Canadian and Australian NGO's Unite against Uranium Mine

June 11, 2002

Environment groups in Canada and Australia have united to oppose a planned uranium mine at Honeymoon in northern South Australia. The move coincides with the annual meeting in Canada today of the Toronto based uranium miner Southern Cross Resources (SXR) at which the company is expected to announce further details on project financing.

The Sierra Club of Canada, Friends of the Earth Australia and the Australian Conservation Foundation have called on the company to end its push for the controversial project. The planned mine would use a technique known as acid In Situ Leach (ISL) mining where sulphuric acid is pumped into groundwater to dissolve uranium ore. This method of uranium extraction is not used in Canada or any other OECD nation and has caused severe groundwater contamination at sites in Eastern Europe.

"SXR's mine plans are under increasing scrutiny and there is growing community concern over this industry and it's impacts," said Friends of the Earth Australia nuclear spokesperson Bruce Thompson. "SXR may have raised some money but they are a long way from a commercial mine."

ISL uranium mining in Australia is the focus of renewed investigation from State and Federal authorities following a series of recent spills, leaks and reporting failures.

"Reports of systematic failures at the current uranium mining operations have dented the credibility of the uranium companies and increased community opposition to any new mining projects" said Dave Sweeney, nuclear campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation.

"Honeymoon's plan to directly discharge radioactive and liquid mine wastes to groundwater is simply unacceptable and this project will be actively opposed."

The Sierra Club of Canada are urging the Canadian government to take action over the project before there is any further environmental impact or damage to Canada's international reputation.

"Canadian mining companies have already been responsible for a series of environmental mining disasters around the world", said Dave Martin, nuclear policy advisor with the Sierra Club of Canada. "It's time to learn the lesson and to end the Honeymoon.î

For further information contact:

Dave Martin
Nuclear Policy Advisor
Sierra Club of Canada, Ontario, Canada.
Ph: +1 905-852-0571

Dave Sweeney
Nuclear Campaign Coordinator
Australian Conservation Foundation, Australia
Ph: + 61 3 9926 6708
Mob: +61 0408 317 812

Bruce Thompson
Nuclear Campaigner
Friends of the Earth, Australia
Ph: + 61 3 9419 8700
Mob: +61 0417 318 368