Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canadian corporation to transport uranium through WA cities and towns

In Western Australia mining and resource companies can pretty much do whatever they like. They talk a lot about world's best practice safety standards and social license to operate, but ultimately what they want they generally get. Here is a perfect example of how it works.
Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam has slammed provocative plans by Canadian uranium mining company Cameco to truck uranium through several WA cities and towns.

The Cameco planned course will see up to 3,600 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate from the Kintyre project trucked past Port Headland and though Newman, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Leonora and a number of other towns en route to the proposed Parkeston travel hub outside Kalgoorlie each year. If the hub is not completed by 2013, the uranium will be transported though Kalgoorlie itself.

“There are a significant number of freight truck accidents in Western Australia each year, but that’s just part of the concern. This is a project that goes wrong at every turn, planned by a company with an appalling history,” said Senator Ludlam.

“The mine itself is proposed for a site right next to Rudall River, alongside the Karlamilyi National Park. The site of the uranium deposit was originally part of the park and was excised in 1994, so as you can imagine it is a pristine natural area and it has environmentally sensitive wetlands in the vicinity,” said Senator Ludlam.

“Especially given the sordid and sorry history of uranium mining in Australia contaminating ground water and wetlands, this is one of the worst possible sites for a uranium mine.”

It is estimated 2,500 to 3,600 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate will be trucked through the state each year by Cameco. The company says it will send between 55 and 70 truck convoys a year along the estimated 2000km route.

“The residents along this uranium trail will no doubt be very concerned,” said Senator Ludlam. “They have the right to say no to Cameco’s plan to transport radioactive material through their neighbourhoods.”

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