The Western Australian Government has welcomed the news that BHP Billiton plans to develop the Yeelirrie uranium deposit, 500 km north of Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
“It is encouraging in this time of global economic downturn, that the resource sector is gearing up and developing alternative revenue streams for WA,” State Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore said.
The WA Liberal Government last year lifted the State’s long held ban on uranium mining and according to Moore, BHP’s development of Yeelirrie falls in line with the Government’s plan for the State’s uranium industry.
“The Liberal Party had an election policy of developing this State’s rich uranium resources, creating jobs and building our economy,” Moore said.
“Since forming Government, we have lifted the previous ban on mining uranium and seen a resultant resurgence in interest in developing this valuable resource, which has the huge potential to create jobs and wealth for Western Australia.”
Moore said that the State Government will maintain its position on not shipping yellowcake through any WA port located near a residential area and also ensure the highest environmental standards are followed.
“We remain adamant that the most stringent health and safety measures and the world’s best practice environmental standards will apply to any proposed uranium development and to the handling and transportation of yellowcake,” he said.
“While uranium is a valuable resource, the tonnage and shipment levels are relatively small,” he said.
“This means that it is economically feasible to transport yellowcake by road to rail heads and then by rail to existing ports designed to deal with the export of uranium in either the Northern Territory or South Australia.”