Cameco Australia has secured federal environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium project in Western Australia after a “complex” two-year process.
The nod from the Department of Environment and Energy follows Western Australian Government approval in January 2017.
Canada’s Cameco considers that both approvals involve “comprehensive conditions”, ensuring the project is responsibly managed.
Cameco general manager Simon Williamson described the approvals process as a rigorous and extensive environmental assessment.
“We have worked with the department over the two-year process to demonstrate how we will reduce and manage any environmental risks,” Williamson said.
“While we are happy to have this approval in place, current market conditions are challenging, and we expect them to remain so in the near term.”
Cameco acquired the Yeelirrie project from BHP in 2012. More than 10,000 historical and recent drill holes have been completed by prior owners.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said Australia’s complex and duplicative project assessment and approval processes generated unnecessary delays and uncertainty.
“The length of this approval process again underlines the need for certainty from policy-makers, including streamlined laws, which protect our environment while removing duplication and red tape as unnecessary overlap,” Constable said.
“Australia has the world’s largest endowment of uranium resources and is well placed to continue to supply growing global markets with affordable, near zero emissions energy. This development will be another part of Australia’s contribution to the transition to a lower carbon economy.”
Cameco Australia stated that any decisions to advance its projects in Western Australia would depend upon market conditions.