A Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCIWA) report has found that uranium mining could bring significant economic benefits to Western Australia (WA), but they cannot currently be realised due to the state government’s 2017 ban on uranium mining.

The research, conducted over 12 months, states that WA could produce uranium worth more than A$1bn ($652m) a year.

The state ban excludes four projects – Kintyre, Mulga Rock, Wiluna and Yeelirrie – which had been granted approval from the previous government.

The CCIWA said that the successful operation of uranium mines in the Northern Territory and South Australia proves the industry is safe. Last year, South Australia produced about 5,469 tonnes per annum (tpa); WA has the capacity to produce 8,000tpa.

In January, uranium prices hit their highest mark in more than 16 years, largely due to renewed interest in nuclear energy around the world. The world’s largest producer of uranium, Kazatomprom, may cut its 2024 production due to limited availability of sulphuric acid needed to produce uranium, constricting supply and putting further upward pressure on prices.

CCIWA chief economist Aaron Morey said that other Australian miners had been able to capitalise on favourable uranium market conditions. He said: “WA has the technical skills and know-how to reignite the uranium mining industry as well as the export infrastructure to get it to market.

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“The ban on new uranium mines in WA was driven by environmental, health and safety concerns, but these concerns are not significantly different to those faced by any mining operation. WA is a mining state with a reputation for safety and world’s best practice. We have a strong regulatory framework, existing infrastructure and all the skills needed to safely mine and export uranium,” he added.

Morey recognised that ongoing interest in nuclear energy will ensure that uranium demand will remain high and that while “supply constraints look set to worsen, Western Australia could stand to benefit from the market surge.”