Uranium decision welcomed
THE decision to recommence uranium mining in Queensland promises to reignite debate around the practice, while breathing new life into the slowing mining and resources sector.
Premier Campbell Newman said the recommencement would deliver new prosperity to the state, in particular regions in the state's north.
"It's been 30 years since there was uranium mining in this state, 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," Mr Campbell said.
The State Government has said it would not consider nuclear energy production or nuclear waste disposal plants in Queensland as part of the recommencement.
Exploration for uranium has not been subject to the prohibition and there has been significant continuing interest from the industry in exploring for uranium in Queensland.
The peak industry body for the Queensland minerals and energy sector says the lifting of the ban will be a huge opportunity for Queensland.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Michael Roche said the decision will unleash the significant potential of a Queensland uranium mining industry.
"The Government's decisive action will provide a strong boost to the regional economies of north and north-west Queensland," Mr Roche said. "It will create jobs and economic opportunities, including for indigenous Queenslanders."
Mr Roche said several QRC member companies had well-advanced plans to develop the State's significant uranium resources.
"The known uranium resource in Queensland, using projected prices and exchange rates, is currently valued at $18 billion.
"That $18 billion resource value translates into $900 million potential earnings in royalties from the mining of uranium.
"The experience in Western Australia suggests that a decision to overturn the ban on uranium mining in Queensland will unleash a strong upsurge in exploration for uranium, thereby boosting the known uranium resource in Queensland."
Mr Roche said the QRC would be keen to assist the three-member implementation committee and point out the industry's commitment to environmental safeguards and the safety of its workers and the wider community.
"This decisive action by the Newman Government will also create much-needed confidence in the broader resources sector in Queensland," he said.