Click here to download an ‘Alternative Annual Report’ report from the WA Conservation Council about Toro’s unacceptable behaviour and problems with the plan to mine uranium at Wiluna in the WA Goldfields.
Lots of great information at the www.toro.org.au ‘Toro Watch’ website set up by the WA Conservation Council.
Toro Energy is promoting dangeous junk science by sponsoring speaking tours by frienge scientists who claim that low-level radiation is harmlesss. Fourty-five doctors have signed a protest statement. Not one doctor has defended Toro’s disgraceful beahviour. For more information see http://mapw.org.au/news/mapw-urges-mining-company-halt-junk-science-promotion
TORO Appeal – no uranium mining in WA!
Please take a minute to watch the video EPA appeal from Mr Glen Cooke in Wiluna and please forward to your friends. Thanks to Curtis Taylor for filming and editing and the Hon Robin Chapple for footage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=irUAizV1f7w
It is really important that people continue to write to the EPA and to the Environmental Minister separate from the appeals process.
Send a message to State Environment Minister Bill Marmion and Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, letting them know that West Australians say no to the Wiluna uranium mine proposal at Lake Way and don’t want to give the nuclear industry the chance to weasel their way into our state.
More info: http://ccwa.org.au/saynototoro
Sign the online charter saying no to uranium mining in Western Australia
Locals, NGOs take aim at uranium hopeful
May 28 2012, Rebecca Le May
Toro Energy has rejected claims it did not consult widely enough about its planned uranium mine in Western Australia, but concedes it has sponsored a scientist who argues low level radiation is beneficial to health.
The state’s Environmental Protection Authority last week backed Toro’s proposal to develop WA’s first uranium mine, the Wiluna project.
All that remains for the mine to go ahead is a positive decision to proceed by the company’s board, and approval by state Environment Minister Bill Marmion and his federal counterpart Tony Burke.
On Monday, Wiluna local and indigenous elder Glen Cooke said he was critical of the community consultation process undertaken by Toro and now sought consultation from the environment ministers.
Mr Cooke said he was supported by other locals.
“Marmion and Burke will be making a big decision that will affect our community, our dreaming and our health,” Mr Cooke said in a statement issued by the WA Nuclear Free Alliance.
“Before they make a decision on what happens in our community, before signing away our country from many thousands of kilometres away they should come and look us in the eyes.”
Vanessa Guthrie, executive general manager of the Wiluna project, said the company had begun the community consultation process about three years ago and had always followed the instructions of Central Desert Native Title Services, the representative body selected by local native title claimants.
Toro has been criticised for holding an information day on the same day as the funeral of a prominent indigenous elder, which resulted in only a handful of people attending.
Dr Guthrie said advertising for the information day started a fortnight prior, whereas the date for the funeral was set a few days beforehand.
“We had made a commitment to all of the local community, not just the traditional owners, at that point so we still felt compelled to run the event,” Dr Guthrie told AAP.
“But on the day that we held a second information day specifically for traditional owners, we didn’t get a huge amount of negative feedback.
“The conflict of timing (on the first occasion) was unfortunately unavoidable.”
Also on Monday, the Medical Association for Prevention of War took aim at Toro for supporting Canadian scientist Doug Boreham, who argues low level radiation is beneficial for health.
“This is entirely contrary to accepted evidence,” the association’s vice president Margaret Beavis said in a statement.
Dr Guthrie said Toro had not taken a position on the issue and was simply encouraging “robust scientific debate across the spectrum”.
“We’ve actually supported different views, scientific views, about the health effects of radiation,” she said.
“Doug Boreham is one of those but is not the only scientist that we support or have supported in the past in terms of sponsorship to conferences and paying for attendance at local Australian science conferences.”
MAPW Media release:
28 May 2012
At this afternoon’s Oz Minerals AGM, the Board will be asked to give undertakings to stop Toro Energy continuing to promote deliberately misleading science, by claiming low levels of radiation are good for health. Toro Energy is 40% owned by Oz Minerals.
Toro plans to mine uranium at Wiluna in WA. The company has paid for at least three speaking tours by controversial Canadian scientist Doug Boreham, who argues low level radiation is beneficial to health.
“This is entirely contrary to accepted evidence.” said GP Dr Margaret Beavis, Vice President of the Medical Association for Prevention of War. “There is no “safe” lower threshold.”
Reports in 2003 from the US National Academy of Science, in 2006 from the Committee for the Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation and then again in 2010 from the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation all confirm the “Linear No Threshold “model, where radiation is clearly harmful at low levels.
The recent report on 86,000 Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors in fact highlights that low levels of radiation increase cancer rates, and has heightened concerns about the effects of low level radiation.
Dr Beavis will tell the AGM that:
“Not only has Toro paid for three visits by Canadian scientist Dr Doug Boreham, we are told they have also used him for employee radiation training. If so, they are not only misleading the public and their shareholders, but are also potentially putting the health and safety of their workers at risk.”
“Miners are unlikely to take essential protective measures seriously if they believe radiation is good for their health. Uranium miners have significantly higher rates of lung cancer due to radon gas exposure. If Toro is promoting this junk science to employees then Toro may well be breaching its duty of care to its workforce.”
Appeals lodged against first WA uranium mine
June 7, 2012 – 12:28PM
Several appeals against the environmental approval for WA’s first uranium mine have been official lodged.
In a landmark decision, the state’s independent Environmental Protection Authority last month approved mining company Toro’s $280 million project to mine uranium near Wiluna in the South-West.
The environmental watchdog said Toro’s proposal had been rigorously evaluated and could meet the authority’s environmental objectives.
However last night, the Conservation Council of WA lodged an appeal claiming the EPA’s decision contained numerous “critical deficiencies”.
Aboriginal elder and Wiluna resident Glen Cooke also lodged a separate challenge.
The appeals will be heard by an appeal convenor and considered by the Minister for Environment Bill Marmion, in line with the EPA decision.
The state government is yet to make a final decision on the project.
CCWA director Piers Verstegen claimed the EPA had failed to properly assess the proposal before approving it.
“Importantly, the state government has made commitments to ‘world’s best practice’ regulation of uranium mining in WA, but their own independent report has found that the current system fails that test,” CCWA director Piers Verstegen said.
“We do not believe that the EPA assessment adequately deals with critical environmental risks including the management of radioactive mine tailings, contamination of groundwater and the transport of radioactive material through WA communities.”
CCWA also claims there was a denial of procedural fairness and the EPA failured to comply with their own procedures during the assessment process.
“West Australians rely on the EPA to prevent environmental harm, yet they have recommended approval for mining and transporting one of the most dangerous materials known to exist by a junior minerals exploration company that has never successfully mined anything and have not completed all necessary environmental management plans,” Mr Verstegen said.
“The issues we have seen with the transport of lead through Esperance and Fremantle clearly show the failure to properly manage the risks of even this relatively benign product.
“Given this experience West Australian’s have little confidence that far more dangerous materials like uranium will be handled and transported safely. These concerns are echoed by conservation groups in Alice Springs and Darwin.”
The state government overturned a ban on uranium mining, put in place by the former Labor government, when it came into power in 2008.
However there remained uncertainty over the likelihood of projects getting off the ground until Labor changed its long-held ban on uranium mining when Mark McGowan took over the leadership in January.
The opposition now opposes any new mine but has said it would not close down any mine that already had government approval.
The Toro project still requires final state government approval, which is expected.