[08.10.2013] We representatives of civil society organisations gathered here in the multi–stakeholder conference “Uranium Mining – Impact on Health and Environment” have prepared a statement highlighting our concerns on the uranium industry.
We stress that uranium is a toxic heavy metal and together with its decay products emits radioactivity.
We recognise that, uranium may do harm to the health of people living close to its presence even if it is left in the ground.
We further recognize that, whenever and however it is brought to the surface to be used it poses a great danger to human beings, the land and future generations.
We note that uranium has to be left in the ground, because once on the surface it is spread in the soil, water, air and the human body.
We also note that once the uranium mining is over, the land is destroyed and can never be fully rehabilitated
We are also concerned that uranium mining is technically very difficult, even in technologically and highly developed countries like the USA, Canada, Australia and Germany.
We are further concerned that the whole destructive nuclear fuel chain damages human health, affects communities and contaminates the environment.
We observe that uranium mining does not deliver the fruits of development but instead sets back national development through saddling governments with the costs of waste disposal, environmental rehabilitation, compensation, and the health of its people.
We recall that there is a long history of extracting resources from colonies, indigenous people and occupied countries.
We recognise that the revenues go to the exploiting countries and companies and the burden of waste and destruction is left to the exploited.
Uranium mining sets back sustainable development.
Therefore we recommend that:
Governments reject uranium mining and instead insist on the need for fair trading conditions with fair prices and technological support for renewable energies and sustainable production.
The issue of energy is important in most African countries. Even in those countries where uranium is exploited, solar energy is a much better option than uranium!
Governments should recognise that the use of uranium to build weapons is no way to guarantee the safety of a state. Good diplomatic relations with other countries, the use of civil conflict resolution and social justice make a country a safer place to live.
The Government of Tanzania should critically review the issuing of licenses and stop the extraction of uranium in the country, and lay down sustainable development strategies relying on renewable energy sources for a better ecological and economic future!
Signed in Dar-es-Salaam, 5 October 2013