WA bans uranium mining leases


The Government of West Australia has declared a ban on uranium mining for all future leases.

The decision comes after the election promise made by the ruling party to block future applications to mine uranium in WA.

However, the ban will not affect the operations of four uranium projects that received state ministerial approval during the previous government's reign.

The projects are Toro Energy’s Wiluna, Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie, and Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock.

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) stated that multiple secondary approvals are still needed over the life of these projects.

DMP senior advisor Graham Cobby said: "Each application will be considered on its merits as is standard procedure for all mining projects.

"WA has a comprehensive legislative framework that regulates mining in a manner that provides protection for mining employees, the community, and the environment."

The government further added that uranium exploration is not part of the ban order.

WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: "This announcement supports the Labor Party's commitment to halt the expansion of uranium mining in WA.

"We made a commitment that all uranium mining projects with state ministerial approvals will be able to continue, providing they meet all planning approvals."

"In making this decision, the McGowan government has carefully considered the potential liability risk for WA taxpayers.

"We made a commitment that all uranium mining projects with state ministerial approvals will be able to continue, providing they meet all planning approvals."

The minister further noted that government agencies will continue to regulate the industry and ensure the four mines meet their regulatory and environmental responsibilities.

A similar ban was imposed between 2002 and 2008.


Image: The Kintyre Project exploration camp in the East Pilbara. Photo: courtesy of Cameco Australia.