Land grab for ‘acid leach’ uranium mining and groundwater dumping must be stopped

A proposal currently before the SA Government would see a six-fold increase in the size of the Beverley uranium mine and allow hundreds of millions of litres of radioactive waste to be discharged into the Flinders Ranges’ groundwater system, the Australian Conservation Foundation warned today.

The SA Government will consider the plan by uranium company General Atomics to enlarge the Beverley mine lease from 16 km² to more than 100 km². The brief submission period on the ‘public environment report’ closes today.

“This audacious proposal by General Atomics would allow the company to use its controversial acid leach uranium mining technique and dump the liquid radioactive waste straight into the groundwater of the Flinders Ranges,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner David Noonan.

Last year General Atomics discharged some 90 million litres of radioactive, chemical and acidic liquid mine waste to groundwater at Beverley. The company has been ‘monitoring’ the movement of the pollution plume in the local aquifer.

“General Atomics must not be allowed to use our collective groundwater as a sacrifice zone for dumping its radioactive liquid mine waste,” Mr Noonan said.

“The company should be instructed to clean up its act, end mine waste discharge to groundwater and rehabilitate the damage to our environment.

“We call on the SA Government to act on its commitment to set the ‘strictest environmental standards’ for uranium mining and reject this outrageous uranium land grab.”

The draft ‘public environment report’, written by General Atomics, says: “there are no environmental values to the Beverley aquifer” and “the only potential beneficial use for the Namba formation water…is for mining purposes”. The company declares: “No active remediation of the Namba Formation aquifer is proposed”.