Proposed uranium mine in WA receives approval

Cameco’s Kintyre uranium mine has received conditional approval from WA’s environmental minister.

The proposed mine, located 80 kilometres south of Telfer, is a joint venture project between Cameco Australia and Mitsubishi Development.

The project will include an open-cut mine, treatment facilities, an airstrip, and an accommodation village.

More than 450 people will be needed to run the site, with Cameco stating it will give priority to hiring and training locals including traditional owners, the Martu.

WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob conditionally approved the project yesterday after the WA Environmental Protection Authority recommended the mine for conditional approval last July.

Cameco Australia managing director Brian Reilly has welcomed Minister Jacob’s decision, which he said follows the “highest and most thorough level of environmental impact assessment and more than four years of extensive community consultation and rigorous environmental and technical studies”.

“We are confident the Kintyre project can be constructed, operated and closed in a way which maintains the ecological functions and environmental values in the area and will ensure all regulatory conditions are met,” Reilly said.

While the price of uranium has lagged since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Reilly said the company would make a development decision when market conditions improved.

WA Greens uranium spokesperson Robin Chapple said Jacob’s decision should be “immediately rescinded”.

Chapple said the Kintyre proposal was a major environmental threat to the region’s unique desert environment and lacked the bipartisan political or broader public support necessary to validate its approval.

“This is yet another example of our government’s throwing its weight behind a rapidly ageing industry that will lock WA into an unsustainable future,” Chapple said.

“This proposal will directly threaten the Karlamilyi National Park, the Karlamilyi River water catchment and the many threatened native flora and fauna species that inhabit this unique desert environment.”

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