Oakajee Uranium Export Report Exposes Industry, Liberal Dishonesty

26th March 2010 - An admission that the Oakajee port development could be used to export yellowcake destroys uranium industry assurances that the radioactive ore would not be exported via WA, the Greens said today.

Greens MLC Robin Chapple said that as recently as two days ago he had been told by BHP Billiton Uranium, that export from Oakajee was not on the cards.

“I attended a BHP briefing on the Yeelirrie project on March 24 in which I was provided with a BHP document explicitly stating that ‘no WA ports’ will be used for exporting yellowcake.   I then pressed the matter with BHP and they refused to explicitly state what was said in the document,” Mr. Chapple said.

“Today we have the head of the Oakajee consortium trumpeting that uranium export could well be part of the port’s future.”

Mr. Chapple was commenting on a Thursday, 25 March report in The West Australian regarding the minerals most likely to be exported via Oakajee.

“Yeelirrie is the richest source of yellowcake currently known in the Mid West – it is highly likely to factor into any future export of yellowcake through Oakajee.  The ‘no WA ports’ statement may end up to be an embarrassment for BHP in the future.”

Mr. Chapple said that the briefing document in question was marked ‘Government Briefing.’

“Once again we see the ambiguity and outright contradiction that is characteristic of the uranium industry even when dealing with a sympathetic government.”

“The public – and the government – deserve more honesty when it comes to how a highly dangerous substance is handled in this State.”

Mr Chapple said that the Greens continued to oppose all efforts to mine and export uranium in Western Australia. He pointed to the 2001 Mid West Minerals Study preliminary proposal – commissioned by the Court Government and chaired by a former Federal Liberal MP – that identified uranium ore as a potential export via the Oakajee development.

“The Liberals have been sitting on this possibility for years but the Premier made an election commitment not to export uranium from WA ports.”

“The Barnett Government needs to lift its game when it came to ensuring that yellowcake ore is never, ever exported through Western Australian ports.”

  •  Media Contact: Robin Chapple on 0409 379 263 or 9486 8255
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