May Day: Stop the Olympic Dam Uranium Mine Expansion

On May 1, BHP Billiton will release the Environmental Impact Statement for its planned expansion of the Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs) uranium/copper mine in SA. Come along to this May Day protest to voice your opposition.

Protest at BHP Billiton office
Friday, May 1, 11am to 1pm
180 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

On May 1, BHP Billiton will release the Environmental Impact Statement for its planned expansion of the Olympic Dam (Roxby Downs) uranium/copper mine in SA. Come along to this May Day protest to voice you're opposition.

* The mine operates under the SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act which exempts it from key environmental and Aboriginal heritage laws that apply everywhere else in SA.

* BHP Billiton plans to make Olympic Dam the largest open-cut mine in the world. Export of uranium is expected to increase from an average of 4,000 tonnes per year to 19,000 tonnes. In power reactors, that amount of uranium would produce enough plutonium to build 2,850 nuclear weapons each year.

* The production of radioactive tailings will increase seven-fold to 70 million tonnes annually. The tailings contain a toxic, acidic soup of radionuclides and heavy metals. There have been numerous spills and leaks and large numbers of bird deaths have been recorded in the vicinity of tailings dams.

* BHP Billiton proposes an increase in water consumption from 35 million litres daily (from the Great Artesian Basin) to 150 million litres daily (up to 42 million litres from the Great Artesian Basin, the remainder from a proposed desalination plant at Port Bonython). That's over 100,000 litres every minute - in the driest state in the driest continent. The water take from the Great Artesian Basin has had adverse impacts on the precious Mound Springs.

Please visit the Friends of the Earth (FoE) website for information on the campaign to stop the Olympic Dam mine expansion: <www.foe.org.au/anti-nuclear>. There will be protests in a number of Australian cities during the May-August public 'consultation' period for the Environmental Impact Statement. FoE will also be asking people to put in submissions responding to the draft EIS.

FoE is also supporting the efforts of BHP Shareholders for Social Responsibility to have a resolution debated at the BHP Billiton Annual General Meeting in November 2009 calling on the company to improve its environmental and social performance - if you can assist, contact FoE's Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Campaign <ace@foe.org.au>, ph (03) 9419 8700.