Aboriginal women fighting approved uranium mining at the ‘place of death’

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The Morrison government approved a controversial uranium mine in Western Australia the day before the recent federal election was called. Aboriginal women are fighting it in court and seek help with costs.

Veteran anti-nuclear activist Dave Sweeney reported on 11 May: "Environment Minister Melissa Price approved the Yeelirrie uranium mine on April 10, the day before the Prime Minister headed to Government House to call the 2019 Federal Election. Ms Price did not announce the approval via a public release. Instead, two weeks later a notice was placed on the Environment Department’s website, late in the day ahead of the Anzac Day public holiday."

"Adani, Yeelirrie and mining: Our environmental laws are broken," Sweeney comments.

To raise funds Yeelirre communities and the WA Conservation Council supporting them are inviting to a dinner with entertainment at the Food Co-op Shop, Kingley Street, Acton at 6 p.m. on Friday 14 June, entry by donation.

Click here for a video in which one of the women plantiffs explains their cause.

"When governments ignore the laws that are there to protect nature and wildlife, it is up to communities to stand up and hold them to account," writes the Conservation Council WA on its website, referring to an earlier controversial approval of the Yeelirrie proposal by the previous Western Australian government.

More from the website:

Just days before the state election, while the community was fighting to stop bulldozers in the Beeliar Wetlands, the right-of-centre Liberal Barnett Government made another terrible decision with implications for the environment and communities across the state.

Ignoring appeals from Traditional Owners, thousands of community submissions, and the EPA’s own warnings of extinction, the Yeelirrie uranium project was granted approval by former Environment Minister, Albert Jacob.

This calculated decision would prevent the new Labor Government from fulfilling its election mandate to stop Yeelirrie and other uranium proposals from proceeding.

Canadian mining company Cameco is the proponent of the controversial Yeelirrie uranium mine proposal in the Northern Goldfields, on Tjiwarl Native Title lands.

Cameco plans to construct a 9km open mine pit and uranium processing plant. The project would destroy 2421 hectares of native vegetation and generate 36 million tonnes of radioactive mine waste to be stored in open pits.

Environmental approval for the project was eventually granted by previous Environment Minister Albert Jacob against the advice of the EPA, which warned the project would lead to the extinction of several unique species of subterranean fauna. That happened after he had first agreed with the EPA in the formal appeals process.

Tjiwarl Traditional Owners have opposed the mining of the Yeelirrie uranium deposit for over 40 years. The proposal threatens important cultural heritage sites that are part of the Seven Sisters Dreaming songline. Yeelirrie in the local language translates to ‘place of death’.

A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT

The decision made under the previous Government ignores important principles in WA’s environmental protection laws and sets a dangerous precedent for the environment, wildlife, and communities across the state.

The Conservation Council of WA together with three Traditional Owners, represented by the Environmental Defender’s Office, are challenging the environmental approval for Yeelirrie in court today!

We are not taking this step lightly - it is costly and difficult - but we cannot allow a project to go unchallenged when there were legal flaws in the way the approval was granted, and which would knowingly cause the extinction of unique species and set such a dangerous precedent for our environment.

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