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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
1 February 2001
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has decided that before he can make a final decision on the Honeymoon uranium mine proposal further detailed information is required on the hydrology of the Honeymoon aquifers.
In particular, Senator Hill is requiring further evaluation of aquifers (layers of sand that hold saline water and the uranium ore) before Commonwealth approvals are given.
"The testing of aquifer boundaries, their associated groundwater chemistry, and the effectiveness of monitoring wells will provide the information needed to determine whether approval can be given," Senator Hill said.
Senator Hill said he was unable to recommend approval of the Honeymoon uranium mine proposal on the basis of information provided in the final environmental impact study as related to the preferred disposal option.
The company proposes to dispose of waste by re-injection to the mining aquifer - the aquifer is essentially an unbounded system.
"I must be confident about the characteristics of any subsequent migration of re-injected waste and that detrimental environmental consequences will not occur," Senator Hill said.
"This will require further testing of aquifer boundaries, their associated ground water chemistry and the effectiveness of monitoring wells."
The terms of reference for the additional required work will be determined by Environment Australia in conjunction with the South Australian department of mines.
Senator Hill has accepted departmental advice that other environmental issues, such as the method of mining and the production process, were adequately addressed by the environmental impact study process.
Senator Hill will make a final recommendation once the additional information required has been received.
Thursday, February 1 2001
Media contact: Belinda Huppatz 08 8237 7920 or 0419 258364