28 September 2010 - NT decision on Angela Pamela causes uncertainty

The Australian Uranium Association says it is surprising and disappointing that the Northern Territory Government had departed from its own regulatory processes regarding the Angela Pamela uranium exploration project near Alice Springs.

The Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Angwin, said the NT Government appeared to have pre-empted its own processes.

“The fact that the Chief Minister has withdrawn support from a project his Government has actively encouraged, and whose development is proceeding according to Government processes, creates great uncertainty and may give rise to considerable sovereign risk,” Mr Angwin said.

He said all mining projects, including uranium projects, should be assessed on their merits. Commonwealth, State and Territory assessment processes are designed to ensure this occurs.

“Only when the decision-making process is based exclusively on merit can mining companies, local stakeholders and the broad community be certain that the process is worth having confidence in,” he said.

“In this case the NT Government is withdrawing its support for a project that it initiated, even before there is a mine project to assess and before a merit-based assessment process has begun.”

Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson this morning said his Government would not support the establishment of a uranium mine at Angela Pamela.

He made the announcement in a joint statement with Labor’s candidate in the up-coming by-election in Araluen, which includes Alice Springs.

“The Angela Pamela Project is an exploration project. It is not a mine proposal. There is no decision required by the Northern Territory Government.

“The companies who were invited by the Northern Territory Government to assess the prospect at Angela Pamela continue to do so in good faith,” Mr Angwin said.

“We are aware that some concerns about the project have been raised in the Alice Springs community, yet in the absence of a mine proposal triggering a review process there is no basis for the Government to make a judgment about the merits of those concerns or how they might be addressed,” Mr Angwin said.

“Departing from this process creates general uncertainty, because if the Government can depart so readily from one set of processes, you have to wonder what confidence you can have about Northern Territory processes in general.”

He noted that Chief Minister Henderson had reiterated the NT Government’s support for uranium mining generally and for the development of uranium mines elsewhere in the Territory.