On October 5 a community protest gathering of over 300 people was held in Alice Springs to voice opposition and outrage at the Northern Territory government’s consent to uranium exploration of the Angela and Pamela deposits.
A license was granted to a Cameco-Paladin joint venture to explore for uranium only 25 kilometres from Alice Springs.
Angela Pamela is not only recognised as an area of national conservation and biodiversity significance but is also located within the boundary of the catchment area that supplies water for multiple uses in the region.
The Angela and Pamela deposits were released from “reservation of occupation” in March this year and since that time a strong community campaign has placed pressure on local, Territory and federal politicians to reject the proposal.
The 300-strong demonstration came on the heels of a snap action outside the NT chief minister’s office two days earlier, called as an immediate response to the Territory government’s announcement.
Speakers at the demonstration highlighted both the environmental and social consequences of the mining of uranium but also the dangers of the exploration process itself.
Exploration activity can lead to increased exposure to radon gas, which is known to pose serious health risks, including increased risk of cancer.
From the demonstration arose a strong affirmation from the crowd to continue building the campaign to overturn the licence.
A set of resolutions was passed by the rally which demanded the government revoke the licence, return the areas to “reservation from occupation” and convene a meeting for the Alice Springs community.
The people gathered also strongly resolved to take on-site direct action if uranium exploration goes ahead.
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By Jasmine Ali and Nat Wasley