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Uranium mining all risk, no benefit for Queensland

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 22 Oct 2012

Lifting the ban on uranium mining in Queensland is the latest broken promise by Premier Newman and is another blow in the Queensland Government’s attack on the environment, the Australian Greens said today.

“Throwing open Queensland to uranium mining again is a toxic, dangerous and completely unnecessary step for the sunshine state,” Australian Greens Senator for Queensland, Larissa Waters, said.

 “It is environmentally and economically risky, and adds insult to injury after the Premier has slashed large and small scale solar power programs across the state.

“We know from Senate Estimates last week that the environmental and social impacts of nuclear activities are planned to be handed-off to the States, which means there may be no federal tick off of the environmental impacts of uranium mining in Queensland.

“The federal Government must now stop this disastrous plan to hand over environment powers to the states before Campbell Newman becomes the sole authority in charge of nuclear issues in Queensland, from digging it up to port,” Senator Waters said.

“Uranium mining in Australia has a sordid history and no future,” Australian Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy, Senator Scott Ludlam, said.

"Thirty years after the closure of the Mary Kathleen uranium mine west of Cloncurry, there is significant physical and chemical mobility of uranium and related elements, including transfer into vegetation. The rate of seepage from the tailings dump is much faster than predicted and radioisotopes are being mobilised in surface water seepages.

“The world uranium price hit a high of US$138 per pound in 2007 and had fallen to about $63 a pound before the Fukushima nuclear disaster.  It is now $43.50 a pound and shows no sign of recovery.

“Uranium mining is bad for mine workers; bad for residents near mines and on uranium transport routes; bad for farmers; bad for groundwater, for soil and local species – and it provides fuel for a dangerous industry that is on the way out. Queensland deserves better,” Senator Ludlam said.

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