Western Australian Government approves Cameco’s Yeelirrie uranium project

16 January 2017 (Last Updated January 16th, 2017 18:30)

Cameco's Yeelirrie uranium project in the Goldfields region of Western Australia (WA) has received environmental approval from the state government, subject to 17 conditions.

Cameco's Yeelirrie uranium project in the Goldfields region of Western Australia (WA) has received environmental approval from the state government, subject to 17 conditions.

Western Australia Government approved the project after a thorough environmental assessment process and consulting public opinion.

The approval follows the agreement between environment minister Albert Jacob and the ministers for water, mines and petroleum, Aboriginal affairs and state development.

WA Premier Colin Barnett said: “Australia has been producing and exporting uranium for peaceful purposes for more than 30 years and it is high time that Western Australia with our significant reserves, became part of that industry.

“Australia's international treaties guarantee that uranium can only be used for peaceful purposes. We should also remember that nuclear medicine is also an important part of our health care system.”

"Australia has been producing and exporting uranium for more than 30 years and it is high time that Western Australia became part of that industry."

The Environmental Protection Authority stated in its report that eight out of nine key environmental factors are acceptable which includes human health protection. However, the report also stated that the project may cause the loss of stygofauna and troglofauna species in the region.

Stygofauna and troglofauna are small crustaceans creatures that live permanently underground in water and in soils.

Environment minister Albert Jacob noted that the government considered all economic, social matters and environmental before giving its consent to the project.

The government has also asked Cameco to conduct further surveys and research at the project area to minimise environmental impacts on the species.

Yeelirrie uranium project is the fourth mine to get approved in WA.

This project is expected to have an operational life of 18 years, carrying a capital and operational cost of A$5bn ($3.75bn).

The Cameco uranium project will employ nearly 225 people during the operational phase and will hire approximately 1,200 people during its peak production.