North Queensland could soon be hub of uranium mining in Queensland

Mary Kathleen mineNorth Queensland could soon see it’s first working uranium mine in decades with the state government announcing it’s ready to accept applications for uranium mine projects.

Mines Minister Andrew Cripps today released the government’s  framework for uranium mining, designed to,  “to ensure Queensland’s future uranium mines will adhere to the world’s best environmental protection and safety standards.”

Minister Cripps also announced the release of the abandoned Mary Kathleen Mine, near Mount Isa, for competitive tender for rare earths exploration.

“More jobs are now being created in Queensland than in any other state and the return of uranium mining will help ensure we remain Australia’s jobs powerhouse for the long term,” Mr Cripps said.

“The uranium industry has the potential to generate significant development in North Queensland, as well as royalties to fund school and health services, roads and public infrastructure.

“Each new uranium project has the potential to create a large number of construction and operational jobs.”

He said the release of Mary Kathleen Mine would unlock significant deposits of rare earth elements known to exist at the site, which was closed in 1982.

“This competitive tender process will provide the successful tenderer with access to the high-value rare earths and other minerals present at the site,” Mr Cripps said.

Rare earth elements from this site could eventually be used in the manufacture of modern technologies such as mobile phones, flat-screen televisions, magnets, rechargeable batteries and defence systems.

“Unlocking Mary Kathleen means more long-term economic development and more job opportunities for communities in the north west of Queensland,” Mr Cripps said.

Mr Cripps said the Queensland Government was committed to ensuring uranium mining was conducted in a way that ensured environmental protection and community safety.

“We want the community to know our framework includes strict environmental, health and safety standards to ensure safe handling and transportation,” he said.

“It is now up to industry to decide when to lodge applications for uranium mining and those decisions will be influenced by a number of factors including global commodity prices, market supply and demand and mining costs.”

The inter-departmental Uranium Mining Oversight Committee will continue to provide general oversight of the uranium industry in Queensland.

Key elements to the regulation of uranium mining include:

  • Applications for uranium mining projects will be assessed by the Queensland Coordinator-General through the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971;
  • Environmental assessments and approvals for projects will be completed jointly by the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments;
  • Uranium will be exported through existing licensed ports in Darwin and South Australia (there are no ports in Queensland licensed for the export of uranium);
  • Export of uranium will only be permitted to countries that have a bilateral safeguard arrangement with Australia and only for peaceful purposes;
  • Nuclear energy production or waste disposal plants will not be permitted.

More information about the recommencement of uranium mining in Queensland is available at:www.dnrm.qld.gov.au/our-department/policies-initiatives/mining-resources/uranium-mining

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