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Economics not environment threatens to derail Jabiluka: ERA silent as Collins works up no Jabiluka alternative.

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Senator Lyn Allison

Australian Democrats

Spokesperson on Nuclear Issues


August 13, 1999


Economics not environment threatens to derail Jabiluka

ERA silent as Collins works up no Jabiluka alternative


The future of the Jabiluka uranium mine is today in doubt, with ERA’s silence on claims that the mine is not viable without the milling of Jabiluka ore at the existing Ranger mill. This option is not possible unless traditional owners remove their rightful veto on Ranger milling, which would involve building a 22km road through traditional Mirrar country.


Former Labor Minister, now chair of the Kakadu Region Social Impact Study Implementation Group, Bob Collins, today said he was working on an alternative that envisaged uranium mining stopping at Ranger in three years and never proceeding at Jabiluka.


Democrats’ spokesperson on nuclear issues, Senator Lyn Allison, said Mr Collins’ comments on ABC Radio this morning signalled a major shift in the Jabiluka debate.


“It is the first public acknowledgment of what we’ve all known for many years now - that without milling at Ranger, Jabiluka is simply not a viable mine,” Senator Allison said.


Senator Allison, who recently chaired a comprehensive Senate inquiry into the approval process at Jabiluka, said Mr Collins’ comments beg the question why the Commonwealth Environment Minister ever approved construction of Jabiluka.


“Why did the Minister allow construction of the Jabiluka decline when the Mirrar have consistently said they would veto remote milling at Ranger?


“Minister Hill has let ERA dig a big hole into sacred land, costing the company millions and doing irreparable damage to a place of great cultural importance to the Mirrar people.


“We’re hoping that Mr Collins’ comments don’t signal the beginning of a softening up campaign of blackmailing the Mirrar into approving the Ranger Mill Alternative. This would just compound the long history of deceit, broken agreements and abuse of process that we’ve seen at Jabiluka to date,” Senator Allison concluded.


Contacts: Justin O’Brien on 0411 473 697, Senator Lyn Allison 015 691 512



jk  1999-08-17  09:49