The decision to approve the development of the FourMile uranium mine in South Australia shows that if the industry can stand up to environmental benchmarks it will be able to prosper, Australian Uranium Association executive director Michael Angwin told MINING DAILY.
“What this decision tells us is that if we continue to meet those high environmental standards, which the (Environment) Minister himself applies, then we will be able to continue to expand our industry,” he said.
“That is what heartens us about this decision.”
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett this week approved the development of FourMile, the most significant uranium deposit found in Australia in the past 25 years, after it was subject to two independent reviews.
According to Garrett, both of the reviews found that the mine would cause no significant lasting impact on the environmental values of the area.
Angwin said having the mine approved after such a rigorous process is what makes him so optimistic about the state of the uranium industry.
“An industry like ours, and indeed any industry, can only hope that it will make decisions based on their proper merits, and that is what has been done in this case,” he said.
The decision from the Federal Government to allow another uranium mine in South Australia may show that Queensland needs to abandon its anti-uranium policy as its economy suffers, Angwin said.
“The Queensland Government has lost its AAA rating, it has a large budget deficit and there has been a contraction in the mining industry, especially in employment,” he said.
“In contrast to the demand for many commodities, the demand of uranium continues to grow.
“So I think that the position of the Queensland Government is unsustainable and they should remove the ban on uranium mining as rapidly as possible.”