4 August 2009 - 2,600 potential uranium jobs in Queensland - merit is the test


Current assessments by uranium companies of their labour needs suggest the Queensland Government is standing in the way of more than 2,600 new jobs by continuing its ban on uranium mining, the Australian Uranium Association said today.

With such strong jobs potential, the development of uranium mining in Queensland should face only the legal and environmental tests all other minerals undergo, the Executive Director of the AUA, Michael Angwin, said today.

“Currently, the Queensland Government appears to be ruling out uranium mining on the grounds that it creates too few jobs,” Mr Angwin said. 

“This is a test that would not be applied to any other economic activity in Queensland and shouldn’t be applied to uranium,” he said.  

“The Queensland Government should test its preconceptions about uranium by allowing each mine to be assessed on its merits. If a mine is approved on its merits, the jobs created have merit too, regardless of how many there are,” Mr Angwin said.

“On the basis of current assessments by uranium companies, the Queensland Government’s continuing ban on uranium mining is preventing the creation of 2,620 uranium jobs,” Mr Angwin said.The potential mines and their employment requirements are:

  • Valhalla deposit, Mt Isa Region: 800 full-time jobs averaged over 18 months in the construction phase; and 180 workers directly employed and 170 contractor and other jobs in operations
  • Ben Lomond, west of Townsville: 200 jobs in the construction phase; and 150 or more direct jobs in the operational phase plus 100 contracting jobs
  • Maureen, north Queensland:  200 jobs in construction, 100 or more direct operational jobs and 100 contracting jobs
  • Westmoreland deposit, north west Queensland: 330 jobs in construction, 230 mine site jobs and 60 more office and exploration jobs.

 “All up, that’s a total of 1,530 construction jobs and 1,090 direct mining and contracting jobs,” Mr Angwin said.

“There are other potential projects west of Townsville and around Mt Isa whose potential will continue to be developed and understood and the employment possibilities firmed up.  Currently, it is these projects, among others, that are responsible for the $30 million that is being spent annually on uranium exploration in Queensland,” he said.

“Uranium mining can add $1.5 billion to Queensland’s Gross State Product in the next 20 years and more than $200 million to government revenue.”

Queensland is the highest greenhouse emitting State in the country. Uranium exports from Queensland can avoid 1.1 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions by 2030, the equivalent of Queensland’s emissions for six or seven years.

Earlier estimates made by Deloitte-Insight Economics for the AUA of the employment effects of uranium mining in Queensland were made at the end of 2007 and based on the then current thinking about the deposits and about the nature and size of the mines that might be developed.

“Since 2007, further work has been done to understand the nature of the deposits and the resources, including the labour, needed to develop them. That is how mining development works. And that should be no surprise in a mining state like Queensland,” Mr Angwin said. 

The modelling done in 2007 was based on a conservative approach, he said.