New South Wales’ uranium ban could be lifted soon, with a One Nation bill to be voted on in the upper house of parliament next week.
If the bill is passed, uranium mining would be permitted in the state of New South Wales for the first time since 1986.
In March, New South Wales Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirmed that the Nationals will back the One Nation bill, putting the onus on the federal government to lift the ban.
One Nation New South Wales stated that New South Wales is missing out on the benefits of nuclear power generation, which would increase electricity supply and drive prices down.
“Across our western border, South Australia has been able to reap the benefits of this billion-dollar national industry,” One Nation New South Wales stated in a media release.
“Why not similar jobs and investment in New South Wales, especially in regional and remote areas of the state hard-hit by drought and economic struggle?”
In 2014, the New South Wales Government invited commercial exploration of uranium deposits within the state, but a Hartz Rare Earth mining investor said “who in their right mind would put up their hard-earned cash into exploring for uranium when even if you were successful in finding an economic resource you will not be allowed to develop it and have the chance to be rewarded for all the risk you took?”
Australia’s current uranium operations include Olympic Dam in South Australia and the Ranger site in Northern Territory, which ceased operations in 2012.
Stockpiled ore will continue to be processed at Ranger until 2021 but all rehabilitation works on site must be complete by 2026.