Greens: Premier fails to take responsibility for radioactive ore as he celebrates Mt Weld

4 August 2011

Greens MLC Robin Chapple calls on the Premier to take responsibility for the radioactive risks of the Mt Weld rare earths mine.

Premier Barnett today announced the “opening” of the Mt Weld rare earths mine.

“The mine has been in operation for some years, and stockpiling the ore. What this opening signals, is the beginning of exports of the radioactive processed ore, through Fremantle Port, and on to Malaysia, said Mr Chapple.
“The rare earths ore is more dangerous than the lead exported by Magellan Metals, but it will be packaged in the same bags, and brought into Fremantle on trucks, with even greater risk of spills. The ore contains thorium, a radioactive substance emitting alpha radiation.

“Given the debacle with lead export, and the government’s failure to uphold regulation, I have serious concerns about the export of radioactive substances through Fremantle Port.

“Malaysian Members of Parliament have been in contact with my office, as they are campaigning against the processing plant in Malaysia which will result in the legacy of radioactive toxic waste in their community.

“Although the Premier refers to the Malaysian facility as “purpose built” it does not yet have regulatory approval to operate, and is strenuously opposed by the local community.  The processing plant has been reviewed by engineers, and the residents have lodged a police complaint about the shonky construction and design faults at the facility.

The Malaysian community representatives will be holding a press conference this evening in response to this announcement.

Comment from the Malaysian spokesperson can be arranged through Ms Lee Tan, ACF Asia Pacific Campaigner, 0417 082 294.

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255


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