The Queensland Government has set the stage today for development of a multi-billion dollar, world-class uranium mining industry in North Queensland. Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said Mines Minister Andrew Cripps’ release of a strictly regulated framework for the resumption of uranium mining would support economic and jobs growth into the future.
‘Essentially the state government has invited prospective uranium developers to make their case,’ Mr Roche said. The framework released today is the product of two years of meticulous review and provides a solid framework for assessing and regulating uranium mining.’
Estimates value current known uranium resources in Queensland at $18 billion. A potential bonus from the framework’s development is a new lease of life for Queensland’s last uranium producing mine, Mary Kathleen (near Cloncurry).
‘The Geological Survey of Queensland has appraisal studies at Mary Kathleen confirming its potential as a source of rare earths, which are critical to the development of digital and low emission power technologies,’ Mr Roche said. The new data will be closely scrutinised by investors as companies develop tenders to win the right to develop Mary Kathleen’s potential.’
Mr Roche said despite the good news for North and North West Queensland in terms of jobs, economic growth and government royalty revenues, he expected an hysterical backlash to the announcement from anti-industry activists. ‘Despite the years of work that have gone into developing a Queensland framework reflecting the experience of South Australia, West Australia and the Northern Territory, activists will claim that the nuclear power industry is shrinking and unsafe,’ Mr Roche said. ‘Yet the International Energy Agency has forecast electricity demand to grow by more than two-thirds from 2011-2035 with nuclear energy making up 12 percent of the mix (link below). Contrary to activist propaganda, the state government and industry have worked together with other major stakeholders to deliver world’s best environmental protection and safety standards.’
On the transport and export of uranium, QRC supports the recommendation of the independent (Queensland) Uranium Mining Implementation Committee: ‘Uranium oxide mined in Queensland is to be exported via existing ports and shipping lanes for the export of uranium oxide. Queensland ports should be encouraged to seek additional business from the activity uranium mining will present in terms of materials supplied for construction, maintenance and mining operations. If a future request is made to export uranium oxide from a Queensland port, this request should be assessed by the Coordinator-General and the existing regulation for the transport.’