Wiluna uranium deposit

The Australian Uranium Association has urged the government of Australia to reform the environmental assessment and approval processes employed for uranium projects in the country.

The appeal is in response to the Commonwealth Environment Minister Tony Burke’s announcement delaying approval of Toro Energy‘s Wiluna uranium project.

Australian Uranium Association chief executive Michael Angwin remarked that reform must begin with abstaining from discriminatory treatment demonstrated under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

"The removal of those discriminatory provisions should be part of the reforms to the EPBC Act that the Government introduces following the Hawke Review.

"The review recommended the removal of those discriminatory provisions and the Government should now reconsider its position on reform of those provisions," Angwin said.

The association calls for the removal of provisions in the EPBC Act that cause duplication and delays in the processes, which in turn lead to unnecessary cost escalation for companies and affect investor responses in the long term.

"The Act specifically prevents the Commonwealth Environment Minister making an agreement with a state to minimise duplication in assessing a uranium project," continued Angwin.

Angwin further enumerated that competitiveness in the Australian uranium industry can be achieved, provided delays in assessment and approval processes were addressed to allow quick implementation of uranium projects.

"Minister Burke’s decision yesterday demonstrates the inconsistency between a national policy seeking, for example, to open a new uranium market for Australian uranium miners in India and the practice of a national approvals system that makes it difficult for Australia to compete with other nations in building the production capacity required to supply new customers," Angwin noted.

"It’s time governments acknowledged the very good performance of our industry and made that the criterion for removing the discriminatory treatment we receive," concluded Angwin.

Image: Delay in approval for Wiluna uranium project has elicited response from the Australian uranium industry. Photo: Toro Energy Limited.