My thanks to Tellus Managing Director, Duncan van der Merwe, …

Comment on Salt mine: Alice needs to grasp a major opportunity by Alex Nelson.

My thanks to Tellus Managing Director, Duncan van der Merwe, for his comprehensive reply to comments and concerns expressed on this article; and also to Councillor Steve Brown whose letter to Alice Springs News Online seems to have done more to bring this project to public attention than has occurred before.
There’s a lot of information to take note of here and only limited time left for public comment on the draft EIS.
It is a pleasant change to see the public’s right to know acknowledged rather than the hitherto usual modus operandi of business and government operating on the basis of what they consider to be the public’s need to know.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Salt mine: Alice needs to grasp a major opportunity
Councillor Steve Brown states the proposed Titjikala “salt mine presents a fantastic opportunity for our community” but to my mind his comment piece suggests the Tellus Holdings presentation to the town council has overtones of an ultimatum to Alice Springs.
There are legitimate questions to be raised about the demand for a sealed 120km road from Alice Springs to the mine site to be paid for by taxpayers.
What immediately springs to my mind is why the same conditions haven’t applied to the massive gold mining operations to the northwest of Alice Springs that have been operating since the mid 1980s.
Surely by now there has been sufficient revenue generated from those mines to offset the cost of sealing the Tanami Road?
This was first called for by the new Member for Stuart, Tony Greatorex, as long ago as 1966, yet to this day the often shocking state of this potentially significant highway route to northwest WA is a perennial topic of debate in the media.
By contrast we have the Tableland and Carpentaria Highways (from the Barkly and Stuart Highways respectively) that converge towards Borroloola which were sealed by the Commonwealth in 1967.
This was done in part to assist the development of the massive McArthur River mine site which at the time was intended to include a new port town based on Centre Island with a population of 10,000 (to put that in perspective, the population of Alice Springs at the time was about 7,000).
However, the development of the McArthur River mine was postponed and didn’t proceed until 1995, becoming a FIFO operation and (as things currently stand) will leave little in improvements for the Gulf Region once the mining operation there eventually ends.
But it will almost certainly be leaving a significant environmental legacy to manage inevitably at great expense to the taxpayer.
For any mining operation, either current or prospective, we all need to start seeing a great deal more in return otherwise we’re just allowing ourselves and the country to be ripped off.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Fire threat: Where are the big water bombers?
It seems increasingly unlikely we’re in for a horrendous bushfire summer precisely because of the current drought continuing, following on now from two earlier years of low rainfall.
Recently I compared this year’s rainfall figures from the Alice Springs Airport to 2009, the driest on record.
For the first seven months (January to July) both years were virtually identical with totals of 47.2mm (2009) and 46.8mm (2019) respectively.
However, in August 2009 the airport recorded 13mm while this year it was zero. If there is no rain recorded this month we will be almost 20mm less than at the same time in 2009.
The total rainfall for 2009 was 76.8mm which was 5.3mm less than the previous lowest record of 82.1mm recorded in 1965, some 44 years earlier.
A decade after 2009, we are on track not just to beat the new record but to smash it; and long term forecasts are not encouraging for avoiding it.


Police gets street parking, cops’ private cars in compound
On the odd occasion I walk past the police station vehicle compound in Bath Street, I recognise some private vehicles that previously were parked in Parsons Street outside the old police station.
I used to see these regularly after finishing work at Woolies and walking home that way late each evening.


Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike
Just read a comment piece by ABC North American correspondent James Glenday, who notes: “According to the Gun Violence Archive, 9,418 Americans have died from bullet wounds so far this year. 18,785 have been injured.”
To put that in perspective, more people have been killed and injured in the USA by gun violence up to the end of August than there are residents of Alice Springs.
That’s just this year. We think we’ve got problems?


Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike
I note this book becomes available on September 3, which this year marks the 80th anniversary of the declaration of war by Britain and France (which included Australia) on Nazi Germany following the invasion of Poland that started two days earlier.
In that same month the German Army Weapons Bureau commenced work, and one of its first projects was research into creating a nuclear bomb. German physicist Werner Heisenberg delivered an initial paper on building a workable atom bomb before the year was over.
Albert Einstein, whose equation of E=mc2 lies at the core of nuclear physics, had already warned the US of this research – as did British intelligence – but the warnings were largely ignored until 1941, and the Manhattan Project began shortly after Japan’s attack against Pearl Harbour forced America into the war.
The first nuclear arms race was actually between America and Nazi Germany; the first bombs were intended for Europe but the war ended there before they were ready so ended up being used on Japan.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union had embarked on its own nuclear weapons research program, which was significantly aided by information obtained by spies from the Manhattan Project – and thus was born the arms race of the Cold War.


Aboriginal flag to fly year round on Anzac Hill
I wonder why everyone seems to insist this issue began 20 years ago? As I pointed out in my article last year (https://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2018/03/25/in-a-flap-over-flags-a-possible-compromise/) the original request for flying the Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill was first made in 1989 which by my mathematics is 30 years ago.
It’s also forgotten that the two large flag poles erected in 1989 replaced four smaller ones. These were used to fly the national flag (which flew on the east side of the monument) and the individual armed services flags which overlooked the town. These flags were only flown on Anzac Day and (I think) Remembrance Day but for the remainder of the year there were none.
This issue had its genesis from the protracted political and ideological disputes between the NT Government and the major land councils that dominated Territory politics during the 1980s.


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