Article – Nod for second WA uranium mine

by 5 May 2015

24 April 2015
Peter Klinger
The West Australian

Cameco and its partner Mitsubishi have received Federal environmental approval to develop the Kintyre uranium mine in the eastern Pilbara.

Although development plans are on hold because of the weak uranium price, Cameco today welcomed the approval from Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt, which followed the sign-off from WA Environment Minister Albert Jacob last month.

Federal approval includes conditions covering radiation, ground and surface water, terrestrial fauna and mine closure, which are required to be met before mining can commence.

“Cameco welcomes Minister Hunt’s approval of Kintyre and will ensure all regulatory conditions are met,” Cameco Australia managing director Brian Reilly said.

“We are confident the project can be safely constructed, operated and decomissioned in a way which maintains the ecological functions and environmental values in the area.”

He said the Federal approval followed the highest and most thorough level of environmental impact assessment and more than four years of extensive community consultation and rigorous environmental and technical studies.

Mr Reilly said Cameco was taking prudent steps to prepare its Australian projects for a development decision when market conditions signal new uranium production is required.

“For Kintyre, this means continuing to build strong relationships with stakeholders and identifying additional resources to improve the economics of the project,” Mr Reilly said.

Canadian uranium giant Cameco owns 70 per cent of Kintyre and is the project operator.

Cameco is the second WA uranium project to receive environmental approval, trailing only Toro Energy’s smaller Wiluna proposal.

Federal Opposition resources spokesman Gary Gray welcomed the environmental approval

“(It) brings forward the possibility of WA opening up uranium mining,” Mr Gray said.

“This decision plus Toro is very good for WA and for the portfolio of metals produced by WA mining.

“Since Labor opened the door for exports to India, the market has become more positive.”

WA mines and petroleum minister Bill Marmion also welcomed Mr Hunt’s decision.

“This marks another important step forward for Western Australia’s uranium industry,” he said.

The project is subject to conditions including that it must commence within five years, comply with strict reporting conditions, make environmental data publicly available and take extensive fauna protection measures.

Mr Marmion said the State Government was committed to responsibly developing the uranium industry and that West Australians should be reassured by WA’s robust safety and environmental regulations.

The State now has four uranium projects in the advanced stages of development.

“More than $300 million has been invested in WA uranium exploration since the Liberal National Government lifted the mining ban in 2008,” Mr Marmion said.

“With positive signs for a price recovery, including recent progress on an export agreement between Australia and India, these mines could be exporting $1 billion worth of uranium by 2020.

“Importantly, they will generate more than 1500 jobs during the construction phases and 500 jobs once in production.”

The work camp at Cameco s Kintyre uranium project in the East Pilbara.

Courtesy of The West Australian

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