Above : DOA, ‘The Only Thing Green’ (Alternative Tentacles, VIRUS 131, 1993). Formed in the same period as Midnight Oil (the late ’70s), Joey Shithead is not yet the Minister of the Environment in Canada. In fact, the band continues to gig, and last did so in Melbourne in 2007, sharing the stage with scab band The Worst.
Peter Garrett — the Minister for Shit-eating Grins, Uranium Mining, Wood-chipping & The Yartz — has great news: Four Mile uranium mine is go! His decision follows an earlier one made at the 2007
Australian Labor Working Families Party national conference to adopt a ‘Three mines is good; four mines is better’ policy on uranium mining. Curiously, as Garrett remarked at the time of this (inevitable and unsurprising) reversal:
- a) (expanded) uranium mining is opposed “by a majority of rank and file members of the Party and by a majority of Australians”;
b) it leads to radioactive waste (which will be forced upon unwilling communities);
c) “For those that argue uranium mining will benefit Indigenous communities, I can point to Indigenous communities clear in their opposition to uranium mining” and;
d) “we cannot absolutely guarantee Australian uranium won’t end up in nuclear weapons”.
Given that a majority of ALP members, a majority of Australians, and a majority of Indigenous communities now ♥ uranium, that no radioactive waste will be generated by the mine, and that both Garrett and the Australian Government can now honestly give a 100% guarantee that no Australian uranium will end up in nuclear weapons, his change of mind makes perfect sense.
Obviously, the opinions of “rank ‘n’ file” ALP members and the Australian public are irrelevant to the decision, made by Cabinet, for which Peter is merely a mouthpiece (armed only with a discarded parachute and a prestigious Ordre des Arts et des Lettres / Order of Arts and Letters).
Dead environmentalists tell no tales
The question of waste is a little tricksier, but it too has a solution: export to Russia. To this end, last year Australian and Russian authorities signed a deal to allow for the re-processing of radioactive waste at the state-owned Angarsk Electrolysis Chemical Plant. Sadly, the Plant has witnessed protest; happily, Russian boneheads are only too willing to be used by Russian authorities to repress such activity, including by way of extra-judicial murder. Thus in July 2007, a mob of fascists attacked an environmental camp on the outskirts of the Plant, injuring many, and beating to death Russian anarchist and skinhead, Ilya Borodaenko.
It is expected, quite reasonably, that the Russian state’s obvious willingness to employ terrorism to destroy opposition to the Plant will render local communities much more willing to accept radioactive waste, including the pollution of Lake Baikal. (The World Heritage listed Lake Baikal is also known as the “Blue Eye of Siberia”: it contains more water than all of the North American Great Lakes combined and at 1,642 meters (5,390 ft), Lake Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, and the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume.)
See also : “Uranium is ace!” (On Angarsk) // antifa notes : russia, May 27, 2009 | Anti-Fascist Attitude, February 17, 2009 | [For Dion] Shadowboxing (Petersburg Antifa) | chtodelat news, August 5, 2008 | Who do they think they’re fooling? Angarsk, Ilya Borodaenko, and the IUEC, July 24, 2007.
“The time has come / a fact’s a fact / it belongs to Alliance Resources Ltd / ignore uppity blacks”
As for “Indigenous” opposition, again, this may prove slightly tricky to crush, and entail the South Australian and Federal Governments to work closely with the corporations managing the mine. Always making trouble for the responsible authorities, “Adnyamathanha (Adnyamathanha) elders, who are the traditional owners of the land where the new mine is be to established, say the approval is in breach of regulations governing Aboriginal heritage protection”.
“What more can we do to protect our land from being raped by mining companies that are allowed to pollute the water and carve up the waterways, even contaminate the soil with radioactive waste?” complains Enice Marsh (Aboriginal elders want uranium mine stalled, SBS/AAP, July 15, 2009).
Marsh further complains that “Many of us have tried with very little resources, limited understanding of the legal system and environmental laws, and despite a mountain of bullying, lies and deceit from mining companies, lawyers, and self-inflated thugs in our own community who dare to call themselves ‘leaders'”.
