The new Palaszczuk Labor Government is planning to once more ban uranium mining in Queensland.
The recently instated minster for natural resources and mines, Anthony Lynham, announced the prohibition, which had stood in place from 1982 until 2012, would be brought in again, according to the Courier Mail.
The previous Newman Government overturned the ban soon after being elected, with former QLD premier Campbell Newman stating that strong support for the uranium industry by the Federal Government had helped in the decision.
“The prime minister Julia Gillard has just been in India selling the benefits of Australian-produced uranium to India, prompting many in the community to ask about the industry’s potential in Queensland,” Newman said at the time.
“It’s been 30 years since there was uranium mining in this State, and in that time Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia have carved out successful uranium industries that deliver jobs and prosperity to their regions.”
The then minister for natural resources and mines, Andrew Cripps, said the uranium deposits in the state were worth an estimated $10 billion.
The following year it released a uranium strategy action plan, which covered the implementation of best practice regulatory framework for uranium mining in the state, environmental standards, safety and health, economic and community development, indigenous opportunities and native title.
Now the ban will be back in place.
However while Lynham said mining will not take place, he added that exploration is allowed to continue.
“Resource companies can continue to apply for a generic exploration permit for minerals which allows them to explore for all minerals other than coal,’’ he said.
The announcement has been slammed by the Queensland Resources Council, and the new opposition mines minister Andrew Cripps.
The QRC asked the QLD govenrment to judge uranium projects on their merits, instead of enacting a blanket ban.
“Before rushing to a decision, we would ask the government to consult the QRC and companies with uranium interests on its intentions concerning uranium,” the QRC said in a statement.
“This new Labor government has the opportunity to take advantage of the excellent work undertaken by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in the past few years to develop a world-leading regulatory framework for assessing and overseeing uranium mining projects.
“Reimposition of a blanket ban on uranium mining will come as a particular disappointment to the people of north-west Queensland who rightly see uranium mining as a valuable new jobs generator for the region,” it said.
“An option open to the government is only to consider uranium mining projects in the north west of the state where some of the most valuable uranium deposits are located.”
Cripps added the move is a “knee jerk and ideological reaction”.