Wiluna Uranium Project extension given go-ahead
The Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority has recommended approval for Toro Energy’s Wiluna Uranium Project extension.
The approval comes after a green light was given to mine both the Centipede and Lake Way deposits and establish a processing plant at the Centipede mine site.
The Wiluna Uranium Project extension recommendation expands the approvals to incorporate mining of the Millipede and Lake Maitland deposits, and construction of a haul road between Lake Maitland and the approved processing facility at Centipede.
Toro’s Managing Director Dr Vanessa Guthrie welcomed the recommendation of the EPA.
“Following completion of our mining agreement with the Wiluna People in July, this represents a further significant advance in our project planning,” Dr Guthrie said.
“Toro initiated the environmental assessment of the extended project in early 2014, which has been undertaken by the EPA in a very comprehensive and rigorous manner.
“The assessment represents a further two and a half years of substantive scientific studies including those key environmental factors identified by both government and through public submissions as being of importance to the community and environment.”
The EPA decision is now open to appeal for a two-week period.
The Minerals Council of Australia has welcomed the progress made by Toro Energy, as well as Cameco Australia and Vimy Resources in moving their projects through the WA EPA environmental review process and achieving objective assessments of their uranium projects.
Daniel Zavattiero, Executive Director – Uranium, said it is “pleasing to see independent, science-based analysis of uranium projects and their environmental impact”.
“These reviews come after the comprehensive report in May of the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission which outlined how South Australia could safely increase its participation in nuclear industries,” Mr Zavattiero said.
“It is significant that scientifically-based assessments of Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rocks project and Toro Energy’s Wiluna Stage II project have seen both recommended for approval by the WA EPA.
“In a third project – Cameco Australia’s Yeelirrie project – the EPA flagged a concern around subterranean fauna completely unrelated to the production and handling of uranium per se or radiation management. It found that eight of the nine key environmental factors at Yeelirrie can be managed to meet the EPA’s objectives.
“On one factor, subterranean fauna, the EPA was not satisfied with what was proposed. EPA Chairman Tom Hatton confirmed that the EPA’s recommendation ‘… had nothing to do with uranium or radiation’.
“Cameco Australia believes that with further sampling and research, subterranean fauna can be appropriately managed at Yeelirrie and they will work with government agencies and stakeholders to find a way forward.”
Mr Zavattiero said the EPA’s findings on these three uranium projects show that the bans on uranium mining in Queensland, NSW and Victoria are “out-dated” and “not justified”.
“Uranium can be mined, transported and exported in an environmentally safe manner,” he said.