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Byron Shire
May 11, 2021

Festival takes on nuclear industry

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The Lizard Bite Back music and arts festival and protest camp kicks off near the Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia this Friday. The ‘protestival’ will include musicians and artists from around the country, mobile artworks, workshops on nuclear issues, and non-violent direct action, say organisers.

The Lizard Bites Back organisers said in a press release that ‘there is strong community opposition to uranium mining and any expansion of the nuclear fuel chain in South Australia, from BHP Billiton’s planned heap leach demonstration plant to current proposals for South Australia to host a nuclear waste dump.

‘The entire nuclear fuel chain from mining to nuclear waste dumps poses unique health and environmental risks that span generations.

‘With South Australia currently facing two proposals for nuclear waste dumps The Lizard Bites Back will re-focus on the source of the problem, highlighting an absurd global situation where we continue to mine a mineral that we cannot dispose of safely, while proposals are again being made to force nuclear waste dumps on communities that do not want them.

‘The Olympic Dam mine itself will also eventually become a dump – in the sense that once it is closed, it will leave millions of tonnes of radioactive tailings on the surface of the land forever.

‘Until the industry and governments stop creating nuclear waste by mining uranium, operating nuclear reactors and making nuclear weapons, why should any community bear the health and environmental risks associated with a nuclear waste dump? The government’s current approach mops up the bathroom floor while the tap is still running.

‘A responsible approach to managing nuclear waste would begin with stopping its production. An environmentally and socially just approach would stop targeting Aboriginal lands as sacrifice zones.’

The Lizard Bites Back event follows on from the Lizards Revenge in July 2012, which mobilised 500 people against the proposed expansion of the mine.

Since then, that proposal has been shelved and the company has been investigating heap leach mining as part of a cheaper expansion plan.

BHP is projected to begin a heap leach trial on the current mining lease by late this year. Even though this technique is not currently used onsite, federal approval of the trial did not require environmental assessment.

The protestival will run entirely on solar and wind power.

See more: https://lizardbitesback.net/

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