To the Board and Shareholders of Cameco.
Re: Proposed uranium mines at Kintyre and Yeelirrie, Western Australia
This is a joint statement from two different Aboriginal communities in West Australia. Martu from around the proposed Cameco and Mitsubishi Kintyre uranium mine and Traditional Owners from around the proposed Cameco Yeelirrie uranium mine.
We have a lot in common; both our Martu Old people and the Old people from Yeelirrie have fought against uranium mining and won. Now we are faced with new threats from your company. Our old people stopped Kintyre and our old people stopped Yeelirrie. Now your company is coming and trying to mine these two places. You can’t reverse what the Old people have said before.
That’s what we’re saying today. No, to mining at Kintyre and Yeelirrie.
Uranium must remain under the ground, safe in the earth. Nobody should disturb that earth because it will bring a lot of destruction. That uranium belongs to that place, underground. If you dig it up the country will be ruined, make the country no good.
Martu people said Kintyre is the area we go camping and hunting all the time, it is our short cut to visit family in Punmu. You don’t understand but our water in that country is connected, from the surface to underground. You can’t mess with that.
Traditional Owners from Yeelirrie said Yeelirrie is a big dreaming for the Seven Sisters that’s why we don’t want that area to be mined. It will poison all the animals. Plants and trees will die. People will get sick. We don’t want uranium coming through Leonora through our town and community. Other Traditional Owners said in our language Yeelirrie means place of death (mourning), we cannot disturb that place; we can’t even go there. If that uranium is dug up, if that goes somewhere overseas and makes a mess, if other people get sick that’s a problem for us because that’s our country that could be doing those things. All life will mourn and face death if uranium from Yeelirrie is dug out. Traditional owners say it will disturb the land and the paleo-channels – where we get out water from the ground.
You can talk about these mines but that country at Kintyre and Yeelirrie will stay how it is. We are going to stop any mining. It is too important for us. Our Old people are less but we have more young people being born. We have to look after them. We are talking up for our country. We have not and we will not give you permission to come on the land.
* Old people = Ancestors/ previous generation
From Traditional Owners in Leonora and Parnngurr communities, Western Australia.