Wherein, of course, lies the solution. As Peter himself has stated: “In fact, there is an agreement between traditional owners and Aboriginal people in South Australia and the proponents on this matter… And I expect that Aboriginal communities will receive benefits as a consequence of the decision that has been taken” (Garrett’s beds are burning: critics, Cathy Alexander and Larine Statham, The Age, July 15, 2009). See also : more notes on “the intervention” (two), June 24, 2009 | more notes on “the intervention” (one), June 23, 2009 | notes on “the intervention”, June 14, 2009.
In any case, Garrett’s approving announcement has — coincidentally — proved to be a boon to The Economy (which is unwell at the moment):
July 15 (Bloomberg) — Alliance Resources Ltd. rose the most in nine months in Sydney after the mineral explorer won approval to build the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia, projected to be among the world’s 10-biggest producers.
Alliance Resources Limited
ACN 063 293 336
Suite 3, 51 – 55 City Road
Southbank, VIC, 3006
Tel: +61 3 9697 9090
Fax: +61 3 9697 9091
Email: [email protected]
Alliance gained as much as 34 percent, the most since Oct. 13, to 98 Australian cents on the Australian stock exchange, and was at 86.5 cents at 3:12 p.m. local time. The benchmark ASX 200 Index was 1.5 percent higher…
Adelaide-based Quasar Resources Ltd., manager of the Four Mile project, has estimated the mine will cost A$90 million ($71 million) to build and will start production in January, Alliance said March 16. Four Mile is the largest Australian uranium discovery in 25 years, Melbourne-based Alliance said on its Web site.
Four Mile will use a technique called in-situ leaching that dissolves uranium in a liquid solution that is then pumped to the surface, where the metal is recovered. The uranium will be transported 8 kilometers to the existing Beverley processing plant owned by Quasar’s parent, Heathgate Resources Pty, a unit of San Diego-based General Atomics…
Note that, in the late ’90s and early ’00s, General Atomics employed a former Australian Government spook, ‘Mehmet Ersoy/Osman’, to infiltrate environmental groups campaigning against the uranium mining industry. His brief was to collate information on the groups and individuals in question, to monitor their protest actions, to alert the relevant companies prior to protest action, and also to attempt to sabotage relations between indigenous and non-indigenous activists and communities.
Former officer hired to spy
Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie
October 17, 2008
THE owners of Australia’s biggest uranium mines paid a former undercover Victoria Police officer to infiltrate environment and Aboriginal groups in Melbourne.
The former police intelligence unit officer, known as Mehmet, was hired by North Ltd — before its takeover by Rio Tinto in late 2000 — and US nuclear and defence giant General Atomics to spy on Friends of the Earth, Jabiluka Action Group, Nuclear Free Australia, radio station 3CR and radical Melbourne [infoshop] Barricade Books.
Mehmet first infiltrated the Jabiluka Action Group and Friends of the Earth in 1998 as part of an undercover police operation. It is not known why police chose to infiltrate and monitor the groups, though both were involved in anti-uranium protests.
After leaving the police in late 1999 to set up his own security company, Universal Axiom, Mehmet retained his covert police persona as a Kurdish migrant concerned about indigenous and mining issues…
Last I heard, Mehmet was in Iraq, training police.
Garrett gives nod to uranium mine
Michelle Grattan and Barry Fitzgerald
July 15, 2009
The Rudd Government has given the green light to an expansion of the uranium industry, approving a new mine in South Australia that will add hundreds of millions of dollars a year to the industry’s exports.
The Four Mile mine, 550 kilometres north of Adelaide, will open next year after winning clearance from federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett…
Four Mile will be Australia’s first new uranium mine in close to a decade and the 10th biggest in the world. Its approval was made possible by Labor dumping its no-new-mines policy before the 2007 election.
