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PerthNow (Australia)

Uranium Protesters Descend on Global Uranium Conference

by
Narelle Towie

URANIUM STOUSH: Anti-nuclear protesters picket in front of the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle. (Picture credit: Conservation Council of WA)

ANTI-URANIUM protesters have rallied in Fremantle this morning throwing yellow sand as international delegates arrive for uranium talks.
More than 120 people converged on the doorstep of the Global Uranium Conference, throwing dyed yellow sand - representing yellow cake or uranium concentrate - and demanding BHP's proposed $17 million Yeelirrie mine be scrapped.

Ban Uranium Mining Permanently campaigner Kate Vallentine said the protesters want to make it clear that uranium is too dangerous, too dirty and too risky.

"The WA public has been left out in the cold while government and industry have taken it upon themselves to bulldoze over public opinion at the largest uranium conference in Australia," Ms Vallentine said.

"They are making decisions that put our health and environment in jeopardy with future generations footing the bill for the radioactive waste left behind."

Among the protesters was shadow environment minister Sally Talbot, Noongar elders, conservation groups, union members, families and the clown army.

Alongside those who are against uranium mining altogether, the Conservation Council of WA are demanding a 30-year-old Act governing uranium mining in WA be overhauled.

The Yeelirrie agreement was ratified in 1978 and Dave Sweeney, from the Australia Conservation Council, says newer processes must be legally put in place to better safeguard WA.

"We have learnt a lot from the experience of uranium mining elsewhere. So before WA gets committed to a course of action that has very profound effects there needs to be the highest level of assessment, the highest level is a public inquiry," Mr Sweeney said.

Conservation Council spokeswoman Natalie Lowrey said visitors to today's conference from Peru took a special interest in the march, taking pictures and talking to protesters.

The Global Uranium Conference runs until 5pm Thursday.

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