Radiation danger denied

Radiation danger denied

06/May/2011

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RADIOACTIVE material will not be trucked through Kwinana, according to State Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore, after claims by a WA Greens politician last week.

Mining and Pastoral Region MLC Robin Chapple said he had concerns over the proposed shipment of rare earth product from Lynas’ Mount Weld mine through Kwinana to Fremantle.

He said the material could contain thorium and would be shipped in sealed bags, similar to the method used by controversial lead mining company Magellan Metals.

“I would think that people living along the transport route and the Kwinana community would have something to say about a radioactive substance being shipped through their communities in this manner,” he said.

In response to questions by Mr Chapple in Parliament last month, Mr Moore said the material was not classified radioactive under the International Atomic Energy Agency Regulations or classified as dangerous goods under Australian standards.

“I am advised that the concentration of isotopes in this material is below the level required for it to be classified radioactive,” he said.

Mr Moore said the method of transport proposed by the company was by road train in 2.5-tonne sealed, woven bulk bags packed into shipping containers.

A spokesman for Mr Moore said the exact route through the metropolitan region to Fremantle did not need to be specified by the company.

Lynas spokesman Matthew James said the material would be transported along major road routes suitable for B-double trucks to Bibra Lake or Forrestfield, and then to Fremantle.

“Lynas will not be transporting any material that is classified as radioactive… rare earth concentrate produced at Mount Weld is expected to contain just 0.17 per cent thorium oxide, ,” he said.

Kwinana MLA Roger Cook said his understanding was thorium fell between lead and uranium in terms of radioactivity and should not be transported on any Kwinana or metropolitan roads.

“It is still not appropriate to be shipped through populated areas and the only contemplation should be sending it through industrial ports like South Australia or Northern Territory,” he said.

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