Federal support for WA uranium expansion

The expansion of uranium mining in Western Australia could add billions of dollars to Australia's gross domestic product, a spokesperson for Federal Resources Minister Ferguson told MINING DAILY.

The expansion of uranium mining in Western Australia could add billions of dollars to Australia’s gross domestic product, a spokesman for Federal Resources Minister Ferguson told MINING DAILY.

“Up to $17 billion dollars in GDP could be gained over the next 20 years by the expansion of uranium mining,” he said.

Ferguson recently held talks with WA Premier Colin Barnett and his Mining Minister Norman Moore, lending Federal support to uranium mining in the State.

According to Australian Uranium Association executive director Michael Agwin, Australia is in a unique position to take advantage of the increasing global uranium demand.

“There’s a growth of nuclear power overseas that’s likely to expand between 50% and 100% in the next 25 years,” he told MINING DAILY.

“Australia has about 30% to 36% of the world’s uranium.

“So there’s a great economic opportunity for Australia.”

Several significant uranium deposits are located in Western Australia, but mining companies have been unable to access them due the previous Carpenter Labor government’s ban on uranium mining.

Barnett’s new Liberal government will allow and encourage uranium mining.

In addition to the financial benefits of expanding mining uranium, its use in nuclear power will have significant environmental benefits, Angwin said.

“Nuclear power is a very clean source of fuel,” he said.

“Expanding Western Australia’s uranium mining to its potential would see about 1.5 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases avoided over the next 20 years.

“That’s the equivalent of WA being carbon free for the next 20 years.”

The expansion of exports is especially important in the face of Australia’s upcoming emissions trading scheme, Angwin said.

“Australia will inter costs as it adjusts to its new climate change policies,” he said.

“It’s in our interests to make sure that we can expand exports where possible to help us offset those costs.”

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