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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill says any application put forward for new uranium mines will be assessed under the strictest environmental guidelines.
Senator Hill has reaffirmed his position that protection of the environment is a high priority under the Howard Government.
Applications will be assessed in regards to their location and their environmental impact, and in relation to international nuclear safeguards. No mine will proceed that fails strict environmental standards.
The Government will also specifically fulfil its obligations with regard to World Heritage listings.
The Minister has requested an official briefing paper from his department in relation to possible applications for new mines. The paper should be available shortly.
A document quoted from this morning's newspapers is not a briefing paper to Senator Hill. The Department advises that it is a background document held in the Office of the Supervising Scientist.
The Department advises that information in the document pre-dates the Howard Government and is no more that a running sheet of the various proposals which have been put forward to previous governments.
In relation to Jabiluka, the document refers to an underground proposal by Pan Continental in 1979, noting that this would have less impact on the environment than an open cut mine.
While making this point, the document highlights other problems associated with such a proposal and it is misleading to suggest that document indicates that approval could be given to such a proposal
The Minister has reaffirmed that he believes Kakadu is a beautiful and fragile part of Australia's natural environment which must be preserved and protected.
For further comment contact Matt Brown on 015 396 773.