The reintroduction of a ban on uranium mining in Queensland will stifle jobs growth in the state’s northwest, the resources sector says.
The Palaszczuk government has confirmed it will once again prohibit the mining of uranium after the Liberal National Party (LNP) had lifted the decades-old ban.
Uranium mining was prohibited in Queensland in 1989 but hasn’t taken place since 1982, when the Mary Kathleen mine near Mount Isa ceased production.
Former mines minister Andrew Cripps had said the renewed industry would be subject to a robust framework to ensure future mines met world-best environmental protection and safety standards.
The ban, imposed by Labor in the 1980s, was “purely ideological” and it was time for the state to reap the benefits of its reserves, he had said.
But companies will still be allowed to apply for generic exploration permits despite the ban’s reintroduction, Labor natural resources minister Dr Anthony Lynham says.
The move was disappointing but not surprising, the Queensland Resources Council said.
“Rather than a blanket ban, the better option would be to judge each project on its merits and against the regulatory framework for uranium,” CEO Michael Roche said.
“Reimposition of a blanket ban on uranium mining will come as a particular disappointment to the people of northwest Queensland, who rightly see uranium mining as a valuable new jobs generator for the region.”
Mr Roche urged the government to consider allowing uranium projects only in the northwest of the state, where the more valuable deposits are located.
Uranium was set to be exported through existing licensed ports in Darwin and South Australia.
There are no ports in Queensland licensed for the export of uranium.