Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has approved the development of the FourMile uranium mine in South Australia.
In approving the mine, Garrett said it would be committed to world best practice environmental standards.
“As with all proposals examined under national environment law, this mine was subject to a comprehensive, scientifically robust and transparent assessment process,” he said.
“Following this thorough assessment and careful consideration, I am certain this operation poses no credible risk to the environment.”
Located near the Beverly uranium mine 550 kilometres north of Adelaide, FourMile will be the fifth uranium operation in Australia. Garrett last year also approved an extension to the Beverley mine.
The FourMile project is a joint venture between Adelaide-based Quasar Resources Limited and Melbourne-based Alliance Resources and is expected to produce up to 1400 tonnes of uranium oxide a year.
FourMile is the largest uranium deposit discovered in Australia in the last 25 years, with Alliance announcing in March this year that the estimated resource at the site had increased from 32 million pounds to 61 million.
The companies hope to have the mine in production in the first quarter of 2010.
News of the mine’s approval has been welcomed by the Australian Uranium Association, with executive director Michael Angwin praising the environmental measures taken in the process.
“It is a decision made on the mine’s environmental merits,” Angwin said.
“As long as our industry continues to meet those standards it will continue to expand.”