With annual production of about 1400 tonnes, it will boost national output by 13 per cent to 12,100 tonnes and would earn about $260 million a year in revenue at current prices…
Four Mile is 75 per cent owned by US company Heathgate and 25 per cent by Ian Gandel’s locally-listed Alliance Resources. Other local mines are Rio Tinto’s Ranger in the Northern Territory and Olympic Dam (BHP Billiton) and Beverley in SA. The development of Four Mile is expected to be followed by the smaller Honeymoon mine in SA, possibly later in 2010.
But the big uranium developments that could triple Australia’s annual uranium exports to 30,000 tonnes are much further off. BHP plans to triple output at Olympic Dam — the world’s biggest deposit — and is investigating developing the Yeelerrie deposit in Western Australia. Canada’s Cameco and Japan’s Mitsubishi also want to develop the WA Kintyre deposit…
Four Mile, like the nearby Beverley deposit, will be mined by “in-situ leach”, which works by pumping a weak acid solution underground into the uranium-bearing formation through a series of wells.
The solution dissolves the uranium and leaves other substances behind. The uranium-rich solution is then returned to the surface where the uranium is extracted and treated…
World’s best environmental practice for new mine
July 14, 2009
Highlighting the Australian Government’s commitment to world best practice environmental standards, a uranium mine in South Australia has been approved subject to strict approval conditions which will ensure no credible risk to the environment…
I second the amendment.
There are strongly held views on this issue – that is well understood and respected.
I welcome the fact that in this party, we can openly debate differences.
Now, I have always maintained and indeed committed myself to the notion that Australia should be nuclear free – that our country is as far into nuclear activities as it ever should be.
I visited the shrine at Hiroshima. I know the history of Maralinga. And I’ve witnessed the struggle at Jabiluka.
I have long been opposed to uranium mining, and I remain opposed to it.
I am unapologetic about this. In fact, I am proud of it.
And I am proud it is a view shared by many at this conference, by a majority of rank and file members of the Party and by a majority of Australians.
And they have been contacting me, in increasing numbers, saying clearly that they do not wish us to make a decision today which sees an expansion of uranium mining.
My reason for this objection is based on the principle that I believe no generation should appropriate the future. The risks are greater than the benefits.
And with radioactive waste, no issue has a greater purchase on the future than this issue does.
Uranium mining leads inextricably to uranium waste.
Radioactive waste is toxic material which lasts for tens and hundreds of thousands of years.
Delegates, each generation is faced with different choices. These involve balancing competing interests, evaluating risks and benefits and aiming to make decisions which add to the common good; decisions which better prepare us for tomorrow.
So we have an important decision to reach here at this Conference.
For those who say we must expand this industry to meet the climate change challenge:
I say, is the only way to meet this challenge by producing more radioactive waste and more materials for nuclear weapons? Why would we do this in a world where terrorism is on the rise, where nuclear proliferation veers out of control and where safeguards and security simply aren’t working?
We must and we can invest significant political will, and intellectual and financial capital in climate change solutions that don’t create new and additional security and environmental problems. We should export those solutions to the world.
For those who say we should expand uranium mining, with the focus on the highest possible safety and environmental safeguards, I say turn the equation around.
Let us commit ourselves to actually achieving safety and environmental safeguards first – safeguards that are accepted by the community, by a community that is fully informed.
And remember that no Australian State – including South Australia – has ever been willing to accept even the relatively small volumes of domestic radioactive waste. This is understandable given the process entered into by the Howard Government, but no State has.
Now that waste is now being forced on the people of the Northern Territory by the Howard Government.
For those that argue uranium mining will benefit Indigenous communities, I can point to Indigenous communities clear in their opposition to uranium mining.
We must ensure that National Parks and World Heritage Areas are properly protected.
Delegates, as I said recently to the Kingsford Smith FEC, at the end of the day, we cannot absolutely guarantee Australian uranium won’t end up in nuclear weapons – but we can guarantee all Australian uranium will become nuclear waste.
This is not a legacy we should leave to our kids, nor to the world.