19/11/2008 - 09:09

Uranex, EMA join in praising WA Gov

19/11/2008 - 09:09

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Uranium exploration companies, Uranex NL and Energy and Minerals Australia have joined the collective voice of uranium mining groups, politicians and business lobby groups in applauding the Western Australian government's decision to lift the ban on urani

Uranex, EMA join in praising WA Gov

Uranium exploration companies, Uranex NL and Energy and Minerals Australia have joined the collective voice of uranium mining groups, politicians and business lobby groups in applauding the Western Australian government's decision to lift the ban on uranium mining in the state.

Uranex said the early decision underpins the company's move to commence the current scoping study on its Thatcher Soak Project within the 'calcrete uranium province' in WA.

A pre-feasibility study is planned immediately following detailed review of the scoping study results and is currently expected to commence in the second calendar quarter 2009.

EMA is the owner of the Mulga Rock uranium deposits which forms the largest Australian uranium project not controlled by either BHP Billiton or Rio Tinto.

EMA managing director, Chris Davis said the timing of the announcement is ideal for the company.

"We are on track to announce an initial uranium resource for the Mulga Rock Deposit to JORC Code standard, before year end," Mr Davis said.

"Mulga Rock is ideally positioned in close proximity to established transport and utilities infrastructure. This decision allows us to fast-track the development of a uranium mine."

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia chief executive, Reg Howard-Smith, agreed the lift of the ban will allow the state to enjoy long-term benefit from additional royalties, expanded employment opportunities, and allow the state to expand its position as a key supplier of low-emissions fuels in the international fight against climate change.

"This is an opportunity for Western Australia to benefit from strong long-term international demand for uranium for power generation that is forecast to continue from China, India and several European countries," Mr Howard-Smith said.

"Like the mining of other energy and mineral commodities in Western Australia, the mining of uranium must be subject to strict safety, environmental and security regulations. It is important that any new regulations are promulgated as soon as possible.

"The State must also ensure that government agencies are well resourced with appropriate skills to manage these issues, and that the public are provided accurate information with which to form opinions," he said.

Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesperson Helen Coonan said the state government's reversal on the ban of uranium mining has renewed debate over the Rudd Government's refusal to sell uranium to India.

"Some estimates of Australia's uranium reserves suggest that, were we to access our potential reserves, Australia could eliminate about 11 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2030," Senator Coonan said in a statement.

"The Labor Government's mindless ideological opposition on uranium is damaging Australia's capacity to engage more strategically with India, at a time when other countries, including the US, have been satisfied about the safeguards.

"It is in our economic and strategic interests to reverse the Government's decision not to sell uranium to India for peaceful purposes."

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies acting executive director, Sonia Webster also congratulated the Premier and Mines Minister Norman Moore and said the Cabinet decision would start a lucrative long-term revenue stream that will deliver a net benefit to all Western Australians for generations to come.

WA's peak business lobby group, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia, similarly supported the move by the state government.

CCIWA executive director industry policy, Trevor Lovelle said the decision comes at a time when governments throughout the world are looking to stimulate economic growth and business investment in response to the current global economic uncertainty.

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