Well, we got some good news, and some not-so-good news.
The not-so-good news is that yesterday a Canadian company, Cameco, bought the Yeelirrie mining lease from BHP Billiton for $430 million. Quite a price to pay if they have no intention of developing it. Yeelirrie is the largest known uranium deposit in WA.
Check out http://nuclearfree.wordpress.com/media/ and http://ccwa.org.au/media/yeelirrie-sale-sparks-renewed-community-opposition-uranium-mining-wa for some statements from the West Australian Nuclear Free Alliance and Traditional owners about this takeover.
As is reinforced in these articles, the good news is the community here near Yeelirrie has successfully fought to stop uranium mining at this site for over forty years now. It feels good to be a part of the Walkatjurra Walkabout which is physically walking this land and meeting with the locals here to show our support to their resistance to these mining companies. They are not alone in their fight so it is good to be here with them when they get this news. It is inspiring and strengthening to remember our past. The odds have been stacked against this community before with manipulative and strong pushes from mining companies to dig up this land here, but the community has fought back with perseverance and creativity to safeguard this place for many years. That history inspires us. This news of Cameco buying the mining lease only reinvigorates our passion and revives our deep sense of purpose as to why we are here.
So, even the not-so-good news is good news. Bad investment Cameco, you’d better watch your share-prices plummet as we build the movement to shake any confidence of a social license to operate.
The real good news is that we are joined by more of the Walkatjurra Rangers late last night! More elders sitting on country with us, young Rangers arriving and the energy in the group is high. Delicious banana pancakes were made on the fire for breakfast – pretty lush! And we even got an opportunity to give a few of our essential clothes a wash!
This afternoon, once it cools down a bit, we will be separating into a women’s group and men’s group, and will be guided to a few near-by places by some of the Rangers. Looking forward to spending time with them in the bush – feel very privileged to have them share some of their knowledge with us. Also can’t wait to sit around the campfire with them tonight – finding quite spaces between the moonlight (almost a full moon now!), the stars and the flickering of the campfire to let their words and stories soak in.