Arkaroola Sanctuary:  Uranium Mining OK, but not in our backyard!  

See The Mining and Milling Process and IEER Factsheet | Uranium (below)

Cloud Chamber filled with radioactive particles

Cloud Chamber filled with radioactive particles at the SA Museum

Doug and Margaret Sprigg involved in the ongoing saga, in trying to prevent Marathon Resources mining uranium on their lease on traditional Adnyamathanha land at Arkaroola in the Flinders Ranges, have joined with  Professor Ian and Mrs Maja Sainaish-Plimer in donating private funding to support and promote uranium on traditional aboriginal lands and sacred sites, in conjuntion with sponsorship from Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, Heathgate Resouces, Areva, Pepinini and Petratherm.

The name chosen for the marketing gadget is The Cloud Chamber Project . The device portrays that uranium is harmless and clean, particulary as an end product.

Leading sponsors Arkaroola Sanctuary’s  Marg and Doug Sprigg have included this statement below their sponsorship logo.

“Today one of the largest uranium resources in the world (Olympic Dam) is located in South Australia, and the State is also home to the Beverley Uranium Mine which uses state-of-the-art in-situ leach mining technology…….

Now the time is right for responsible and balanced public education in relation to radioactivity, the uranium fuel cycle and hot rock energy.

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary proudly supports this innovative project at the South Australian Museum“.

Parallel:  pleasant code names  –  Cloud, Kitten, Tims, Vixen, Rats!

On 25 March 2003 Mr Anthony Albanese responded to Ministerial Statements regarding the Maralinga Nuclear Test Sites …..

“It is with a considerable sense of sadness that I respond to the statement of the Minister for Science on the Maralinga Rehabilitation Technical Advisory Committee report, Rehabilitation of former nuclear test sites at Emu and Maralinga.

In 1954, at the height of the Cold War, Prime Minister Menzies agreed to the British request for a permanent site to test nuclear weapons. Seven [?]  atomic bombs were detonated at Maralinga during 1956 and 1957, and a number of trials were undertaken, codenamed with very pleasant names: Kittens, Tims, Rats and Vixen.

This was a political decision by a government that was subservient to the British government, and today there are parallels, with the Australian government being once again subservient to the decisions of a foreign power………the subservience that the Menzies government showed to its British masters had dire consequences for Australia.

The Vixen trials were particularly ruthless, scattering radiotoxic plutonium over the desert to simulate accidental damage done to nuclear weapons from fire, explosion and accidental detonation…….”

All Trials – ARPANSA

The flat transparent Pandora-like box (Cloud Chamber) is filled with gas and radioactive rays (Alpha and Beta) that leave a trail of condensate visible to the human eye in the same way that a high altitude jet leaves a vapour trail in the atmosphere. It safely allows you to see radioactivity in action.

The white tracks in the chamber are from a variety of sources, including cosmic radiation hitting the chamber after travelling through the Earth’s atmosphere, decay of radon gas originating from small quantities of uranium contained in the museum’s walls and radiation from grains of radioactive minerals placed inside the chamber.

A public display of the radiation sample box is at the South Australian Museum


Hazards for miners, water, future when taking uranium from its NATURAL ENVIRONMENT

Uranium Mill Hazards - airborne & water soluble metals and gases
Uranium Mill Hazards – airborne & water soluble metals and gases


The most serious health hazard associated with uranium mining is lung cancer due to inhaling uranium decay products.

Uranium mill tailings contain radioactive materials, notably radium-226, and heavy metals (e.g., manganese and molybdenum) which can leach into groundwater.

Near tailings piles, water samples have shown levels of some contaminants at hundreds of times the [US] government’s acceptable level for drinking water.

Indigenous people and communities are most affected

Mining and milling operations in the U.S. have disproportionately affected indigenous populations around the globe. For example, nearly one third of all mill tailings from abandoned mill operations are on lands of the Navajo nation alone.

Many Native Americans have died of lung cancers linked to their work in uranium mines. Others continue to suffer the effects of land and water contamination due to seepage and spills from tailings piles.

Uranium and associated decay products thorium-230 and radium-226 will remain hazardous for thousands of years. 

