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Burke's blunder on Wiluna uranium scheme means high risk, no reward for W.A.

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 2 Apr 2013

The Australian Greens strongly condemned today's decision of Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to allow the mining of uranium in Wiluna, Western Australia.

The Greens nuclear policy spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the approval showed Labor could not be trusted to protect the environment or public health.

"Today marks the beginning of the campaign to stop Toro, and the Greens will remain a strong voice to prevent the expansion of uranium mining around Australia. With the government's abandonment of environmental protection, the Greens will target the investment community to ensure that investors continue to shun this unwanted industry.

"While the Minister has placed 36 conditions on the approval, there is simply no safe way to mine uranium on a lake bed that floods. This is a rookie company with no operating mines. The WA Government got it badly wrong and the Federal Government just blew its chance to fix this mess.

"Under new mine closure guidelines, Toro has to find 100% of the mine closure cost, around $150 million, before it has raised the $300 million to open it. With uranium prices plummeting by more than two thirds since its peak in 2007, it is highly unlikely that Toro can open, maintain and close a mine abiding by the necessary conditions and environmental standards.

"150 nuclear power plants are scheduled for closure without replacement in Europe alone. Toro's business case is based on wildly unrealistic assumptions, including the projection that the US dollar will suddenly strengthen against the Australian dollar. Tony Burke is placing our environment and public health at huge risk for precious little prospective reward.

"Australian uranium was in the four reactors of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. After more than two years, large areas of Japan are toxic and 160,000 people remain evacuated from their homes. It is time Australians got out of this industry."




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