Beverly Uranium Mine
Reporter: Mark Horstman
Producer: Mark Horstman, Paul Costello
Researcher: Mark Horstman
Camera: Susan Lumsdon
Sound: Lauren Howard
Editor: Chris Spurr
17 May 2007
Australiaâ€™s uranium reserves are the largest in the world. Some of our most common uranium deposits are crusted around sandstone, often beneath the water table.
If the ore deposits are sandwiched between impermeable layers, and porous enough to allow water to flow through, then the uranium can be removed using a technique called In-Situ Leaching (ISL).
While mine operators say it is a safer way to recover uranium because it needs no big holes in the ground and no toxic tailings dams, opponents of uranium mining claim it turns underground water into nuclear waste dumps.
Currently the Beverley uranium mine near the Flinders Ranges in South Australia is the only one in the country using ISL technology. With at least another eight ISL mines on the drawing board, Catalyst examines the pros and cons.