Cameco secures environmental approval for uranium mine in WA

Cameco Australia has been handed federal environmental approval for the Yeelirrie uranium project in Western Australia after a ‘complex’ two-year process.

The controversial project has now been greenlit by the Department of Environment and Energy, following an approval by the Western Australian Government in January 2017.

However, the state approval of the proposed mine is still being fought in the state’s Supreme Court by members of the Tjiwarl traditional owners.

Nonetheless, Cameco considers that both approvals involve ‘comprehensive conditions’ to ensure the project is responsibly managed.

“We have worked with the department over the two-year process to demonstrate how we will reduce and manage any environmental risks,” said Cameco general manager Simon Williamson.

“While we are happy to have this approval in place, current market conditions are challenging, and we expect them to remain so in the near term.”

Cameco is the world’s largest uranium producer and acquired the Yeelirrie project from BHP in 2012. Development of the mine would involve the clearing of up to 2,422 hectares of native vegetation.

Furthermore, development of the mine would cause groundwater levels to drop by 50cm, and they would not completely recover for 200 years, according to Cameco’s environmental reports.