Mt Isa business voices support for uranium

Mt Isa local business lobbyists have voiced their support for restarting uranium mining in Queensland’s northwest.

With the prospect of job losses in the mining focussed town, the Commerce North West board have voted unanimously to submit a formal response to the minister for natural resources and mines Anthony Lynham, opposing the re-implementation of a ban on uranium mining.

The ban on uranium mining in place in Queensland since 1982 was lifted by the Newman Government in 2012, however the new Palaszczuk Government stated in March the ban would be put back in place.

However, Lyham said that uranium exploration would be allowed to continue.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the state would be throwing away $6 billion worth of recoverable uranium.

Commerce North West president Travis Crowther said uranium mining would supplement the 1000 jobs expected to be cut in 2020 when the current copper mine in Mt Isa closes, North West Star reported.

“We acknowledge that further research needs to be conducted with regard to transporting uranium from the North West to protect our people and our environment,” he said.

“However the benefits, such as improved economic environment and increase in employment opportunities in the North West region, indicate that these issues should be addressed to allow uranium mining to continue in Queensland.”

Crowther said skills from copper mining would transfer over to uranium mining.

The Queensland Government has commissioned a report from the Uranium Mining Implementation Committee which outlines 40 recommendations referring to best practice, environment and safety, economics, community development, royalties, and opportunities for indigenous communities.

In South Australia treasurer and resources minister Tom Koutsantonis said at the Paydirt 2015 conference in Adelaide that “half the country” is excited about uranium development, and that SA was banking on uranium and copper to be the mainstays of the resource industry there in coming years, with the commodities having better demand fundamentals than iron ore.

A South Australian royal commission into uranium mining and power generation is expected to produce a report on the industry within 12 months.

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