State Govt push for uranium mining in Far North
THE State Government wants to re-ignite debate on uranium mining in Queensland and especially in the Far North.
A spokeswoman for Mines and Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said the Government “is keen to hear all views”.
“The Newman Government is aware of a range of strong opinions in the resources sector and across the community regarding uranium,” she said.
“The reality is that uranium mining has not been the subject of a serious public discussion in Queensland for many years, but the issue has recently been raised by some members of the community.
“There is also a generation of Queenslanders who have never experienced or contributed to this debate.”
Known uranium resources in the region include Maureen near Georgetown, Westmoreland near the Northern Territory border and Ben Lomond, west of Townsville.
The Government move follows the Queensland Resources Council and the Australian Uranium Association issuing a statement that “the time is ripe for Queensland to move from uranium exploration to uranium mining”.
In a joint statement, council chief executive Michael Roche and association chief executive Michael Angwin said uranium mining, worth about $20 billion in the state and $2 billion in royalties, would contribute to “greater prosperity, cut greenhouse gas emissions, support north Queensland’s economic development, enhance Queensland’s reputation as an investment destination and facilitate indigenous economic participation”.
“The Queensland Government has the chance to build an effective legislative and regulatory framework, better for the experience of other states and territories, to grow a safe and responsible uranium mining industry and a new royalty revenue stream,” the Queensland Resources Council and the Australian Uranium Association both said.
But environmentalists remain opposed to uranium mining.
Cairns and Far North Environment Centre vice-president and Australian Conservation Foundation spokesman
Andrew Picone said uranium created more hazards than benefits.
He said miners were shelving plans for an expansion of the Olympic Dam site, in South Australia, and another in Western Australia because demand was falling.
He said other countries were phasing out nuclear power and there were better and more economically and environmentally beneficial renewable energy sources available.
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