Western Australia’s first uranium mine approved

Toro Energy's Wiluna uranium project has been approved by the Western Australian Government.

The final environmental approvals were granted by WA environment minister Bill Marmion, who stated that the decision took three weeks, during which he consulted mines minster Norman Moore, and the minister for indigenous affairs.

However he has placed strict conditions on its operation.

“The new conditions will strengthen protection of stygofauna and groundwater-dependent vegetation, including Tecticornia samphires, and better address surface water flows, dust management and rehabilitation," Marmion said.

“Toro will also be required to research the water requirements of groundwater-dependent vegetation and more closely monitor stygofauna in the three calcrete ecosystems to be partially impacted by the proposal.

“Importantly, I have toughened up the environmental conditions, so if this project does go ahead, the environment will be adequately monitored and protected."

It comes after the state's environmental watchdog advised the government to approve the project in May, and it completed the public exhibition phase of the project.

The announcement was welcomed by Toro Energy's managing director Greg Hall, who said that this approval is the first since the decision in 2008 by the government to allow uranium mining.

"This represents a true achievement by many people who have worked diligently to deliver a project that will provide benefits to the local community, as well as to Western Australia, in an environmentally sustainable manner," Hall said.

The project consists of two uranium deposits near Wiluna, and is the most advanced in the state.

It 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.
Toro has not yet indicated which port it will use to export the uranium.

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