UPDATE ENERGY WATCH: Western Australia’s First Uranium Mine Project Runs Behind Schedule
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | July 19, 2012 5:45 PM EST
The rigorous environmental assessment phase had compelled Toro Energy Ltd to push back and revise its initial target date for a final board decision on what could be Western Australia's first uranium mine project.
The company on Thursday announced it has moved to the first half of 2013 its final board decision on whether to proceed with its Wiluna project in central WA, from an earlier target date of end 2012.
"Achieving WA State and Federal Environmental Approval of the Wiluna Uranium Project is the prime focus of the company, and is a precursor to the financing of the project. This remains Toro's number one focus," Greg Hall, Managing Director, said during the Australian Uranium conference on Thursday.
In May, Toro Energy Ltd received from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) the go ahead to push through with the construction and development of its Wiluna mine in the Mid West region. As expected, it faced a lot of objections and criticisms, appeals of which are now being reviewed by WA environment minister Bill Marmion.
The company expects a final environmental decision would be made by end September.
"We anticipate WA State and Federal Government decisions on the Project by the fourth quarter of this year," he said.
"While the process engineering phase of the Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) has been completed, we will delay the engineering design and costing phase of the DFS until after Government decisions on the project."
Toro Energy Ltd.'s proposal will become WA's uranium mine project, five years after a ban was lifted that constricted uranium mining in the area. Overall, the proposed mine will become Australia's fifth operating uranium mine.
The company forecasts a 1200 tonne a year uranium oxide production from Wiluna. Its projected mine lifespan is up to 14 years.
Opponents to the project such as the Conservation Council of Western Australia said they disapprove the mine's construction because apart from environmental causes, it does not trust Toro Energy Ltd. because it "has no track record in successfully operating uranium mines."
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