By Environmental Justice Atlas
“The environmental justice atlas documents and catalogues social conflict around environmental issues.
Across the world communities are struggling to defend their land, air, water, forests and their livelihoods from damaging projects and extractive activities with heavy environmental and social impacts: mining, dams, tree plantations, fracking, gas flaring, incinerators, etc. As resources needed to fuel our economy move through the commodity chain from extraction, processing and disposal, at each stage environmental impacts are externalized onto the most marginalized populations. Often this all takes place far from the eyes of concerned citizens or consumers of the end-products.
The EJ Atlas collects these stories of communities struggling for environmental justice from around the world. It aims to make these mobilization more visible, highlight claims and testimonies and to make the case for true corporate and state accountability for the injustices inflicted through their activities.
It also attempts to serve as a virtual space for those working on EJ issues to get information, find other groups working on related issues, and increase the visibility of environmental conflicts.” Source
The atlas is a work in progress and in 2022 there are nearly 4000 case studies in the atlas from around the world. Below we look at and link to case studies from Australia and feature one case study, Kintyre Uranium Mine, Australia, to show you how case studies are featured.
If you are interested in contributing to the EJAtlas database by filling in missing cases or in any other way you can fill in their form.
How to use the atlas
The atlas has four main ways to find case studies. They are:
- Typing keywords in the Search box
- Browsing maps by Country/Company/Commodity/Type of Conflict
- Using the Filter which has many categories including success level, conflict, resistance, impacts, outcomes, etc.
- Clicking on location points on the world map
Australian Case Studies
|Kintyre Uranium Mine, Australia
Members of the Martu community embarked on a week-long march to protest against Kintyre uranium mine, walking 110 kms to the site.
|Oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Australia
The Great Australian Bight Alliance successfully opposed plans by big Norwegian oil company Equinor which would risk this pristine ocean for an oil field.
|Rio Tinto / BHP’s iron mining destroys sacred Aboriginal sites, Western Australia
To make way for iron mining Rio Tinto destroys Juukan George, of significance to aboriginal people. BHP follows suit. Protests against such barbarity make companies apologize (too late) and reconsider decisions.
|Operation Nemesis on Japanese illegal whale slaughters, Antarctica
A successful direct action called Nemesis by the Sea Shepherd movement against illegal so-called scientific whale slaughters in the Antarctic.
|WestConnex Highway Project, Sydney and NSW, Australia
The 33km WestConnex highway project currently underway in inner Sydney is the biggest and one of the most controversial urban infrastructure projects in the city since the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
|Djab Wurrung sacred trees and Western Highway expansion, Victoria, Australia
An ongoing dispute over a highway extension in the state of Victoria which would see the cutting down of hundreds of trees culturally significant to the Djap Wurrung people.
|Gloucester Resources Rocky Hill open cut coal mine, NSW, Australia
In 2019, the proposed Rocky Hill coal mine in NSW was rejected in a landmark court decision in part because of its negative impact on climate change and social impacts on local residents and Aboriginal heritage.
|KEPCO’s Bylong Valley coal mine, NSW, Australia
In September 2019, a proposed South Korean-owned coal mine in the Bylong Valley, NSW was rejected by the NSW Independent Planning Commission in part due to its long-term environmental, agricultural and heritage impact on future generations .
|Proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility, South Australia
The site-selection process for Australia’s first centralised nuclear waste facility has been highly divisive. The final two shortlisted sites near Kimba, SA have faced much resistance from the Barngarla people, farmers, environmentalists and other actors.
|Uranium mining in Kakadu National Park, Australia
The injustice of uranium mining in Kakadu National Park is not the only one in Australia against aboriginal communities. By 2019, the Ranger uranium mine is facing enormous rehabilitation costs.
|A decade longe battle against Yeelirrie uranium mine led by Tjiwarl women, Australia
Tjiwarl women alongside other people have fought the Yeelirrie mine for more than ten years. The mine has been approved by Federal Authorities. But they continue with the resistance.
|Anangu Aboriginals stopped tourism expansion and the climb to the top of Uluru rock, Australia
“Stepping on Urulu is considered as an offensive act”. By arguing their traditional relationship with the Uluru rock for many years, the Anangu people officially ban massive tourist climbing on 26 of Oct, 2019.
|British nuclear tests at Maralinga, Australia
The environmental injustice of British Nuclear Tests at Maralinga between 1956 and 1963. Several nuclear tests took place with yields ranging from 1 to 27 kilotonnes of TNT. Persistent radioactive pollution.
|Montara Oil Spill, Australia
The Montara Oil Spill in Timor Sea highlighted the controversies of fossil fuel extration and legislative weaknesses in Australia dealing with complex transboundary issues. Indonesian seaweed farmers embark on class action law suit to claim for damages.
|Yes 2 Renewables campaign #VRET, Victoria, Australia
Successful advocacy against coal, for a Renewable Energy Target by Yes 2 Renewables, securing jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector and supporting clean energy for current and future generations.
|Pesticide Pollution, Australia
Australian Pesticides Map: “We are concerned Australians worried about pesticide contamination. Isn’t it odd that almost all of the information on this website has not been made easily available to members of the public in the past?” https://pesticides.au
|Alcoa Coal Closes in Anglesea, Australia
Alcoa coal fired power station closes with the closure of the Alcoa aluminium smelter and Alcoa being unable to find a buyer. Community action demonstrated that the power station was uneconomic and had lost its social licence.
