A BHP Billiton copper/uranium/gold/silver processing plant near the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.
A BHP Billiton copper/uranium/gold/silver processing plant near the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia. AFPBHP BILLITON

No chance for uranium industry in Qld under Labor

THE Labor Government refuses to budge on its ban on uranium mining in Queensland and it is likely the state won't see a uranium industry for at least the next three years.

Even a hung parliament does not bring any hope; Katter's Australian Party member Robbie Katter said the ban was part of a regulation and could not be altered through Parliament.

Mr Katter said on Monday he strongly disagreed with Labor's commitment to ban uranium mining.

He said while the industry was not a big boost to mining royalties, it would benefit the parts of the state where uranium deposits were based, including the north west.

He also said it could open up the exploration of other metals, such as copper, that Queensland could benefit from.

A Federal Government document stated that in 2010-11 Australia exported almost 7000 tonnes of uranium, valued at $610 million.

The report said Australia had the world's largest share of uranium resources.

But another report, which environmental groups including Australian Conservation Foundation and Friends of the Earth put together, stated uranium accounted for 0.19% of Australia's export revenue and 0.015% of Australian jobs in 2011-12.

Last week Queensland Labor Treasurer Curtis Pitt reiterated the State Government's stance on uranium mining, saying there were concerns about containment, disposal and potential environmental damage.

He said Labor had gone to the past three elections with the same policy.

"I think the important thing is people want certainty and we are giving certainty with the decision," he said.

"People may well then wish to focus on investing in other parts of our economy. We think there are many other opportunities where people can invest."

But Mr Katter urged the party to reconsider its position, saying its position did not need to be straight down the line.

He said uranium mining in Queensland could only occur in one of the most remote parts of the state, where mines were already established.

"It is a different proposition to exploring new mines closer to populated and coastal areas," Mr Katter said. "I think it lends itself to some wiggle room in government."