MAC/20: Mines and Communities

ACF urges ASIC action on Kakadu uranium cover-up

Published by MAC on 2005-04-10


ACF urges ASIC action on Kakadu uranium cover-up

Media Release by Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)

10 April 2005

In response to false and misleading statements in the 2004 Annual Report of Kakadu uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has filed a formal complaint with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), asking ASIC to require ERA to publish a correction and to seek civil and criminal penalties against the company.

The complaint outlines ERA's failure to comply with its disclosure obligations under the Corporations Act with respect to breaches of environmental laws. ERA's annual report states that the company operates in accordance with applicable environmental legislation. However, the directors' report fails to mention the notorious uranium contamination events that occurred last year at ERA's Ranger uranium mine, including an incident in March 2004 that resulted in 28 workers falling ill after drinking water contaminated with uranium. ERA is facing criminal charges in May over this and another incident.

"This company has repeatedly shown its inability to comply with environmental legislation, and now it is showing contempt for its obligations under the Corporations Act as well," according to Dave Sweeney, ACF Anti Nuclear Campaigner. "It is deceptive and misleading for a company with such a poor track record to claim to its investors and analysts that it operates in accordance with environmental laws."

This is not the first time ERA has failed to disclose material environmental events in a timely manner. After the March contamination incident, the company didn't make any disclosure to the ASX until six days after the event, even though the disclosure was marked price sensitive.

"It's time for ASIC to take action to ensure that ERA's investors and analysts are given all information they reasonably need to make an informed assessment of the company's operations and prospects, as the law requires. Failing to act against this corporate recidivist would send a very bad message to the business community generally about their disclosure obligations," Mr. Sweeney said.

"ERA have far more success controlling the flow of information to their investors than they do in controlling the flow of radioactive water on their own mine site," he said.

ACF's letter of complaint will be posted on its website www.acfonline.org.au on Monday morning, 11 April 2005.

For media enquiries, please contact

Dave Sweeney
ACF Anti Nuclear Campaigner

Charles Berger
ACF Legal Advisor

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