The ban on uranium mining in NSW is popular and prudent and should remain.
The proposed removal of a long-standing and popular ban on uranium mining in New South Wales is empty gesture politics that flies in the face of community interest and market reality, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said.
The global uranium price remains depressed following the Fukushima nuclear disaster and is not likely to recover.
“The nuclear power age is winding up, so it makes no sense for NSW to jump aboard a sinking ship,” said ACF nuclear campaigner Dave Sweeney.
“The ban is popular and has served NSW well, providing policy certainty and avoiding the radioactive waste and legacy mine issues affecting other places, including Kakadu, where a massive $1 billion clean-up is underway at the former Ranger mine.
“This is empty gesture politics that could lead to lower tier and inexperienced mining companies cutting corners and increasing environmental and community risk.
“This poorly conceived plan puts political posturing above community benefit and could lead to increased pollution and risk for NSW communities and environment for scant gain.
“NSW’s energy future is renewable, not radioactive – this tired political fix is no substitute for a credible and effective energy policy.
“Deputy Premier Barilaro might see this as in the Nationals’ interest, but it is certainly not in the national interest.”
In November 2019 the CEO of the world’s largest uranium miner, Canadian company Cameco, stated, “Not only does it not make sense to invest in future primary supply, even the lowest-cost producers are deciding to preserve long-term value by leaving uranium in the ground.”
The global market is over supplied as existing producers exit or defer projects and higher-grade uranium ore deposits remain in the ground across Australia and around the world.