THE controversial Beverley uranium mine in the State's Far North will be given approval today, paving the way for full-scale production to begin next year.

The Environment Minister, Senator Hill, has told The Advertiser the mine has passed its final environmental tests.

The Beverley mine, 300km north of Port Augusta, [South Australia] will become Australia's third active uranium mine, joining Roxby Downs and the Ranger mine, in the Kakadu National Park.

Construction of the Beverley mine site is expected to create 75 jobs initially with another 120 positions once it hits full production by the middle of next year [2000].

The Advertiser, Adelaide, March 18 1999

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The uranium will be exported to overseas markets, mainly for nuclear power production and medical purposes.

"Commercially, it's positive news for SA. It's a new development and it has to be a boost for the mining industry which has so many promising prospects ahead of it," Senator Hill said.

"This demonstrates these projects can be developed for economic gain without damaging the environment."

Senator Hill and the mine's operators, United States-based Heathgate Resources - a subsidiary of US nuclear energy giant General Atomics - estimate another 300 spin-off jobs will be created.

The State Government, which is set to grant the necessary mining licences within six weeks, will reap $1 million a year in royalties while the economy will earn another $20 million a year through wages and taxes.

Heathgate expects to extract 1000 tonnes of uranium a year over 15 years using the in-situ leaching technique in which the uranium is dissolved into groundwater by pumping sulphuric acid and oxygen underground, then brought to the surface and separated.

The company also has agreed to pay about $850,000 each year to four local Aboriginal groups which have lodged native title claims over the Beverley area on Wooltana station.

Senator Hill delayed approving the mine before Christmas, as expected, because of continuing concerns that radioactive water could leak from the Beverley aquifer into surrounding groundwater deposits, including the Great Artesian Basin.

Earlier tests for leakage prompted Senator Hill to order a further independent assessment by the Australian Geological Survey Organisation. He said he was now satisfied "that no hydraulic connection exists between the Beverley aquifer and other surrounding groundwater".

"The successful completion of this additional level of environmental assessment demonstrates the Commonwealth Government's commitment to the highest standards of environmental protection," he said.

Today's official announcement will anger environmental groups which oppose the mining of uranium and the in-situ technique.

A Victoria University of Technology report, commissioned last year by Friends of the Earth and the Australian Conservation Foundation, said in-situ leach uranium mining was "not controllable, is inherently unsafe, is unlikely to be able to meet strict environmental controls and is not an environmentally benign method of uranium mining".

Since the Coalition abolished the Labor-introduced three-mines policy in 1996, there have been no restrictions on the number of uranium mines allowed.

Trial mining is also under way at the Honeymoon site in SA, north-west of Broken Hill, and at Jabiluka, in the Northern Territory's Kakadu national park. -- "Beverley mine to irradiate underground water; Mine passes nuclear test," The Advertiser, Adelaide, March 18 1999

Copyright© reserved by The Advertiser newspaper of Adelaide. See

Forcing acid into the groundwater

John Massam, 46 Cobine Way, Greenwood, WA, 6024; NOTE Telephone [+61 8] 08 9343 9532
NEW Mobile 0408 054 319; NOTE: E-mail:
World Wide Web Internet site:

29 March 1999

The Editor
The Advertiser

Dear Sir/Madam,


Pumping sulphuric acid and oxygen into the groundwater is the latest planned assault on the planet, to take place at the Beverley uranium site in South Australia's far north.

This outrage has been planned by Big Business, and approved on March 18 by one of business's representatives, the Liberal-National Coalition in Canberra.

With enough money or credit, any fool can pump acid underground, but only a fool would guarantee to recover back to the surface all of the acid or the compounds it might form.

Stupidity such as this must rank with the vandalism of the multinational corporation that is filling the bed of the Fly River in Papua New Guinea with crushed rock.

Another multinational has recently stopped production at Beenup in South-West Western Australia. The company tried to extract mineral sands without spending enough to stop environmental degradation from a special sort of soil that leaks acid if it is disturbed. The site is near two rivers.