Abandoned uranium mine site in US
Abandoned uranium mine site in US

Current U.S. regulations, however, cover a period of 1,000 years for mill tailings and at most 500 years for “low-level” radioactive waste. This means that future generations – far beyond those promised protection by these regulations will likely face significant risks from uranium mining, milling, and processing activities. Source: IEER Factsheet | Uranium  

13 replies »

  1. The Spriggs are part of the uranium story of Australia,

    its a shame there is not another exhibit sponsored by the Spriggs highlighting the insane wastage of water, the horrific damage to indigenous health and deaths following Maralinga and Emu Fields, and the division and danger which follows the Native Title Process –

    Maybe this exhibit could be called the ‘Radon Gas Chamber’ Project and the Spriggs could live in it, showing how beneficial it really is for their health.

  2. They do say “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”.
    In the news today is the present legacy of cancers, and gene mutations and birth deformities among the Maralinga veterans, and their families.

    The High Court ruling in Britain now makes it possible for the surviving veterans to seek legal acknowledgment of the harm done to them 50 years ago by governments who authorised their exposure to ionising radiation.

    It is ironic that also today, we have Australian governments promoting the uranium industry – for possibly fast bucks now for uranium companies, with a legacy of cancers to be faced decades later.

    South Australian premier, Mike Rann, has hypocritically bemoaned the fate of the aboriginal people affected by the Maralinga tests – at the same time going all-out to promote more radioactive exposure to aboriginal communities through uranium mining.

  3. Emotive stuff. A pity they couldn’t have used a more appropriate picture showing one of the many very well rehabilitated uranium mine sites. Interesting references to the incidence of cancer amongst Native Americans. Indigenous peoples tend to have far worse health outcomes across the board with the link to uranium being very tenuous. For example, indigenous peoples in those parts of Australia most likely to be impacted by uranium mining are already at risk of lung cancer from tobacco consumption in addition to the coronary, endocrine and cardiac problems driven largely from poor diet, substance use (in addition to tobacco there’s alcohol, petrol, dope, and kava) and poor hygene.

  4. Ian, your colour preference is showing!

    RE: “indigenous peoples in those parts of Australia most likely to be impacted by uranium mining are already at risk of lung cancer from tobacco consumption in addition to the coronary, endocrine and cardiac problems driven largely from poor diet, substance use (in addition to tobacco there’s alcohol, petrol, dope, and kava) and poor hygene”.

    You seem awefully well versed on genocide methods Ian, however you missed smallpox, ratsack, guns, atomic bombs, kidnapping, murder, slavery, rape and depression outcomes.

    So the legitimate land owners are now in poor health. May as well finish them off with mining waste…is that what we are saying?!!!!

    Perhaps we could turn the clock back a few hundred years and compare the story. That is, before they had to drink and bathe in radioactive water and were hearded into missions, introduced to alcohol, had their identities stolen and land contaminated so they couldn’t return, then deaborginalised. Who is the barbarian here?

    Perhaps you missed some of the links we have seen here on government admissions and “regrets”.

    It’s not just about aborigines now, it’s also about us.

  5. Addressing Ian.

    “indigenous peoples in those parts of Australia most likely to be impacted by uranium mining……. ”

    What parts of Australia is this? We live in Australia, near a uranium mine. Is there something else you can enlighten us on apart from how to finish off the blackfellows or any other inconvenient community?

    If there is definitely impact from uranium mining as you state, then let’s have it up front now that you’ve opened your mouth. The story sounds about right!

  6. What is Radon Gas?

    Radon Gas is a colourless, odourless and tasteless radioactive gas produced by uranium decay that can accumulate in buildings.

    The US Surgeon General called radon gas the second highest cause of lung cancer in the US. In July, 2007, the Canadian government implemented a more stringent radon gas guideline of 200 Bq/m3 .

    In the US, the guideline is 150 Bq/m3. Radon can enter your home from the rock or soil beneath your home, or from the building materials used in your home. It can travel through concrete and has been found in old homes as well as new.

    Residents in areas with known high uranium levels will likely have radon issues.

    A small percentage of radon in your home may come from water.

    Uranium is present everywhere and it is not always obvious which homes will have radon issues. Much depends on how the radon travels….

  7. So NOW is the right time for responsible and balanced public education in relation to radioactivity, the uranium fuel cycle and hot rock energy is it Mrs Tourist Operator come Madame Curie? Everyone is an authority on how WE should live and what we should breath and drink.

    NOW that the stock market has fallen on it’s face due to governments incompetency and greed….

    NOW that all the share holder rorts have been weeded out including the ongoing fascade in the Arkaroola Sanctuary, supported by the many shades of Green….

