Environment Minister Bill Marmion has approved the State’s first uranium mine, announcing today he has granted final environmental approval Toro Energy’s proposed mine near Wiluna.
In May, the Environmental Protection Authority recommended the approval of the project, which would produce about 820 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate each year over a life of 14 years.
Objections to the plan were largely rejected by the Office of the Appeals Convenor late last month, and Mr Marmion delivered the final State Government Approval early this afternoon, saying the mine would be subject to “a number of strict conditions”.
“In reaching this agreement I took into account comments made by agencies, including the Department of Environment and Conservation, resulting in even tighter conditions,” he said.
Mr Marmion said the new conditions would force Toro to better address surface water flow issues, dust management and rehabilitation.
In a statement released by Toro Energy managing director Greg Hall said the company was still awaiting final Federal Government approvals, but welcomed Mr Marmion’s decision.
Toro is yet to source funding for the estimated $280 million capital costs of the project, but is targeting first production by 2014.
Currently, WA has no operating uranium mines.
In 2008, the Liberal state government lifted a six-year ban on uranium mining that was imposed by the previous Labor government.
The Opposition still opposes uranium mining but says it will not stand in the way of any planned mine that has received approvals if the party wins the State election in March.
There are no other uranium projects in WA that would be fully environmentally approved by the time of the election.