Published on Monday October 22 2012 (AEST)
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced he is ending the state's decades-long ban on uranium mining. The State Government decision reverses the position Mr Newman's Liberal National Party took to the election in March. Uranium has not been mined in Queensland since the closure of the Mary Kathleen mine in the state's north-west in 1982.
The Queensland Resources Council says Queensland holds about $18 billion worth of known uranium reserves, mostly in the state's north-west. Announcing the decision today, Mr Newman said the Federal Government's decision to press ahead with plans to sell uranium to India had sparked renewed interest in the sector.
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The Uranium Mining Association immediately welcomed the surprise announcement.
PREMIER Campbell Newman has announced an end to the 30-year ban on uranium mining in Queensland, appointing a three-person committee to oversee its resumption.
The announcement follows a State Cabinet meeting in Goondiwindi, where the government discussed a policy review of the uranium mining ban.
Mr Newman said they agreed to allow the recommencement of uranium mining, following "sustained public debate on uranium mining in Queensland and strong support for the uranium industry from the Federal Labor Government".
"The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has just been in India selling the benefits of Australian-produced uranium to India, prompting many in the community to ask about the industry's potential in Queensland," said the Premier.
"It's been 30-years since there was uranium mining in this State and in that time the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia have carved out successful uranium industries that deliver jobs and properity to their regions."
Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said with Queensland's known uranium deposits worth an estimated $10 billion, the industry had enormous potential to support economic growth, particularly in regional North Queensland.
Mr Cripps said the State Government would not consider nuclear energy production or nuclear waste disposal plants in Queensland as part of the recommencement of uranium mining.
Uranium mining has not occurred in Queensland since 1982 and has been effectively prohibited since the election of the Goss Labor Government in 1989.
Exploration for uranium has not been subject to the prohibition and there has been significant continuing interest from the industry in exploring for uranium in the State.