Expensive, dirty and dangerous: why we must fight miners’ push to fast-track uranium mines. Of all the elements on Earth, none is more strictly controlled under law than uranium. A plethora of international agreements govern its sale and use in energy, research and nuclear weapons. Australian environmental law considers nuclear actions, such as uranium mining, as a “matter of national environmental significance” under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. This means uranium involves matters of national and international concern for which the Australian government is solely responsible. The states, which own minerals, cannot exercise such oversight on uranium exports and use. So any new uranium mine needs both state and federal environmental approvals. The Minerals Council of Australia wants to change this. In a submission to a ten-year review of the EPBC Act, the council argues that uranium’s special treatment is redundant, as environmental risks are already addressed in state approval processes.
The Conversation 17th June 2020 read more »