Beverly Mine Discharges 90 Million Litres of Liquid Radioactive and Acidic Mine Waste into South Australian Groundwater Per Year

Media Release | Spokesperson Scott Ludlam

Friday 29th August 2008, 1:11pm

Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has condemned Environment Minister Peter Garrett's decision to expand the groundwater sacrifice area of the Beverley uranium mine.

"Uranium mining is extremely hazardous to human health and scarce water resources. It creates an eternal pollution legacy for future generations of Australians to deal with," Senator Ludlam said.

"Beverley is in the driest state in the driest continent on earth. South Australia can't afford to give up the water that the Beverley mine will pollute. What South Australia has in abundance is sunshine; solar thermal electricity is what South Australia should be exporting, not yellowcake."

"This massive increase in the size of the Beverley borefields - from 16 square kilometres to more than 100 square kilometres - radically expands the impact area into which hundreds of millions of litres of liquid radioactive waste is being discharged."

"It beggars belief that an Environment Minister would describe 90 million litres of liquid radioactive and acidic mine waste being discharged into groundwater in one year as ‘world's best practice'".

"Peter Garrett may have decided to swallow a bitter pill to gain his Ministry, but he shouldn't expect the public to swallow the idea that what is going on at Beverley is ‘world's best practice.'"

"In fact, pumping millions of litres of strongly acid or alkaline solution into the ground water to strip uranium from the host rock is something most Australians would be horrified.

"The Environment Minister's use of powers under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act 1999 to expand this uranium mine provides yet more urgency to the Senate Inquiry into the effectiveness and operations of the Act currently underway. I look forward to the Senate Inquiry recommending a thorough overhaul of this Act, which has failed Australians again by enabling this decision," Senator Ludlam said.

contact: Bruce A. Peterson

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