- reiterates call to remove uranium mining from being listed as a Matter of National
Environmental Significance 9NES) in the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
- doesn’t want to have any involvement in storage or disposal of nuclear waste.
BHP Billiton Submission to Royal Commission http://nuclearrc.sa.gov.au/app/uploads/2015/11/BHP-Billiton-03-08-2015.pdf
EXTRACT “Management, Storage and Disposal of Nuclear and Radioactive Waste BHP Billiton’s experience with radioactive waste management and storage at Olympic Dam is limited to the storage of tailings and other low level contaminated materials generated during the treatment of ore……
Tailings storage and management is common in mining operations throughout the world, and in this respect the management of tailings at Olympic Dam is no different to that of other BHP Billiton operations not involving uranium (e.g. copper or nickel), or indeed other mining operations worldwide.
Given this similarity, the demonstrated level of environmental management and the low level of radioactivity involved, the treatment of tailings from uranium operations should be considered as akin to that of other metal mining operations. Correspondingly, it does not warrant being considered a matter of national environmental significance that triggers the requirements of the EPBC Act. BHP
Billiton does not handle or manage intermediate and high-level radioactive wastes. Nevertheless we understand that current thinking is toward long term storage rather than disposal, as it is foreseeable that the contained energy may be able to be harnessed in the future.
Irrespective of whether storage or disposal is preferred, BHP Billiton considers that either option would be inconsistent with our core business of mining and the production of high quality copper and associated by-products at Olympic Dam.