Federal approval of Toro Wiluna uranium mine

Robin Chapple, the Greens WA spokesperson on Mining and Nuclear issues, today expressed his sadness after hearing the news of federal environment minister Burke’s decision to approve the Toro Energy Wiluna uranium mine.

“I am sad for the men and women who will be asked to work at close quarters with this most toxic of mineral ores, Mr Chapple said.

“They will have been reassured by the imprimatur given to this mine by the various levels of government. 

“Who can blame them for assuming that if it is permitted by the authorities, in a modern industry like Australia’s mining sector, then it must be OK?

"The truth, sadly, is that prolonged, repeated exposure to uranium ore, such as that experienced by Toro’s future mine workforce, is a proven health risk.

“We are laying the groundwork for a repeat of the tragic asbestos diseases scenario currently being played out across Australia, a particularly poignant thought as we this week mourn the passing of one of my electorate’s former Parliamentary representatives Mr Ernie Bridge.

“I fear for the effects this development will have on the local pastoral industry and on the water supply of nearby communities and towns.

“In a cruel coincidence, this announcement by Minister Burke comes less than a day after the ABC 4 Corners report which revealed the flawed process by which other Australian governments permitted the gas fracking projects which have led to a drastic diminution of water quality and quantity to regional areas in the eastern states. 

“We don’t want another situation to develop whereby it takes a courageous whistle-blower to reveal the folly of those entrusted with the protection of our environment – yet this decision, and its equally flawed State Government pronouncement last year, has led us to just that point”, concluded Mr Chapple.

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