The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the WA Government’s environmental approval of the Yeelirrie uranium project, following on from its recent approvals of the Mulga Rocks and Wiluna uranium projects.
These approvals follow thorough, lengthy and rigorous environmental evaluation processes which have demonstrated that uranium can be mined safely and sustainably in WA, and in a manner which can generate net benefits for the state. The WA government approvals reflect the normalisation of the Australian uranium industry.
Two of the three projects cleared environmental review satisfying all the EPA’s criteria. The third, the Yeelirrie project satisfied eight of nine criteria. It is important to note that the EPA’s concern regarding subterranean fauna at Yeelirrie is a site-specific concern and not a commodity-specific concern. And further, the Yeelirrie approval will see continued research to develop a better scientific understanding of subterranean fauna more broadly which will benefit the region and the wider state.
The three projects raised no concerns regarding radiation and radiation management, the hazard most people associate with uranium mining.
While these approvals come at a time of challenging uranium market conditions, they are important steps in readying these projects for when new production is required to meet market demand.
Australia with almost a third of global uranium resources, is producing around a tenth of world production. There is an opportunity to expand uranium production and exports as the global nuclear industry expands in the decades ahead.
Nuclear power is a mature electricity generating technology deployed globally, and expanding rapidly in the world’s two most populous nations. 27 of the 60 reactors currently under construction in the world are being built in China and India, two of Australia’s key trading partners. Readying uranium projects for when the market calls for additional volumes to be brought on line is critical in Australia expanding its share and reaping the benefits of jobs and additional export revenue.
Uranium-fuelled nuclear energy offers reliable, affordable, scale-able, low emissions energy for the world’s rapidly urbanising and industrialising economies.
Australia’s uranium industry applauds the great news from the WA government and congratulates Cameco Australia, Vimy Resources and Toro Energy in obtaining state government approvals for their projects.