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Australia, one of the largest producers of uranium on the planet, has just announced the discovery of a huge deposit that spreads under the Wellington mountain range. Unfortunately this mountain range is also home to some of the oldest and most beautiful aboriginal rock art in the world.
The Canadian mining company Cameco made the discovery which could threaten the wellbeing of thousands of Aboriginal paintings. Archaeologist Professor Paul Tacon warned that the dust and visitors from mining exploration could potentially damage the rock art galleries.
Expanding uranium mines to areas in which rock paintings existed used to be strongly opposed, but the current labour government has softened this stance, based on the fact that they are using China’s massive demand for uranium to power the Australian economy.
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Tony Burke, Australia’s Environment Minister, has stated that as of yet no proposal to mine the uranium has been submitted, and that any submission would be thoroughly scrutinized for any environmental impacts.
The managing director of Cameco Australia, Brian Reilly, also tried to calm any worries by claiming that if any mine were to be opened in the area then his company would work with all stakeholders to protect the environment, culture, and heritage in the region.
In a separate incident, an exploration company owned by Gina Rinehart has announced that it will withdraw two applications to operate exploration projects after Aborigines complained that their rock art galleries would be damaged.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com