining ban. Summit Resources was granted four of the mining development leases and Fusion resources were granted two. The leases cover areas near Mount Isa and are the latest stage in Premier Campbell Newman’s plan for the uranium industry.
A snap rally was held outside NSW parliament house on February 22 to protest a bill proposed by Premier Barry O’Farrell to lift the 26-year moratorium on uranium exploration in NSW. The Nature Conservation Council and Beyond Nuclear Initiative organised the rally. The moratorium on nuclear exploration in NSW began as a bipartisan agreement between Liberal and Labor parties after an investigation found that the effects of mining would be too dangerous.