The Port of Gladstone.
The Port of Gladstone. Brenda Strong/File photo

Govt not opposed to uranium being shipped over reef

THE State Government is not opposed in principle to uranium being shipped from a Queensland port through the Great Barrier Reef, Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps says.

Mr Cripps was commenting on Monday after a six-person Uranium Implementation Committee returned its report to the government after three months of work, widely supporting an end to a 24-year ban on the industry.

The committee estimated Queensland major uranium deposits were worth about $10 billion - much of that near Mt Isa in the state's far west.

Mr Cripps said in the event there were commercially viable amounts of uranium produced in Queensland, and if an application came forward for a port to be licensed, it would undergo a rigorous assessment process through state and federal legislation.

The six-person "independent" committee, chaired by Central Highlands regional councillor Paul Bell, found the state's existing system for regulating mining and radiation safety was appropriate for uranium mining and a new legislative framework was not necessary.

The committee recommended using already authorised ports in Adelaide and Darwin to export Queensland uranium, because authorising a Queensland port such as Townsville would necessitate going through the federal government approval process.

 When asked last year where the Port of Gladstone fell in the uranium import and exportation equation, Mr Newman made it clear no decision had been made.

"Let's be very clear. Firstly, there is no decision on anything in relation to the logistics and port arrangements for uranium mining in Queensland," Mr Newman said.

"It could, for example, go through the port of Darwin ...of course I'd love to go through the Queensland ports, but we'll see what happens." 

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