A group carrying out research into salinity in the Western Australian wheatbelt has stumbled on unusually high concentrations of uranium in the local groundwater.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration made the discovery and has now received financial support from two hopeful junior exploration companies. The centre's chief executive officer, Steve Rogers, says while uranium mining remains under a State Government ban, mining companies are still keen for clues to potential deposits.
Dr Rogers says apart from the mining potential, the find has broken new scientific ground."We compared them to a database from the United States Geological Survey and the concentrations we see are higher than anything that anybody has ever seen in the United States, remembering that these are concentrations of uranium that are actually dissolved in water," he said. "So this is very exciting from our point of view."
- The Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Environments and Mineral Exploration is established, regulated and mostly funded by government. Why is public money going towards exploring for a mineral that would be illegal to mine?
- How is finding high levels of a highly toxic radioactive substance in water in an important agricultural area that produces a lot of our food ‘exciting’? Particularly when that substance is suspected of causing renal damage when dissolved in water sources.
- What does the excitement and funding from exploration companies say about the attitude of the mining companies and government bodies that make up the CRC to Australia’s laws? Is their attitude that those laws can be changed to suit them if the right pressure is applied?