A decade without damage: Jabiluka campaign success, but Kakadu still faces radioactive risk


Australia Conservation Foundation / Environmental Centre NT Media release

Date of publication: 
13 August 2013

Tuesday 13 August marks ten years since mining giant Rio Tinto turned back the trucks and commenced rehabilitation work at the controversial Jabiluka uranium project in Kakadu.

The move saw one of the world’s biggest miners return 50,000 tonnes of unprocessed uranium ore back underground and literally close off access to a 1.5 kilometre mine tunnel.

The closure of the Jabiluka mine followed a David v Goliath struggle led by the Mirarr Traditional Owners and actively supported by many thousands of people around Australia and across the world.

The Australian Conservation Foundation and the Environment Centre NT acknowledge and congratulate all those whose efforts – large and small – stopped uranium mining at Jabiluka.

“Ten years is a long time in a community struggle, but a very short time in the extent of the threat posed by uranium mining and radioactive waste,” said Environment Centre NT campaigner Lauren Mellor.

“Every day without another leaking and polluting uranium mine inside our largest National Park is a good day.”

The Jabiluka campaign included an eight month peaceful blockade involving over 5000 people and more than 500 arrests.

The campaign featured extensive media and political action in Australia and generated high level international attention, including from UNESCO and the European Parliament.

In the ten years since the Jabiluka mining halt:

· ERA’s aging Ranger mine has experienced significant water and waste management problems and sustained financial losses
· Plans for uranium mining at Koongarra near Nourlangie Rock have been permanently ended by Traditional Owner opposition and the area being formally included in Kakadu National Park
· ERA’s plan for a new underground operation at Ranger (the Ranger 3 Deeps project) is the subject of federal environmental assessment
· Australian uranium directly fuelled the continuing Fukushima nuclear crisis

“Ten years ago marked a pivotal and positive moment in the community effort to protect Kakadu and reduce radioactive risk,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“Today is an important date to celebrate, but in the shadow of Fukushima and with the threat of a new mine at Ranger the challenge and the campaign will continue until Ranger is fully rehabilitated and Jabiluka permanently protected inside Kakadu National Park.”

A photographic archive from the Jabiluka blockade is available on the Environment Centre NT website at: http://www.ecnt.org/content/jabiluka-backfill-10-year-anniversary-photog...

For information and comment:

Lauren Mellor, Environment Centre NT: 0413 534 125
Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation: 0408 317 812

Dave Sweeney
Nuclear Free Campaigner
Australian Conservation Foundation
Floor 1, 60 Leicester St, CARLTON VIC 3053, Australia
Ph +61 3 9345 1130 Mob +61 408 317 812 Fax +61 3 9345 1166