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Mine approvals highlight confidence

Yeelirrie Uranium Project site
Yeelirrie Uranium Project site

Commodity prices might be low, but that is not stopping mining companies from preparing for the next radioactive resource boom and creating some 1500 jobs.

After a thorough, lengthy and rigorous environmental evaluation process the Western Australian Government approved Cameco’s Yeelirrie Uranium Project, 660km northeast of Perth. The approval follows the State Government’s recent approval of Vimy’s Mulga Rocks Uranium Project, Toro Energy’s Wiluna Uranium Project plus Cameco’s Kintyre Project. If all projects proceed, they could create some 1500 jobs.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) praised the approvals as a clear sign that mining companies are seeing past challenging market conditions and preparing for the next mining boom.

“They are important steps in readying these projects for when new production is required to meet market demand,” MCA uranium executive director Daniel Zavattiero says.

“Australia with almost a third of global uranium resources, is producing around a tenth of world production. There is an opportunity to expand uranium production and exports as the global nuclear industry expands in the decades ahead … readying uranium projects for when the market calls for additional volumes to be brought online is critical in Australia expanding its share and reaping the benefits of jobs and additional export revenue. Australia’s uranium industry applauds the great news from the WA government and congratulates Cameco Australia, Vimy Resources and Toro Energy in obtaining state government approvals for their projects.”

The Yeelirrie Project will require capital and operating costs of $5 billion, and employ an average of 225 people during operation plus 1200 people during construction. The mine will have an operational lifespan of 18 years.

The Environmental Protection Authority believes the project is acceptable for eight of nine key environmental factors, including protecting human health, but recommends against approval because there is potential for the loss of species of stygofauna and troglofauna in the project area. Stygofauna and troglofauna are small creatures that live permanently underground in water and soils.

The three projects raised no concerns regarding radiation and radiation management.

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