The Federal Government's approval of the Olympic Dam expansion will see
the creation of a carcinogenic mountain range of radioactive waste in
South Australia, the Greens warned today.
Australian Greens spokesperson for nuclear issues Senator Scott Ludlam
said the proposed expansion of the BHP Billiton site will be a disaster
for the environment, human health and local jobs.
"BHP Billiton designed a world's-worst-practice uranium mine and today
the Federal Government has approved it. Instead of burying the
radioactive tailings waste in a properly lined pit, BHP Billiton will
dump 70 million tonnes of finely powdered radioactive tailings over an
area of 44sq km. That isn't a radioactive waste heap - that's a
radioactive waste mountain range.
"The so-called environment conditions are hopeless - there's no
requirement for this tailing heap to be covered while the mine operates,
and it is to operate for at least another thirty years.
"The new open pit will leak up to 8 million litres of liquid radioactive
waste a day by 2020 from the tailings storage facility.
In the final Environmental Impact Statement BHP Billiton has
acknowledged that the expanded mine will generate at least 4.1 million
tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year for decades. BHP will dig a
million tonnes a day for four years before they even get to the uranium
orebody - burning an estimated six billion dollars worth of diesel in
"There is an alternative model that would see a lower greenhouse
footprint and skilled jobs retained in South Australia. A peer-reviewed
study by Monash University's Dr Gavin Mudd demolished the myth that
uranium is central to the mine's expansion. His model for the expansion
is safer, would use much less water and energy, and would mean more jobs
and greater economic return for the local economy.
"The Federal Government has decided they want to keep exporting local
jobs to China while leaving South Australia with a toxic legacy."
Dr Mudd's report:
Media Contact: Giovanni Torre - 0417 174 302