Cameco Corp. is one step closer to building its proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia, after the state’s government overturned an Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommendation that the project be halted.
It remains unclear, however, when the Saskatoon-based company — which operates two mines in Saskatchewan and an in situ recovery operation in Kazakhstan — will build the multi-billion-dollar open-pit mine, located 650 kilometres northeast of Perth.
“We are advancing Yeelirrie through the environmental assessment process so that we are ready to respond when the market signals a need for more uranium,” managing director of Cameco’s Australian subsidy Brian Reilly said in a statement.
Global uranium markets have been in free fall since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster. Cameco has responded by cutting costs: Last year alone it shuttered one mine, reduced production at others and slashed about nine per cent of its corporate workforce.
While the company maintains that a recovery is on the horizon as nuclear plants under construction in China, India and Korea come online, it has said work on projects like Yeelirrie has been scaled back to align with “market signals.”
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