Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rally to ban mining in Arkaroola

A small group of a dozen people managed to attend a hastily called rally last Monday, supporting a call to ban uranium mining in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary.

The rally was held outside Adelaide's Hilton Hotel where the PayDirt Annual Uranium Conference was being held.

To coincide with the opening of the Play Dirty conference, it was decided to rally between 8-8.30 am on a weekday, knowing that numbers would be small, but wanting to "welcome" conference guests as they arrived.

Marathon Resources, which holds an exploration licence for Arkaroola, was a conference sponsor, but unlike last year, when the uranium miner's chiefs had addressed conferees, their names were not on this year's list of speakers.

You can read their whole sorry saga by hitting the Arkaroola link at the right, or take an even shorter cut, and read the text of a leaflet (below), 150 copies of which were handed out to early morning commuters and office workers.

So, what’s a no-brainium?

Wrecking Arkaroola for uranium!

Arkaroola is a privately-owned Wilderness Sanctuary in the northern Flinders Ranges and one of the icons of tourism in this State.

It has a fragile eco-system and has been central to the successful program for saving the yellow-footed rock wallaby from extinction.

It is part of the traditional lands of the Adnyamathana people.

It is situated in the vicinity of the Paralana Fault Line and is subject to regular seismic activity.

Local company Marathon Resources is the latest holder of an exploration licence to drill in the Sanctuary. Marathon has violated the terms of the license at three sites, Mt Gee, Mt Gee West and Hodgkinsons, and they are held responsible by PIRSA for damaging a unique fluorite occurrence at Mt Gee which they had been told to avoid in their drilling.

Early reports of up to one hundred bags of waste dumped at Mt Gee revealed a staggering 22,800 plastic and calico bags in two shallow 30-metre long pits.

Yet all that has happened is that at the end of their drilling program, when they were already decommissioning rigs at Mt Gee, the Premier called them “cowboys” and suspended their drilling operations!

They are proceeding, ironically, with an Environmental Impact Statement and are intending to apply for a licence to mine at Arkaroola.

They have not been punished at all.

The smell of corruption hangs over this operation.

Former State ALP President and Federal Minister, Chris Schacht has held shares in the company for several years. He helped overturn the SA ALP’s “no new mines” uranium policy. After the “dumping” scandal, he was given a Board position so that his contacts could be used to the company’s advantage.

One of two major shareholders is Ken Talbot of Queensland’s Macarthur Coal. He is before the courts in Queensland charged with corruptly making payments of $300,000 to a Labor Minister who subsequently voted for a project that benefited Macarthur Coal’s Coppabella Mine Project. Two of his employees, both involved with the Coppabella project, sit on Marathon’s board.

Marathon has also had to answer several “please explain” letters from the Australian Stock Exchange which have hinted at insider trading and other market irregularities.

Although Marathon badges itself as a locally-owned company, its other major shareholder is the China International Trade and Investment Corporation (CITIC). The Chinese paid a heavy price for their own liberation from imperialism and should not now start playing the part of a superpower that rides roughshod over the feelings of the Australian people.

Let there be no mistake - the Australian people do not want Arkaroola wrecked in the pursuit of private profit by uranium mining, whether that be as an above-ground operation, or via a tunnel (of from anywhere between 2 and 20 km in length).

Arkaroola must be completely remediated at Marathon’s expense, and the entire Wilderness Sanctuary closed to any further exploration or mining.

Bills to ban mining at Arkaroola will be introduced to State Parliament.

The Labor Party, which proudly boasts that it is “pro-business, pro-growth and pro-mining” cannot be relied upon to support a ban.

We must keep the pressure on Rann, Foley, Holloway and co. to ensure Arkaroola’s protection.

Support the call to ban mining at Arkaroola!

Marathon must get out and stay out!

You can help by writing to the Premier, Mike Rann, in support of these demands, and by checking the following websites for information and updates: (hit the Arkaroola link on the right hand side)

1 comment:

nigel said...

Thats a good summary for people to get a grip on what is a disgraceful story about the state of play with regard corporate control of government processes. I believe there is enough research, information and evidence on sites like yours to justify a royal commission at a federal level, into the corrupt state of mining in South Australia...this is something the federal greens and democrats could be and should be pursuing...all the hardwork of evidence gathering has been done by yourself and others you should be re-imbursed at taxpayer expense for providing this sort of public service...politicians like Brown and Garrett should be ashamed for acting to protect the environment from these corporations that are making a mockery of democracy in this country. Nigel