Australia's Queensland resumes uranium mining

Australia's Queensland resuming uranium mining

Industrial platform for uranium production.

The Queensland State Government in Australia revealed Thursday it will begin accepting applications for uranium mining, vowing it will not be exported via any of the state’s ports.

State premier Campbell Newman also announced plans to reopen the abandoned Mary Kathleen Mine, which has remained closed since 1982. The idea behind the move is to unlock “significant deposits” of rare earth elements, according to the document.

Uranium mining was banned in Queensland in 1983. Exploration was gradually allowed again, but with severe restrictions on development and production. Then downturn hit the industry, causing massive job losses and Newman decided he was ready to stop the ban.

According to the government, the uranium sector has the potential to create a large number of construction and operational jobs.

“More jobs are now being created in Queensland than in any other state and the return of uranium mining will help ensure we remain Australia’s jobs powerhouse for the long term,” Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said in a statement.

Nuclear energy production and waste disposal will remain banned.

Prices for the radioactive commodity are at a nine-year low, falling 60% since the 2011 Fukushima disaster. They hit a low on May 19 at $28 per pound, the lowest since May 2005. And they are still hovering there, down 18% this year alone.

Image by AlexKZ