Environmental approval for WA’s first uranium mine

Western Australia has given environmental approval to the state’s first export uranium mine.

Toro Energy has plans to construct the Wiluna mine in WA’s midwest, about 500 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie.

Late yesterday the state’s environmental watchdog recommended the Government approve the project.

ABC PM reports under Toro’s plans uranium oxide will be transported from Wiluna through the outskirts of Kalgoorlie and over the border into South Australia.

Mine officials say the project will have a 14 year life and regulators say the development will be heavily controlled.

Toro has not yet indicated which port it will use to export the uranium.

According to AAP there are currently no uranium mines in WA, but in 2008 Premier Colin Barnett lifted a six-year ban on the industry imposed by the previous Labor government.

Earlier this year new WA Labor leader Mark McGowan also announced a major policy shift in softening his stance on the fledgling industry.

The announcement followed former leader Eric Ripper’s call that no matter how advanced WA uranium projects were, they would be shut down if Labor seized power.

Toro said it was aiming to start construction on Wiluna through 2013 with first sales commencing in 2014.

Environmentalists remain wary of the project and have voiced concern about radioactive tailings leaking into the environment.