Toro edges closer to developing Wiluna uranium mine

Western Australia's first uranium mine is a step closer to development, after Toro Energy announced a four-week appeal period on its Federal Government approval passed with no appeals against the project.

In a statement, Toro Energy said the protest period for their Wiluna uranium mine had passed with no appeal lodged.

“Toro is now able to fully focus on bringing Wiluna to market,” Toro managing director, Vanessa Guthrie said.

Toro is in a bid for partners to help fund the $269 million Wiluna project and have previously stated if financing arrangements went to plan the mine would be in production by the end of 2015.

Guthrie said while spot prices for uranium are ‘soft’ there are positive signs of improvements as the longer term demand for uranium remains strong.

The Conservation Council of WA said Toro's claim that the project was going forward "without protest" was incorrect, the West Australian reported.

"We were protesting out the front of Toro's offices on Friday," spokeswoman Mia Pepper said.

 "We're exploring our options, and we will continue to fight this project all the way."

The Wiluna mine will process 1.3 million tonnes of ore annually, and produce around 820 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate.

Under Toro’s plans uranium oxide will be transported from Wiluna through the outskirts of Kalgoorlie and over the border into South Australia.

Mine officials say the project will have a 14 year life and regulators say the development will be heavily controlled.

In a speech last week Resource Minister Gary Gray said with world energy demands increasing, Australia was in the perfect position to supply more uranium.

"This year these power generators will need more than 66,000 tonnes of uranium but current global mine production is at only 55,000 tonnes," Gray said.

The Australian Uranium Association predicts that if the uranium industry was able to reach its full potential, exports would increase from 9,000 tonnes a year to 28, 500 tonnes a year.

This would equate to between a $14.2 billion to $17.4 billion net value to the Australian GDP.

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