Anti mining minister approves Australia's fourth uranium mine
Peter Garrett is perhaps better known as the lead singer of rock band Midnight Oil whose songs like Blue Sky Mine railed against mining - now as Australian Environment Minister in the Rudd Federal Government he has approved Australia's fourth uranium mine.
Posted: Tuesday , 14 Jul 2009
Junior partner in the Four Mile uranium project, Alliance Resources Ltd (ASX: AGS) announced today that Canberra had approved the development of Four Mile, a major discovery in the shadow of the Flinders Range in South Australia's north.
The project is a joint venture between 25% owner Alliance Resources and Quasar Resources, the exploration arm of Heathgate Resources which operates the nearby Beverley in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium mine. Heathgate is owned by the diverse United States company General Atomics.
While the uranium boom has thrown up many contenders to be the next cab off the Australian uranium rank, Four Mile was the clear leader - given the dramatic growth of reserves and being on the doorstep of the major owner's ISR plant.
The Four Mile West deposit has a reserve of 3.9 million lbs grading 0.37% uranium oxide for 32 million lbs of contained U308. The larger Four Mile East target is less intensely drilled and does not have an established reserve.
The blueprint is to bring Four Mile into production in 2010, initially at 1.5 million lbs U308 per annum, then doubling and on commissioning the Four Mile East area output could rise to 4.5 million lbs pa.
Peter Garrett's statement today could hardly be described as effusive, despite the fact the Australian Government and the pro mining State of South Australia want to see more mining projects to help arrest the country from sliding into recession.
"I have not taken this decision lightly," Garrett said.
"As with all proposals examined under national environmental law, this mine was subject to a comprehensive, scientifically-robust and transparent assessment process."
He said he has imposed some stringent conditions, including a rigorous monitoring reqime to "demonstrate the agreed environmental outcomes are being met by the mine operators."
Processing waste disposal from the new mine would occur at the existing Beverley mine.