14 OCTOBER - PUBLIC SESSIONS - TOPIC 7

Day 11 review:

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission moved to Topic 7 today, seeking information from a range of experts in the field of exploration and mining.

Witnesses from two major mining companies – Heathgate Resources and BHP Billiton – appeared before the Commission, along with three senior officers from the SA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The first witness was geologist Dr Andrea Marsland-Smith, Manager of Regulatory and Compliance with Heathgate Resources (the owner and operator of Beverley and Beverley North uranium mines). Dr Marsland-Smith was also actively involved in the discovery of the Four Mile deposit. Her evidence covered:

  • The circumstances that would make it viable for Heathgate Resources to expand its involvement in exploration and mining in South Australia
  • The environmental risks that arise from extracting uranium using the in-situ recovery technique and the practical measures to manage those risks.

Three senior officers from the Environmental Protection Authority, South Australia’s independent environment protection regulator were called as the next witnesses. Keith Baldry, Daniel Bellifemine and Gabrielle Wigley covered topics such as the legislation concerned with environment protection and community safety. It also covered safeguards and radiation protection, as well as:

  • The involvement of the EPA in managing and monitoring the environmental risks that are associated with in-situ recovery and tailings during mining operations and after decommissioning of mine sites.

The afternoon session looked into greater depth at what would make it viable for BHP Billiton to expand its activities in SA. Asset President at Olympic Dam – the largest known single deposit of uranium in the world – Jacqui McGill, BHP Billiton Ltd gave evidence on:

  • The circumstances that would make it viable for BHP Billiton to expand its involvement in exploration and mining in South Australia
  • The environmental risks that arise from tailings and the practical measures to manage those risks.

Video and transcripts of each session will be uploaded into the Public Sessions archive.

Tomorrow’s Public Session will focus on Topic 8 – Adding value to South Australian Radioactive Materials. Click here for topic and witness lists.