Last update:
2021-12-10

Kintyre Uranium Mine, Australia

Members of the Martu community embarked on a week-long march to protest against Kintyre uranium mine, walking 110 kms to the site.



Description:

The project is located at the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the East Pilbara region of Australia [6]. Uranium was first discovered in the area by Rio Tinto Exploration in 1985, where the company found another eight deposits at Kintyre. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Kintyre Uranium Mine, Australia
Country:Australia
State or province:Western Australia
Location of conflict:East Pilbara (near Telfer)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Nuclear
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Uranium extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Uranium
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Kintyre mine is an open pit uranium mine and is currently at an advanced stage exploration phase. The mine has estimated resource shares of 53.5 million lbs of uranium concentrates. The project is to include a range of facilities including a processing plant, waste-rock dump and tailings storage facility, and an airstrip. There is currently no work taking place at the Kintyre mine, as the company awaits improved market conditions for uranium. [5,6].

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Project area:15,100
Level of Investment for the conflictive project495,000,000.00
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:1,000
Start of the conflict:1985
Company names or state enterprises:Cameco from Canada
Mitsubishi Corporation from Japan
Relevant government actors:-Western Deserts Land Aboriginal Corporation ( WDLAC).
-Western Australian Government
-Federal Government
- Federal Minister for the Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:-Martu Traditional Owners:
https://www.kj.org.au/
-Western Australia Conservation Council:
https://www.ccwa.org.au/
-Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance:
https://wanfa.org.au/
-Green Left Australia:
https://www.greenleft.org.au/
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Martu Traditional Owners
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Project temporarily suspended
Proposal and development of alternatives:According to Green Left Australia, grassroots groups are pushing for policy change to include the increased use of renewable energies. According to Geoscience Australia, the Western Desert has an excellent capacity to generate solar and geothermal energy which would enable powering the domestic energy supply, decreasing the need for nuclear produced energies [8].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Environmental justice was not served here because there is no mention of Cameco taking into consideration the opposition expressed by Martu Traditional Owners or environmental organisations against the mine, and the mine is planned to go ahead once market conditions improve.
Sources & Materials

[1] Kintyre uranium deposit, Australian Nuclear and Uranium Sites, Jim, 1/4/12.
[click to view]

[2] Uranium Minefield: Middle Men Are Bleeding Aboriginal Land Dry, Vice, Jack Kallil, 11/5/15.
[click to view]

[3] Cameco violates Australian Aboriginal lands, censored news, Brenda Norrell, 22/10/09
[click to view]

[4] Federal approval granted for Cameco to develop Kintyre uranium mine in Pilbara, ABC News, Tyne McConnon and Ebonnie Spriggs, 24/4/15.
[click to view]

[5] Martu people leave on 110km march in protest against Pilbara uranium mine, ABC News, Angus Sargent, 4/6/16.
[click to view]

[6] Kintyre, Cameco Corp, no author, 2021.
[click to view]

[7] Pilbara uranium mine: Minister dismisses concerns over environmental approval, ABC News, 6/3/15.
[click to view]

[8] Fighting uranium mining in WA Aboriginal communities. Green Left, Simona Galimberti, July 17 2015.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ciara Leonard, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Last update10/12/2021
Conflict ID:5712
Comments
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