The lifting of uranium bans this week by WA Premiere Colin Barnett will open the door to a new and long lasting sector for the Australian mining industry, Australian Uranium Association communication director Simon Clarke told MINING DAILY.
“All of the forecasts tell us that over the next 20, 30, 50 years the demand for uranium is going to increase significantly,” Clarke said.
“In the long term we would think the prospects are for a sustainable and productive industry in the west.
“We congratulate the Barnett-Grylls government for implementing, from our point of view, a very good election promise.”
According to Barnett, the previous Labor government bans went against what was in the best interests of Western Australia.
“WA prides itself as a world leader in mining, yet an outdated and philosophical objection to uranium mining was put in place, denying the State a significant economic opportunity,” he said.
“The ban was nonsensical.”
Despite the bright prospects for the future, Clarke warns that any major progress in uranium mining remains years away.
“We won’t immediately see a mine in operation in Western Australia,” he said.
“It takes some time, both physically and with the other legal and regulatory requirements, to get a mine up and running.
“It may be 2012 if everything goes to plan.”
The lifting of the bans in WA will add to the burgeoning uranium industry throughout the rest of Australia, Clarke said.
“Elsewhere in Australia we have some exciting prospects happening,” he said.
“The Olympic Dam expansion, though some way off, will massively boost Australian uranium production and exports.
“In Queensland we know there are some significant uranium sources but, as was the case with Western Australia, there are still administrative bans on uranium mining.
“From our point of view we’d like to see that situation change because we know there’s a market for the product.”