These two failures occurred on the land's surface, in spite of prodigious expenditure, yet the Beverley plan goes on. Only two other countries in the world would allow the groundwater acid system.

No wonder many people who aren't socialists don't believe in "the market" and "rational economics."

Yours faithfully, John Massam

Also see:


Acid in our wells

John Massam
46 Cobine Way
Greenwood, WA, 6024
08 9343 9532
0408 054 319
05 May 1999

The Editor
The Australian
Sydney NSW
The Editor
The West Australian
Perth WA 6001

Dear Sir,

Acid in our wells

Although profiting from clearfelling WA forests under the Regonal Forests Agreement must be one of the lowest ways to get revenue, surely the South Australian Beverley uranium project plumbs the depths.

Governments have agreed to allow the miners to force acid into the underground water aquifers.  Surely that is vandalism worse than Saddam Hussein's regime setting fire to Kuwaiti oil wells.

Yours faithfully,
John Massam

Objections as radioactive material goes into Great Artesian Basin

  Radioactive liquids and acid eventually will leach  from Beverley into the clean underground water of the Great Artesian Basin in Australia, according to a scientist quoted in The West Australian.  He is Dr Adrian Sheppard, of the Australian National University's research school of physical sciences and engineering.  The reason is that there is no really impervious shield -- all rocks are porous.

   More than 30 years ago experts declared bedrocks at an underground American nuclear test site in Nevada, USA, would safely contain the radioactive products of a nuclear explosion.

  However, a recent study by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory had found plutonium 1300 metres away, which is well outside the supposedly impregnable barrier.

  Previously warned by a report from Ms April Lafferty of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the Australian Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill had commissioned the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, which reported that the Beverley project would be safe "throughout time."

  The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) then commissioned a study by Gavin Mudd of the Victorian University of Technology, who reported the opposite.  Mr Mudd reported that by interfering with the aquifers at Beverley, miners could change underground pressure differentials, making transfer of liquid between aquifers more likely.

  ACF spokesperson David Noon said that the dangers of contamination from in-situ leaching (ISL) had led to the US Government legally requiring all miners to rehabilitate the groundwater.

  But, rehabilitation would not be required at Beverley, and the company would be allowed to discharge all waste, including heavy metals and radioactive materials, back into the groundwater.  The plan is to pump acids etc. underground for 15 to 30 years.  The Great  Artesian Basin's area is 1.75 million square kilometres.

Read the fuller report by Mark Thornton, "Radioactive fury," The West Australian, October 11 1999, "Today" section page 10.

  (COMMENT:  Please read relevant sections of this Website to learn the attack pattern of this multinational mine company -- forbidden to pollute in the homebase country, they can find somewhere else to pollute.  If this doesn't work, they would seek a way to force or "induce" the government to give in.  A company based in Britain, Pangea, wishes to store radioactive waste in Western Australia.  Although the present Premier Richard Court has said "No," the company has hired three high-profile former government advisers and is opening a Perth office.  Presumably either Mr Court or the WA Government will be replaced, or some other State's politicians will be suitably "assisted" to offer their wide open spaces for the nuclear dump.  Predatory multinational companies are still planning to have the world's trade ministers at Seattle from 30 November 1999 continue the process of approving trade systems that will mean the companies can force approval of all attacks on safety and economic standards. -- written 11 Oct 1999.)

  LINK: Dr Adrian Sheppard's background is at

Tagged on AOLPress/2.0 05 May 1999, last revised 06 June 2000
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To translate whole Webpages into French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish out of English, or out of those languages into English, click:   For these and 11 more languages  including Esperanto and Latin, one word at a time, click:
John Massam, 46 Cobine Way, Greenwood, (a Perth suburb), WA, 6024, Australia. Tel [+61 8] (08) 9343 9532, Mobile 0408 054 319;