Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

The Hon Tony Burke MP

Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Wiluna Uranium Project Approved

Media release
2 April 2013

Federal environment minister Tony Burke has approved, with 36 strict conditions, the Wiluna uranium project in Western Australia.

Mr Burke said with the conditions in place he is satisfied that the Wiluna project can go ahead without unacceptable impacts on the environment both during mining operations and beyond the life of the mine.

"My decision comes after a rigorous environmental assessment," Mr Burke said.

"In considering the proposal I received expert advice from Geoscience Australia, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, and the Supervising Scientist.

"These expert agencies provided advice to ensure that the proposal meets world's best practice environmental standards for uranium mining, and that the risks to the environment, including risks from radiation and to groundwater and surface water, can be acceptably managed.

"I have also considered public comments made throughout the assessment process in making my decision.

"The 36 strict conditions I have put in place will guard against any negative impacts from radiation or to groundwater and surface water, and include precautions to ensure that once the mine is closed, the site is safe for humans and animals, and is non-polluting.

"The measures that the company will use to achieve these requirements must all be detailed in an extensive and thorough environmental management plan which I must be satisfied with and approve before substantial works on the project can begin.

"The plan must describe how compliance with conditions will be achieved, and what action will be taken if conservative thresholds are exceeded."

Mr Burke said the Australian and Western Australian governments had worked together to share expertise and ensure conditions provide a high level of environmental protection.

More information is available at http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/epbc/epbc_ap.pl?name=current_referral_detail&proposal_id=5174