Uranium is unwanted, unsafe and uneconomic.

Media Release 15 March 2024

Nuclear Free WA, the Conservation Council of WA and the Australian Manufacturers Workers Union have hit back at the Liberal Party announcement that they intend to lift the uranium ban in WA.

Nuclear Free WA co-convenor Mia Pepper has said “the Liberal party’s ideological position on uranium mining and all things nuclear is a dangerous distraction from the renewable energy opportunities in WA.”

“This week we saw huge floods ravage inland WA. The rain hit all four of WAs proposed uranium mines – Kintyre, Wiluna, Yeelirrie, and Mulga Rock. It’s a great relief that none of those mines have opened and that we are not faced with the added catastrophe of leaking radioactive tailings at those four sites pushed through under the Barnett Liberal government.”

The WA Labor government has a long-standing anti-uranium policy, but inherited four uranium mining proposals that were fast tracked under the Barnett government in the lead up to the 2017 election. None of these projects have advanced due to a combination of community opposition and poor market conditions.

“There are currently no operating uranium mines in WA, and it should remain that way.” Says Liam Lilly, Fossil Fuels Program Coordinator at CCWA.

“Three out of the four proposed uranium mines in WA have had approvals expire, the standing WA government should immediately withdraw all uranium approvals and ban uranium mining permanently.

“WA communities have a strong and proud history of opposing uranium mining in this state, consistently showing that the dangerous practice has no social licence here.”

AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney said “It’s extraordinary that the WA Liberals keep going back to the well on this issue. 

“Just like uranium, asbestos was once the wonder material of the future. But we banned it because it made workers sick. Why would we not do the same for a rock that kills when it all goes wrong?

“Instead of pushing forward with a renewables manufacturing industry that would create tens of thousands of secure, high-paid jobs for WA workers, the WA Liberals are pursuing a radioactive energy policy that is too risky, too expensive, and too late for WA. 

“You have to question what kind of support the uranium companies are giving the WA Liberals for them to turn wholesale into a glow-in-the-dark political party.”


  • The Barnett Government lifted the ban on uranium mining in 2009, there was close to 100 uranium exploration projects across the state – but only four uranium mine proposals. Three of the four proposals were approved in the dying days of the Barnett Government.
  • There are no operating uranium mines in WA. Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects and Toro’s Wiluna projects all failed to meet a 5-year commencement condition and are no unable to develop.
  • Deep Yellow’s Mulga Rock project has no procedural barriers but is unable to advance given the company lacks finance and their plans to develop the Tumas mine in Namibia. The senior executive team closely resembles the team that started Paladin who operated uranium mines in Malawi and Namibia – the company and projects failed economically under that leadership team and were at the centre of industrial disputes and allegations of environmental leaks and spills, and incidents including worker fatalities.
  • WA Labor has held a strong, popular, and consistent opposition to uranium mining – which was reaffirmed at their most recent state conference. They introduced a policy ban on uranium on coming into government in 2017.
  • The WA Greens have also had a long held and popular opposition to uranium mining.
  • Uranium mining in Australia accounts for less than 0.2 percent of national export revenue, and less than 0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia.
  • The latest cost estimate for rehabilitating the Ranger uranium mine is over $2 billion and there are big question marks over how successful those clean-up efforts can be.
  • Uranium from Australia was in each of the Fukushima reactors when they went in to melt down 13 years ago.
  • Australian uranium was sold to Ukraine in 2017 despite warnings against selling uranium to Ukraine given the ongoing conflict with Russia. We are yet to confirm if the uranium fuel was at Ukraine’s largest reactor at Zaporizhzhia which has been used as a significant military target in the Russian invasion and is under Russian control.
  • The world nuclear industry status report shows the nuclear industry is running just to stand still – with ageing reactors due to close and the promise of SMNRs still decades away from being viable (if ever) – showing a natural decline of nuclear and demand for uranium. New nuclear is expected to continue to be plagued with cost blow outs, delays, and abandoned projects.