Western Australian government bans future uranium mine leases, excludes four existing projects

Western Australian government bans future uranium mine leases, excludes four existing projects

The Western Australian government has imposed a ban on future uranium mining leases but says it will not stop four projects with existing approvals from previous governments.

The ban announced this week by Mines and Petroleum minister Bill Johnston fulfils an election promise to deny future applications to mine uranium made by the Labor Party prior to the state election in March.

Toro Energy’s Wiluna project, Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project and Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects all had approvals before the election and will be excluded from the ban.

However the approvals will expire five years from the date of issue and there is some uncertainty as to whether they will be renewed once expired.

Mike Young, VImy Resources CEO, is confident the Mulga Rock project will have begun substantive work before 2021 and will be the state’s first uranium mine.

Toro Energy general manager Andrew Worland said he was comfortable with the state government’s uranium policy because it provided certainty.

“It’s consistent with what was said prior to the election and immediately subsequent to the election,” he said.

“Their policy statement is not surprising to us. Had it have been in another direction, it would have been flabbergasting.”

@RGNonline