    There must be a lot of $$ going around here. But you can’t take it with you and your grandchildren will damn you for it.

    The most disappointing is the South Australian Museum with what now appears as major hypocrisy, housing and aiding in marketing the most evil of contaminants and allowing it pride of place in OUR state museum.

  8. Didn’t see this on the Sanctuary Website.

    Uranium Mining in ADVANCED STAGES in the amazing Wilderness Sanctuary. Shares anyone?

    SCIMITAR RESOURCES – Advanced Stages

    Mawson Project, SA. (100%)
    The Mawson Project is comprised of one Exploration Licence (EL 3502) of 88km2 covering part of the prospective Mount Painter Complex, 5km to the south west of the Mt Gee uranium deposit in South Australia.


    Adjacent Mt Gee uranium deposit in South Australia
    Part of the prospective Mount Painter Complex


    The project covers the southern extension of the Mount Painter Complex and the continuation of the Paralana Fault zone.

    Reactivation of this fault is believed to be an important factor in the localisation of the uranium mineralisation at the Mount Gee and Mount Painter breccia hosted uranium deposits held by Marathon Resources Ltd.


    The Mawson deposit Advanced Stages Project in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary (referred to above) is what one might call an ‘unreal’ project.

    After visiting this tourist venue in the past few months I think it would have been blazingly obvious if there was uranium mining activity on a large or advanced scale as advertised on the Scimitar website – (link on previous post).

    Scimitar Resources Ltd held an Exploration Licence for EL 3502 (Mawson in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary) for one year which appears to have expired on 17/1/07. Two and a half years later it is still on the Scimitar website claiming an Advanced Stage Project, when in fact the area has no signs of activity whatsoever.

    Perhaps Pirsa have moved their records to another location, but then the Mawson deposit must have moved also.

    The Scimitar advertising campaign places a lot of weight on Marathon Resources credibility and a deposit at nearby Mount Gee. Has a deposit finally been confirmed at Mount Gee? As it appears not, then why was this never part of the dispute?

    Scimitar Resources was deregistered from the ASX on 5/6/09 after merging with Jackson Minerals and now operate as Cauldron Energy Ltd (CXU).

    With shares trading at $0.355 and flamboyant claims, it seems even more odd.

    One can only speculate if shares have been sold on the Advanced Mawson Project that doesn’t appear to exist. This could be viewed as fairly serious by any investor or even an overseeing department, if one actually does exist.

    If you must buy precarious mining shares in an ever desperate climate, then do your own homework, as YOU, mum and dad shareholder are fair game!

  10. It seems to me there is room for both science, technology, and business – but perhaps in a more harmonious mix. The project describe above is great, and good on the sponsors for learning people about radiation, understanding radiation is important not just for us but future generations.

    But as well all angles should be explored when we are discussing, uranium, nuclear or radiation, there is normally more than one spoke on a wheel.

    Alongside the Cloud Chamber could be a display demonstrating the misguided decisions of past governments and the effects this has had on the indigenous and white populations, not to mention the families that once lived in peace and happiness on the land. And the display should not be contained to past folly but should enable discussion and exchange on intelligent dialogue in conducting business and science, in the world of dirty politics, without creating danger and risk, and threat to local populations and ecologies that are so often paid to stay out of the mix.

    The Spriggs and many other Flinderites are part of the fascinating emergence of an ancient ecology, and the history of radioactive science, all part of the fascinating tapestry of our past.

    The sharemarket and world business should not view this place just to make money, the consequences of that will just add risk and damage to these ancient and spiritual lands, and that is not a worthy mission for any business purporting to make green our electricity or create jobs and yet not measure or be required to discuss, the imminent risks.

    Great article, great thread


    Anthony Albanese’s 2003 heartwrenchiing election year statement, targetting the Liberal Government on the Maralinga massacres is momentarily moving.

    It is a reminder that the Labor party have long forgotten that they only slide into top spot as elected PUBLIC SERVANTS when conning votes out of a country of citizens by alluding to clean policies and fair play.

    There are cleaner policies at any local bar than that of the PUBLIC SERVANTS currently roaming the country with fake consultations in a desperate bid to rid the land of the aborginal race. The blatantly obvious racist policies of our elected PUBLIC SERVANTS is still unselectively wreaking sickness on the WHOLE population and it’s unborn children while the infested lands and waters at Maralinga and beyond continues its long life.

    The gadget above is a clever way to market uranium and an attempt to con the school kids (OUR KIDS) when public opinion (wisdom) proves time and time again that this country does not wish to harnass this filthy life threatening monster.

