Uranium mine ban under new pressure

Uranium mine ban under new pressure

Premier Alan Carpenter has come under renewed pressure to lift the ban on uranium mining after new research estimated an expansion of the uranium industry would help cut up to 15 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases and deliver a $27 billion boost to the economy.

Federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson released a report yesterday which estimated that if WA and Queensland allowed uranium mining, between 11 billion tonnes and 15 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions would be avoided globally up to 2030.

The study, commissioned by the Australian Uranium Association, said the greenhouse gases would not be produced because the extra uranium would be used instead of coal to generate electricity.

The paper also forecast incredible economic consequences if the two States allowed mining, saying that even with limited amounts of new mining taking place, Australia’s gross domestic product would be $26.8 billion higher than otherwise by 2030.

It said that under that same limited mining, about an extra 300 jobs would be created in WA each year between 2010 and 2030. Michael Angwin, spokesman for the AUA, claimed the report was evidence that an expansion of uranium mining would have not only fantastic economic benefits but also huge environmental benefits.

“These scenarios are based on moderate global action to address climate change,” he said. “If deeper action were required, the Australian uranium industry could play a larger role with more substantial economic benefits for Australia,” he said.

Consulting firm Deloitte, which wrote the report, said it made its calculations from data given to it by the AUA.

“Australia’s share of global resources (of uranium) exceeds Saudi Arabia’s share of the world’s oil resources,” the report said. “An aspiration for Australia to become a so-called energy superpower does not look misplaced.”

Asked if he believed that Mr Carpenter should review the State ban because of the report, a spokeswoman for Mr Ferguson refused to comment, saying only: “The reality is there are no mining plans on the table in WA.”

The WA Government has imposed the ban partly on the basis that the State would come under pressure to accept radioactive waste if it exported uranium.


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