PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Western Australia on Tuesday officially implemented a ban on future uranium mining leases, but has given assurances that it will not hinder the development of projects already granted approval.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston told Parliament that the actions were consistent with the ban that existed between 2002 and 2008, and which had proved effective.
The ban on uranium mining was one of the election promises made by the Labor party in the recent state elections.
“In making this decision, the government has carefully considered the potential liability risk for Western Australian taxpayers. We made a commitment that all uranium mining projects with state Ministerial approvals will be able to continue, providing they meet all planning approvals,” the Minister said.
"The various Western Australian agencies will continue to stringently regulate the industry and ensure the four mines meet their regulatory and environmental responsibilities if they proceed,” he added.
Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Reg Howard-Smith said that the four uranium projects previously approved had undergone an extensive environmental approvals process and deserved the right to proceed.
“While we would prefer the Western Australian Labor government fully reversed its policy of not allowing any new uranium mines, this statement importantly clarifies the future of these four previously approved projects,” Howard-Smith said.
“The development of the uranium industry in Western Australia will broaden the state’s resource export base, contribute to the growth of Western Australia’s economy and build stronger regional communities while providing jobs and opportunities.
“Western Australia is highly prospective for uranium and once these projects begin construction and operations, further developments beyond those already approved, should proceed on a bi-partisan basis.”
The four projects given primary approval by the former state government included Toro Energy’s Wiluna mine, Vimy Resource’s proposed Mulga Rock project, and the Yeelirrie and Kintyre projects being developed by US major Cameco.