ACTING Minister for Mineral Resources Development Michael Atkinson said the South Australian Government imposes stringent environmental conditions on all exploration and mining tenements.
“As each exploration and mining proposal and the area they cover are unique, they are scrutinised case-by-case to take into consideration the local character and to ensure appropriate levels of consultation with interested parties,” Atkinson says.
“As part of this case-by-case assessment process, applications for exploration or mining activities that fall within reserves and other areas of high environmental sensitivity are required to respect the unique character of that area.
“Applications must include comprehensive environmental management and rehabilitation plans and respond to any specific concerns raised by interest parties as part of an open and transparent consultative process before they will be considered for approval by the Minister.
The Northern Flinders Ranges surrounding Arkaroola have been known for decades to be rich in low-grade uranium minerals.
Major companies ExOil in the 1960s and C.R.A., now Rio Tinto, in the 1990s explored the region defining the Mount Gee uranium mineralisation.
There has been consistent exploration in the area ever since.
“Senator Nick Minchin had 11 years in government and the ear of Prime Minister John Howard but at no time did he or the Liberal-National coalition propose a blanket ban on mining and exploration in environmentally sensitive areas,” Atkinson says.
“Yet now he is in Opposition we are expected to believe that Senator Minchin is a born-again environmentalist.
“The State Government has tightly regulated all exploration at Arkaroola, and this is reflected in the unique landscape values not being compromised.”