Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mike Rann: will u save us from the serial U miners?

worth saving: myponga reservoir - link to the mount lofty ranges and fleurieu peninsula set on flickrIn October last year, Marathon Resources - the same company that currently proposes to open a Uranium mine in the heart of the Arkaroola Sanctuary - delivered notices requiring exploration access to about 20 properties on the Fleurieu Peninsula near the Myponga Reservoir, in order to prospect for Uranium.

The company's Dr. John Santich explained; "Down there at Myponga we've known since we put in the application that it was highly unlikely that we'd ever get a permit to mine, even if we found what you call a viable deposit which would have to be massive and very rich," he said.

"Nevertheless it's worth exploring, it's worth getting that knowledge."

The locals were understandably unhappy at the prospect, 'unlikely' or not, and Mike Rann swiftly intervened, announcing that his Cabinet "would never approve a uranium mine anywhere near the Myponga Reservoir". As it shouldn't.

In November of that same year Fleurieu residents were calling for a complete ban on uranium mining on the peninsula. An ABC article of the period notes that while Marathon would not be doing any exploration on the Fleurieu, the Mineral Resource Development branch of the Dept. of Primary Industries would! They too apparently believe "it's worth getting that knowledge". Just out of interest. After all, it might be "massive and very rich"!

The Advertiser (18/08/07) has just reported the departing head of the Environmental Protection Agency's advice to the state government. Dr. Paul Vogel stated that the mining boom would confront "difficult" environmental, social, economic, and equity issues;

We will need a really good policy framework so we don't trade off the extinction of a species for the export of uranium, for example.

Hear hear.
not worth saving?: the arkaroola sanctuary - link to the mawson plateau feature images

While Mr. Rann clearly acknowledges that a good policy framework does not allow uranium miners in the Myponga catchment, surely he cannot believe that allowing a Uranium mine in the heart of the Arkaroola sanctuary constitutes good governance?

As Dr. Vogel says, lines will have to be drawn. And if a landscape of the calibre of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary isn't firmly placed in a 'safe' zone, what can we hope would be protected?

Mr. Rann, the company is not up there merely sating its curiosity. It intends to mine, if you let it. A responsible government must not sacrifice the jewels of our unique natural heritage in a headlong rush to be "the Saudi Arabia of Uranium" (Mike Rann, 17/04/07)


Write to the Premier and Environment minister asking them to halt the Arkaroola project now. See the 'Now is the Write time' article in this journal for details.

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thanks for your contribution - bill - i'm genuinely sorry about having to switch on the 'moderation' process but comment spammers have really been cluttering up this journal!