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Elder continues his fight against Olympic Dam expansion
20/06/2012 - Aboriginal elder Kevin Buzzacott is pushing ahead with his bid to block the giant expansion of the Olympic Dam copper, uranium and gold mine in South Australia after an initial court decision went against him.
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The Federal Court ruled in April that the commonwealth had properly taken into account the long-term impact of the mine, rejecting Buzzacott's argument that federal Environment Minister Tony Burke had not given enough consideration to the risks posed by storage of radioactive tailings at the site in SA's north.
Buzzacott has appealed against the court's decision and a hearing has been scheduled for Thursday.
Grounds for the appeal include an argument that Justice Anthony Besanko was mistaken in ruling that the minister did not need to consider existing conditions imposed by the state government on water extraction for the mine from the Great Artesian Basin.
The Arabunna elder also argues the approval was uncertain because so much of the project was left to be defined by studies and plans that were yet to be completed.
Buzzacott said he was hoping for a "better result this time round".
"We hope that the three judges that will hear the appeal will seriously reconsider Justice Besanko's interpretation of our argument," he said in a statement.
The Olympic Dam expansion is expected to generate up to 6000 new jobs during the 11-year construction phase and a further 4000 operational jobs.
It will become the world's largest open-cut mine, with annual copper production forecast to more than triple to about 750,000 tonnes and uranium oxide production to jump to 19,000 tonnes.
The project is also tipped to create 15,000 indirect jobs in flow-on industries and services.
BHP Billiton is yet to give final approval for the expansion and, under the terms of state government approvals, has until the end of the year to make a decision.
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Les Parsons | 20/06/2012 15:31 1
It is inetersting how many times certain Aboriginals have tried to stop constructions for road, industry and the opportunity for Australia to advance and even offer employment for their own race. Many times their reasons have no grounds, yet we see courts agree with them, so they cannot be declared raciast. Or they are scared of the U.N.
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