Uranium Mining in Australia Opposed

PERTH, Australia, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Activists and opposition politicians in Western Australia are urging the state to ban the mining of uranium, saying potential dangers are “off the scale.”

A statewide ban on uranium mining in effect from 2002-08 was lifted by the Liberal Party two years ago when it was voted into power in the state, Inter Press Service reported Monday.

The Australian mining company BHP Billiton plans to develop a uranium deposit near the town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in 2011 in a $15.6 billion project. The mine is set to operate in 2014, with an annual yield of 3,500 tons of uranium ore.

The Wongatha Aboriginal clan that calls the region home opposes all uranium mining.

“We don’t need uranium mining in this country,” Wongatha leader Geoffrey Stokes said. “We have sun, we’ve got wind, we’ve got people. Why should we pollute our country for money?”

Politicians of the opposition Labor Party, who put the ban in effect when they were in power, agree.

“We know that all mining is dangerous but we know that mining uranium is off the scale,” says Shadow Environment Minister Sally Talbot. “It presents an unacceptable hazard for workers in the industry, it presents an unacceptable risk to the future and well-being of our indigenous communities and it presents a dreadful threat to our environment in Western Australia.”

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