Ura­nium bid puts La­bor un­der pump

Pilbara News - - News - Daniel Mercer

A WA ura­nium min­ing com­pany backed by Andrew For­rest says it would be “flab­ber­gasted” if its plans to de­velop one of Aus­tralia’s big­gest yel­low­cake mines were blocked by the State Gov­ern­ment.

Amid a stoush within the La­bor Party over whether to al­low projects given en­vi­ron­men­tal sign-off by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, Vimy Resources said it had been led to be­lieve its de­vel­op­ment would be able to pro­ceed.

Vimy wants to de­velop one of the coun­try’s big­gest un­tapped ura­nium de­posits by build­ing a ura­nium mine at Mulga Rock in the east­ern Gold­fields.

The project is one of four WA pro­pos­als that have been caught up in in­ter­nal La­bor bick­er­ing over whether ura­nium mines ap­proved by the Bar­nett gov­ern­ment should go ahead.

Un­der La­bor pol­icy, the party is op­posed to ura­nium min­ing, ex­cept for projects that have been given “fi­nal ap­provals”.

But Pre­mier Mark McGowan has re­peat­edly de­clined to spell out what this con­sti­tutes.

Af­ter Mines Min­is­ter Bill John­ston said “those projects ap­proved by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment would be able to pro­ceed”, the party’s Left fac­tion led by the Aus­tralian Man­u­fac­tur­ing Work­ers Union tried to shoot down the re­mark.

Vimy chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Young noted that the en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval granted to Mulga Rock by former en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cob in De­cem­ber was a whole-of-gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion en­dorsed by Cab­i­net.

Mr Young said en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval was the ul­ti­mate “pri­mary” ap­proval and, as such, he would be stag­gered if the new Gov­ern­ment re­neged on it.

“(Min­is­ter John­ston’s com­ments)... were com­pletely con­sis­tent with the public com­ments that Mr McGowan had made and they were en­tirely con­sis­tent with dis­cus­sions we’d had with La­bor,” he said.

“We’re oper­at­ing un­der that premise.”

De­spite the en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­proval, Mr Young said Vimy would un­likely be in a po­si­tion to de­velop Mulga Rock un­til the ura­nium price im­proved.

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