26 Aug Uranium mining ban in NSW set to be lifted
The Berejiklian government is set to end a 34-year ban on uranium mining in New South Wales with a new bill expected to be tabled in parliament in the near future.
One Nation’s Mark Latham began the process by tabling a nuclear power bill in the upper house this week and it was expected the LNP State Government would support the bill. Instead, the LNP Cabinet is expected to table its own bill.
Uranium mining has been banned in New South Wales since the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act 1986 (NSW) was introduced. This continued until 2012 when the Mining Legislation Amendment (Uranium Exploration) Bill 2012 was introduced, allowing for uranium exploration was permitted again.
Now fresh legislation is expected that could potentially revive the uranium mining industry and allow NSW to export uranium to countries that produce nuclear power.
There are large known deposits of uranium in NSW including in the Dubbo and Broken Hill regions, but any new legislation, exploration and ultimately mining might be held up by the current global price of uranium.
It has slowly been recovering since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan which saw a tsunami critically damage a Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, Fukushima.
What would uranium mining mean for FIFO workers?
Cameco’s Kintyre project in Western Australia is a prime example of the benefits of re-opening uranium mining in Australia.
It has been given conditional approval to proceed and will include a uranium mine and associated treatment facilities as well as 450 jobs – at least half of which will be made up of FIFO positions.
Re-opening the uranium mining industry across the country is providing assurances to many FIFO workers who are unsure what the future holds because of the current COVID-19 global pandemic.
Global mining consultancy service Mining International founder Rob Tyson is optimistic, saying while many industries will see large volumes of jobs lost, the mining industry is “holding its own”.
“For example, gold mining is going to increase, and maybe copper,” he said.
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