One miner describes the just-lifted ban on uranium mines in Queensland “an ideological relic from a previous time.”
HALIFAX, NS (MINEWEB) – Queensland’s state government has decided to drop a decades-long ban on uranium mining, opening up the prospect for development of long held-back uranium projects in the U3O8-rich state.
Paladin Energy, a uranium producer that holds more than 100 million pounds in global U3O8 resources in Queensland, called the outgoing-ban “an ideological relic from a previous time” in a statement lauding the state government’s decision on the uranium mining issue.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman focused much on potential jobs and framed the de-banning in the context of lost economic growth. “It’s been 30 years since there was uranium mining in this State (of Queensland), and in that time Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia have carved out successful uranium industries that deliver jobs and prosperity to their regions,” Newman said in a prepared statement.
The Queensland government gave a three-member committee the task of overseeing “the recommencement of uranium mining in Queensland” and a three-month deadline to report back to it.
Although, despite the ban, Queensland has long allowed uranium exploration, this hasn’t mattered much given that any U3O8 found could never see the light of day.
But the likes of Paladin and juniors such as Laramide Resources and Mega Uranium, which all have uranium projects in Queensland, nonetheless kept a toehold in the anti-uranium state, largely holding out hope that Queensland would do as it has just done: Get rid of the ban.
The hope had a foundation in the broader erosion of anti-uranium mining policy in Australia over the last couple decades. Anti-mining sentiment peaked in the 1980s when Australia, at the national level, instituted a three mines policy, banning uranium mining at all but three of the country’s then operating uranium mines: Ranger, Nabarlek and Olympic Dam.
But over subsequent decades anti-uranium mining policy in Australia has eased. In the mid-1990s John Howard’s Labor government moved to allow development of more uranium mines and then in 2007 the federal government in Australia lifted federal roadblocks to uranium mining altogether.
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