(May 26, 2000) Hundreds of activists are protesting against the coming opening of the Beverley mine in Australia. At the Ranger mine, a leak occurred in a tailings dam. The authorities were not notified until 23 days later.
(530.5176) WISE Amsterdam - About 200 people from around the world have set up an action camp at the gates of the Beverley uranium mine to protest against the start of its commercial operation as is scheduled in July. Thirty-one activists were arrested on May 9 during protests. They were arrested when they entered the Heathgate Resources grounds and refused to leave. Nine people were arrested two days earlier in a roadblock action. The prisoners were said to have been used as hostages as the police told the demonstrators that they would be released only if the roadblock was removed. The blockade lasted for 24 hours.
Environmental groups dealing with the mine, such as the Flinders Ranges Environment Action, object to the environmental consequences of the in-situ leach mining practices. The Beverley aquifer lies only 50 to 100 meters above the country's most important underground water supply, the Great Artesian Basin. The area has experienced consistent seismic activity.
The Beverley mine is owned by Heathgate Resources, a subsidiary of the U.S. General Atomics. The Beverley deposit was purchased by General Atomics with the foundation of Heathgate in 1990. Protests at the site have been held since 1997.
At another mine, the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu National Park, a leakage took place on April 5 that went unreported for 23 days. The owner, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has to explain to the government why it took so long before authorities were notified about the tailings dam leak.
The Gundjehmi Aboriginal Corporation, representing the Mirrar population of Kakadu, condemned the failure of governmental supervision over ERA's operations. Because of the leak at the Ranger mine, a group of parliamentarians has called for the government to rescind approval for the ERA's Jabiluka mine, also in Kakadu National Park.
- Environment News Service, 9 May 2000
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 5 May 2000
Contact: Flinders Ranges Environment Action, c/o Post Office Copley, South Australia 5732
Tel: +61-8-8675 2242 or +61-428 660636