AUA welcomes Federal approval of Olympic Dam expansion

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke’s decision to approve the expansion of the Olympic Dam mine is very welcome, the Australian Uranium Association said today.

“This is the third decision by the Federal Labor Government since 2007 to approve uranium projects using a review process informed by the country’s leading independent scientists and environmental experts,” said Michael Angwin, the Association’s CEO.

“It is appropriate that uranium projects be required to satisfy suitable environmental assessment criteria.

“It’s encouraging that Minister Burke has recognised that the Olympic Dam project will be conducted according to world-best practice in environmental management,” Mr Angwin said.

Minister Burke received expert advice on the proposed Olympic Dam expansion from Geoscience Australia; the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and the Office of the Supervising Scientist.

The project was also assessed by the South Australian, Northern Territory and Federal environment departments. Departments and the Minister took account of comments submitted during an extensive public consultation process on BHP Billiton’s initial and supplementary Environment Impact Statements.

Minister Burke’s predecessor as Environment Minister, Mr Peter Garrett, had previously approved the soon-to-be commissioned Honeymoon mine and the Beverley mine extension in South Australia after those projects underwent similar independent expert reviews.

Mr Angwin also noted that Mr Burke has announced a set of stringent conditions with which BHP Billiton will have to comply before any substantial work can begin on the mine expansion.