The war in Ukraine is a reminder that all nuclear facilities can be weaponised against people and that nuclear weapons are not a ‘deterrent’. Instead, these illegal weapons of mass destruction are used in war to threaten and intimidate and prevent support for smaller non- nuclear states.
Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine who have already suffered at the hands of war and in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. We are watching and we see Russia take control of nuclear facilities and threaten countries with the use of nuclear weapons and we are reminded of why we have fought for so long to keep uranium safe in the ground.
We do not want our country being used in weapons to destroy other people’s country and lives. We do not want a mineral from our country fuelling reactors and waste facilities which can be weaponised against civilians in war.
We send our support to Ukraine and stand in solidarity with people world-wide for a safe, nuclear-free and peaceful future.
Today Traditional Owners of the Yeelirrie area are celebrating the expiry of the environmental approval to mine this significant area. The approval to mine Yeelirrie had a condition that required the proponent, Cameco, to mine within five years. The approval expired on 20January 2022 with Cameco failing to meet their condition. Traditional Owners have fought against mining at Yeelirrie since the 1970’s when the uranium deposit was identified by Western Mining Corporation.
Kado Muir, Tjiwarl native title holder, Ngalia leader of Walkatjurra Walkabout and Chair of the West Australia Nuclear Free Alliance said “In the last 50 years our community got together, stood up strong and has fought off 3 major multinational corporations. Today we celebrate that Cameco cannot mine at Yeelirrie.”
Shirley Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder said “Mining uranium at Yeelirrie, we’re going to stop it. That’s the story for the Seven Sisters… the old people told me the story for that country.”
Shirley Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder “Our community has come together over this issue and we’ve been clear that mining at Yeelirrie will not happen. That area is important and we have a responsibility to protect that country and keep the uranium where it is. When you stay together and united and you don’t let mining companies push you around you can protect country.
Kado continued “Now we’re calling on the government to not extend approvals to mine at Yeelirrie and to withdraw the approvals entirely. Cameco don’t need another mine but our community needs certainty about the protection of this area.”
Lizzie Wonyabong, Tjupan elder and senior Tjiwarl native title holder “We’ve campaigned so long to stop mining at Yeelirrie because of the Seven Sisters the importance of that area, because of the dangers of uranium when you dig it up and because of the risk of extinction of the stygofauna. It’s time now to put an end to the mining threat at Yeelirrie. Withdraw the approval.”