WA keen to take QLD’s unwanted uranium dollars

Western Australia’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion says the Queensland government’s decision to ban uranium mining is good news for WA.

Marmion said his state is ideally placed to capitalise on a looming uranium ban by the QLD government.

“The industry can rest assured we are working to maximise uranium opportunities in WA, as opposed to Queensland Labor’s short-sighted approach,” Marmion said.

This week, QLD's newly instated minster for natural resources and mines, Anthony Lynham, announced the uranium mining prohibition, which had stood in place from 1982 until 2012, would be brought in again.

Lynham said mining will not take place, but added that exploration is allowed to continue.

WA lifted its own uranium mining ban in 2008, and since then more than $300 million has been invested in uranium exploration.

“What is so exciting is that exports from WA’s four advanced projects could top $1 billion a year by 2020, if uranium prices recover to economic levels,” the minister said.

“These mines could employ more than 1,500 people during construction and 500 people during operations, not to mention the indirect employment opportunities.”

 Marmion said milestones like this week’s Mulga Rock uranium ore announcement and the recent conditional approval of the Kintyre project augered well for the future.

“Meanwhile, this week’s Queensland Labor announcement defies logic. Not only is the mining sector facing challenges at present, but global energy demand is escalating and nuclear power is an increasingly important lower-emission power source,” he said.

The Minister said the South Australian Royal Commission into the nuclear industry, announced last week, would highlight potential roles for Australia in the nuclear fuel cycle.

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