|Unconventional gas exploration and production banned in Victoria, Australia
A five-year campaign based on strong community organising successfully stopped the exploration and production of unconventional gas. Quit Coal advocates for renewable energy and decentralisation
|Hunter Valley Coal, New South Wales, Australia
Communities, Greens Party, health professionals and local government councillors contest coal production in the Hunter Valley. Activist Wendy Bowman is 2017 Goldman Prize Recipient for Islands and Island Nations
|Port of Newcastle and Break Free 2016 blockade, Australia
Break Free 2016 blockade of world’s largest coal export port in Newcastle, Australia, stops ships for a day and highlights impacts of global warming, particularly sea level rise on Pacific Island Nations.
|Alinta Northern Power Station in Port Augusta, South Australia
After long standing concerns about people’s health and the environment, the coal industry ends in Port Augusta, however justice issues continue as the local community loses jobs and fears for their future.
|Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, Queensland, Australia
Australia’s largest coal mine has been approved. It is being contested by environment groups and the Wangan and Jagalingou People for its impacts to cultural heritage, land, water, vulnerable species, climate change and the Great Barrier Reef.
|Chevron’s Gorgon gas extraction meet with labour unions’ opposition, Australia
Labour unions across Australia, New Zealand and US join hands to oppose Chevron’s unfair treatment of workers and lack of safety in one of the biggest gas extraction stations in the world
|Syliva Creek Court Case to Prevent Logging in Toolangi State Forest, Victoria, Australia
Court case to prevent logging.
|Saving Goolengook Forest Block, Australia
Goolengook was the site of Australia’s longest running forest blockade (1997–2002).
|Hazelwood Open-Cut Coal Mine Fire, Australia
The worst disaster in the history of Latrobe Valley led to damage worth more than A$100mn. A fire burnt for 45 days, releasing overwhelming smoke and ash seriously affecting the immediate and long-term health, everyday activities, homes, etc
|Kilmore East–Kinglake Bushfire (Black Saturday) Class Action: SP AusNet (power distribution company), Kilmore East-Kinglake (community), Australia
A severe bushfire was started by faulty electrical equipment (company negligence) leading to a class action — one of two class actions to arise from the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, Australia.
|Orica (company) v. Botany (community), Australia
A community in Sydney mobilising about soil and land contamination by Orica.
|Hassad Food Landgrabs for Sheep and Wheat, Australia
National Farmers Federation concerned about large agricultural land purchases. by Hassad Food.
|Anti-asbestos Campaign, Australia
A large campaign about Wittenoom in Western Australia.
Case Study – Kintyre Uranium Mine, Australia
Members of the Martu community embarked on a week-long march to protest against Kintyre uranium mine, walking 110 kms to the site.
The project is located at the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the East Pilbara region of Australia . Uranium was first discovered in the area by Rio Tinto Exploration in 1985, where the company found another eight deposits at Kintyre.
|Name of conflict:||Kintyre Uranium Mine, Australia|
|State or province:||Western Australia|
|Location of conflict:||East Pilbara (near Telfer)|
|Accuracy of location||HIGH (Local level)|
Kintyre mine is an open pit uranium mine and is currently at an advanced stage exploration phase. The mine has estimated resource shares of 53.5 million lbs of uranium concentrates. The project is to include a range of facilities including a processing plant, waste-rock dump and tailings storage facility, and an airstrip. There is currently no work taking place at the Kintyre mine, as the company awaits improved market conditions for uranium. [5,6].
|Level of Investment for the conflictive project||495,000,000.00|
|Type of population||Rural|
|Start of the conflict:||1985|
|Company names or state enterprises:||Cameco from Canada
Mitsubishi Corporation from Japan
|Relevant government actors:||-Western Deserts Land Aboriginal Corporation ( WDLAC).
-Western Australian Government
– Federal Minister for the Environment
|Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:||-Martu Traditional Owners:
-Western Australia Conservation Council:
-Western Australia Nuclear Free Alliance:
-Green Left Australia:
|Intensity||MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)|
|Reaction stage||PREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)|
|Groups mobilizing:||Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Martu Traditional Owners
|Forms of mobilization:||Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
|Environmental Impacts||Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills, Food insecurity (crop damage)|
|Health Impacts||Potential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Occupational disease and accidents|
|Socio-economical Impacts||Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place|
|Project Status||Proposed (exploration phase)|
|Conflict outcome / response:||Project temporarily suspended|
|Proposal and development of alternatives:||According to Green Left Australia, grassroots groups are pushing for policy change to include the increased use of renewable energies. According to Geoscience Australia, the Western Desert has an excellent capacity to generate solar and geothermal energy which would enable powering the domestic energy supply, decreasing the need for nuclear produced energies .|
|Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:||No|
|Briefly explain:||Environmental justice was not served here because there is no mention of Cameco taking into consideration the opposition expressed by Martu Traditional Owners or environmental organisations against the mine, and the mine is planned to go ahead once market conditions improve.|
|Contributor:||Ciara Leonard, Autonomous University of Barcelona|
The content of the case sheets is made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
- Other Country Maps on the Environmental Justice Atlas
- Blockades that changed Australia
- Environmental Blockading in Australia and Around the World – Timeline 1974-1997
- An investigation into the Australian Environmental Movement’s characteristics and activities
- Enabling Emergence: The Bentley Blockade and the Struggle for a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers
- Jabiluka Fight for Country
- The WA Forest Conflict: The Construction of the Political Effectiveness of Advocacy Organisations
- Tasmanian Wilderness Society blocks dam construction (Franklin River Campaign) 1981-83
- Movements_Campaigns - Anti logging
- Movements_Campaigns - Anti mining
- Movements_Campaigns - Anti nuclear_Uranium
- Movements_Campaigns - Environment_Nature