New South Wales (NSW) Government has invited six firms to apply for the right to explore uranium in the state through expression of interest (EOI) process.
The six companies are Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources and HNFL Holdings, EJ Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy.
NSW resources and energy minister Anthony Roberts said: "Uranium is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in rock, soil and water, yet at present, we have very little knowledge about the extent and distribution of the uranium reserves in NSW.
"Exploration will allow the NSW Government to better understand the extent of the state's resources and any potential economic benefits."
The government passed the law to allow uranium exploration back in September 2012 however, the ban on uranium mining still remains unaffected.
The six chosen companies will be asked to explore at one of three NSW locations with possible uranium deposits, including Broken Hill, Cobar and south of Dubbo.
"Companies that apply for and are granted an exploration licence will only be allowed to perform low-impact exploration and environmental monitoring, any other activities will require further approvals," Roberts added.
Australia has the largest deposits of uranium in the world and accounts for 33% of all global resources. It is the third largest producer of uranium concentrates after Kazakhstan and Canada.
Uranium exploration and mining is only approved in South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
Five uranium mines operate out of the country, including Ranger in Northern Territory, and Olympic Dam, Beverley, Honeymoon and Four Mile mines in South Australia.
Image: The Ranger three open pit uranium mine in the Northern Territory of Australia. Photo: courtesy of Geomartin.