09/03/2009 - 10:19

Paladin buoyed by Qld election promise

09/03/2009 - 10:19

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Shares in uranium miner Paladin Energy have nudged higher after the Liberal National Party indicated it will allow uranium mining in Queensland.

Paladin buoyed by Qld election promise

Shares in uranium miner Paladin Energy have nudged higher after the Liberal National Party indicated it will allow uranium mining in Queensland.

Paladin Energy holds a 90.95 per cent interest in the Mount Isa Uranium joint venture, which owns the Valhalla and Skal uranium projects in Queensland.

It has also acquired the Valhalla North uranium project following its acquisition of Perth-based Fusion Resources last week.

Queensland opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg today gave his strongest support yet for lifting the state's ban on uranium mining.

Mr Springborg said that it if it passed the necessary environmental hurdles, a LNP government would give it the green light.

"I see absolutely no sense in cutting off job opportunities for Queenslanders when just across the border in the Northern Territory, in South Australia, in Western Australia, thousands of Australians are being employed in the uranium industry under Labor governments," Mr Springborg told reporters in Mount Isa, in Queensland's far northwest.

"Why should Queenslanders not have this job opportunity in a time of economic downturn and why should the royalties be denied to this state?"

The Queensland government allows exploration for uranium, and has approved permits as recently as December 11.

Labor's regional conference is to debate the issue after the ALP federal conference supported uranium mining, and Mount Isa's Labor MP Betty Keirnan has broken ranks and supported the industry.

Premier Anna Bligh last week maintained her objection to uranium mining, saying it would require huge upfront capital for infrastructure, and would only create about 150 jobs.

But Mr Springborg said Ms Bligh continued to grant permits for exploration, and was not being "upfront" on the issue.

"Labor's hopelessly divided. They're going to have a real ding-dong at their conference next year," he said.

"There are thousands of jobs involved in this in the ongoing mining of it and the jobs created downstream."

Mr Springborg had no timeframe for when a uranium mining industry could begin.

The Greens challenged Mr Springborg to say whether his plan would also include nuclear power stations.

Greens MP Ronan Lee - who defected from the ALP last year over its environmental credentials - said the two industries went hand-in-hand.

"You can't dig up uranium without having a plan for nuclear power stations," Mr Lee said.

"Lawrence Springborg needs to come clean about where he will place these power stations.

"Is it his intention, as (former prime minister) John Howard's plan was, to build a nuclear power station on the Sunshine Coast, one on Bribie Island, one near Townsville, one near Cairns?"

Mr Lee said the LNP's position would paint it into a corner with environment-minded voters, and could influence Greens preferences.

The Greens have yet to make a decision on preferences, which could determine the outcome of some marginal seats at the March 21 poll.

Wildlife Queensland spokesman Des Boyland said uranium mining fed the nuclear weapons industry and there was still no solution to nuclear waste.

Mr Boyland said alternative energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal, would create many more jobs than a nuclear industry.

Shares in Paladin climbed nine cents or 3.2 per cent to an intraday high of $2.92 before closing unchanged at $2.83today.

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