Honeymoon Radioactive Waste Dumping Halt

March 2, 2001

National environment group Friends of the Earth Australia has called for uranium miner Southern Cross Resources to halt plans to dispose of radioactive waste into groundwater at the Honeymoon uranium site near Broken Hill. Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill announced today the terms of reference for further evaluation of groundwater and direct disposal of radioactive wastes. Southern Cross has denied the public release of existing data from two years of trial mining at the site near Broken Hill.

"Southern Cross have failed to provide adequate information on groundwater and the impact of direct disposal of radioactive wastes - this is a key issue" said Bruce Thompson, Nuclear Campaigner. "They either don't understand the groundwater movement or they have something to hide - both are unacceptable".

The project involves pumping sulfuric acid into groundwater to extract uranium. The company wants to directly dispose radioactive wastes into the groundwater with no plan to rehabilitate. This form of mining is not used commercially in the OECD due to groundwater issues. The company is seeking approval for the mine before the next Federal election.

Friends of the Earth Australia has requested that the following be made public:

1. Existing data

Baseline data -What was the natural state of the groundwater before mining?
Trial Results - What has been the impact of two years of mining?

2. Further Evaluation

Methodology - What approach will be taken?
Independent Assessment - Who will observe testing and assess results?

"Each must be declared before any additional physical testing is conducted." Declared Dr Gavin Mudd, Environmental Hydrogeologist.

"The Honeymoon mine would not be allowed in any other developed country due to groundwater issues - We have a company that has failed to provide information on groundwater" said Mr. Thompson. "The only way to be sure contamination will not occur is to avoid this process".

Friends of the Earth Australia will release detailed recommendations to address Senator Hill's terms of reference next week.

For further information contact:

Bruce Thompson
Friends of the Earth National Anti-Nuclear Campaigner
0417 318 368

Dr Gavin Mudd
07 3365 3745
07 3846 7453 (AH)