    Is this the new age of population cleansing where people like the Spriggs who fancy they have some social clout in gloomy circles can offload some of their father’s hard earned legacy in order to ride the wave of the final stages of aboriginal cleansing? A lease runs out at some point, doesn’t it? Smile sweetly and help violate their most sacred oath to protect the people from this poison. Steal their culture then judge them stupid. Throw them a few 4 wheel drives to distract them while you steal from them.

    Do people like the Spriggs with a few public servant and mineral savvy connections think their unqualified words will influence families with cancers of epidemic proportions strongly linked to the cess pool of toxins emanating from the nuclear test site called Australia All Over? .

    These cultural ignoramuses need not attempt to speak for other Australians or try to manipulate what happens on aboriginal lands or in white communities.
    This will come back to bite you as your plan is not watertight. Companies like BHP Billiton have not been told “everything” have they?

    “Arkaroola should never be mined,” purr the Spriggs. Is that a new concept? Absolutely not. “Uranium should never be mined”, say the bloodline to country aboriginal people. And Spriggs live precariously on a lease on Aboriginal lands; hogging and profitting from the lion’s share of the area, while aboriginal people drink the toxic waters leached into their underground streams from all mining companies hogging the rest of their land with more to come… HOT ROCKS. Radioactive Hot Rocks spewing it’s contaminants over the land and it’s people. Any people.

    Port Augusta’s Davenport Community, an aboriginal “mission” is now under threat as radioactive hot rocks are about to be harvested in their backyard. And who has been manipulating legislations imposed on aboriginal lands prior to this announcement to pave the way for this to happen? None other than, the minister for aboriginal affairs.

    Has anyone ever checked what this portfolio actually means and whether it’s ethical or not. These portfolios are flung around haphazzardly to almost anyone in the public service. In reality they all come under one big portfolio and that is Mines and Energy, or greed, lust and profit and “power” for the public service alone using corporate offshore and interstate partners.

    This is not creating JOBS. It’s creating a Labor work force of dispensible robots. Similar to when the Pharoahs built the pyramids using slave labour, however not quite so obvious.

    Only public pressure before an election will bring forth funds to assist in services for the out to pasture, use by date-expired pensioners (YOUR MUM & DAD) and those who are sick and cannot WORK for the public servants while they play out their time in office as self appointed VIPs. The words of their oath to serve the people, vanishes with the bursting bubbles of the celebratory champagne paid for by the same people.

    People of Australia both black and white need to start reading between the lines as massive industry creeps into Port Augusta proving that nothing is sacred. Not even the “little children”.

    Any of us can wake up one morning to find there is a mineral deposit under our family home and the public servants and a mining company have already done a deal on our home. However we too, like the aborigines will be able to get first go at a job on our own property to help put money back into our hands. And who knows maybe a 4 wheel drive thown in and some stubby holders!

  12. That Mawson project is pretty interesting. Read about it a few years ago. Surprised they can get away with that one on the stock exchange, unless it’s a clicky arrangement
    After working with these characters for a few years, the whole thing is pretty much a racket. Amateur shareholders might as well stuff their money in the pokies. There all reading about bulldust no worries.

    It’s a pity about the goverment getting involved as partners with these mobs. It is an addictive business alright.. They’ve got the money bug. Everyone is a bull* artist and they believe each other as well. Half the time there’s never any plan to really mine. They just get money off investors and stuff around.
    They’re all taking short cuts. Big snow job all right. Pity is there stuffing up the land. Wouldn’t mind saying more to support the aborigines as we’ve seen some pretty shocking stuff and heard the talk. I reckon everyone’s getting onto it though. Half the sickness is coming out of the ground, One of the reasons we got out. If the animals are dying then we figure we will too, sooner than later.

  13. I like cloud chambers and geiger counters because they make radioactivity real for people. What happens in cloud chambers also happens in water saturated air in the atmosphere. That is to say , radioactivity effects the weather.

    There is a standing cloud (captive thunderstorm) over the Rum Jungle Uranium Mine, and over Mount Brockman (adjacent to to the Ranger Mine).

    Concern has been expressed about the impact of the radioactive gasses Krypton and Xenon on weather processes. These gases are released from nuclear reactors.

    The idea that nuclear power might be the answer to climate change is just too silly for words.

    Is there a cloud over the tailings dam at Roxby Downs ?

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