Western Australia’s promising uranium sector is ideally placed to capitalise on a looming Queensland Government ban on mining the nuclear fuel ore, according to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion.
“The industry can rest assured we are working to maximise uranium opportunities in WA, as opposed to Queensland Labor’s short-sighted approach,” Mr Marmion said.
“It begs questions over where WA Labor sits on the issue. It’s certainly not backing the communities and families that will benefit from the responsible development of this industry.”
Since the Liberal National Government lifted WA’s uranium mining ban in 2008, 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.”
Mr 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.
“The ALP is all over the place,” he said.
“At a time when SA Labor is looking at future opportunities, we have Queensland taking a retrograde step.
“But in WA investors can be confident that under the Liberal National Government, the State is positioned to reap the benefits of rapidly developing uranium markets such as India, China and the United Arab Emirates.”
WA’s four leading projects are Wiluna, Yeelirrie, Kintyre and Mulga Rock
437 reactors are operating worldwide, with 70 being built and 184 on order or planned
China has 29 operating reactors with plans to triple nuclear power by 2020 and triple it again by 2050
Nuclear generation is planned to supply 25% of India’s power by 2050