May 14, 2010


This is Mt Gee on the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the northern Flinders Ranges.

The AWU, Australian Workers Union is keen that Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges be opened up to mining.

The union has made one of about 450 submissions to the South Australian Government on a management plan for the area.

It was developed after exploration company Marathon Resources was caught out for illegally dumping exploration waste in the area in 2007.

In its submission, union official Paul Howes says Arkaroola has Australia's fifth-largest undeveloped uranium deposit.

He says companies that are able to mine responsibly and sustainably should be allowed to do so, as mining at Arkaroola would create more investment and jobs in South Australia.

SA Greens MP Mark Parnell wants the Government to opt for a complete mining ban.

"Really it is one of the jewels in our crown and mining companies have no place there," he said.

Conservation groups, tourism operators and local government have put submissions urging against mining in the wilderness zone.

SA Liberal Senator Nick Minchin has long been an opponent of any mining at Arkaroola, saying it would destroy the sanctuary.

"I think it'll actually do enormous damage to the reputation of the mining industry in South Australia if there is any attempt to create a mine at one of the most precious and natural and magnificent sites that we have in the whole of Australia," he said.

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