Stockpiled ore loaded onto a Haul Truck Ranger mine. Mining operations at ERA's Ranger Uranium Mine, including rehabilitation and revegetation at Jabiluka — November 2016. Picture: ERA
Stockpiled ore loaded onto a Haul Truck Ranger mine. Mining operations at ERA's Ranger Uranium Mine, including rehabilitation and revegetation at Jabiluka — November 2016. Picture: ERA

Queensland ‘missing out’ on multi-billion dollar boost

Queensland is missing out on a multibillion-dollar addition to our resources and energy industry which would also lower global emissions, because of bans on uranium mining.

The current House of Representatives inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia is looking at the possibility that Queensland uranium could be mined sustainability and economically.

The most recent valuation estimated Queensland’s uranium deposits to be worth about $10 billion.

To put it into perspective, Queensland is literally sitting on billions of dollars of value to our local communities and our economy. But the ban on uranium mining prevents us from reaping the benefit of regional jobs, investment and royalty taxes. Queensland’s uranium reserves are not only a valuable export, but they also have a role to play in delivering reliable and low-emissions power.

Both the BP Energy Outlook 2019 and the International Energy Agency recognise that nuclear energy has a role to play in making significant reductions to global greenhouse gas emissions. Under the advanced emissions reductions scenarios modelling in both reports, nuclear energy use will grow between 2.3 per cent to 7 per cent each year through to 2040.

There are already more than 316,000 jobs associated with the Queensland resources industry, and more than 70 per cent of them are in regional Queensland, especially Central Queensland.

Uranium mining would provide an opportunity to add to those jobs and support new jobs in other industries such as refining and manufacturing.

A growing uranium industry will also support the State’s North West Minerals Province. An increase in uranium exploration or development will increase the state of knowledge of Queensland’s resource endowment.

Queensland has an abundance of energy options, including coal, gas, solar and uranium for nuclear energy. It is sensible for this review to take place to look at the long-term options for uranium exports, and in the longer-term, nuclear energy generation.