The three-mine policy, introduced in 1984 and abandoned in 1996, was a policy of the government of Australia to limit the number of uranium mines in the country to three.
The Government of Australia is the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. It is also commonly referred to as the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Government, Her Majesty's Government, or the Federal Government.
Radioactive ores were first extracted in South Australia at Radium Hill in 1906 and Mount Painter in 1911. 2,000 tons of ore were treated to recover radium for medical use. Several hundred kilograms of uranium were also produced for use in ceramic glazes. In 2017, of the world's estimated uranium resources, 30% were in Australia, ahead of the second largest, Kazakhstan. In terms of production, Canada is the largest supplier, followed by Kazakhstan and Australia. Uranium mined in Australia is entirely for export. Australia exported 64,488 tonnes of uranium in the ten years to 2017.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 26 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
The foundations of the three-mine policy for uranium mining were laid in 1982, when, at a conference of the Australian Labor Party, the party decided to adopt a "no new mines" policy. At the time, two uranium mines were operating, both in the Northern Territory, Ranger and Nabarlek. However, this new policy left a loophole, as it permitted uranium to be mined as a by-product of other mining operations. The later exception allowed for development of the Olympic Dam mine, located in South Australia, as it also contained gold and copper.
The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.
The Northern Territory is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia. It shares borders with Western Australia to the west, South Australia to the south, and Queensland to the east. To the north, the territory looks out to the Timor Sea, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria, including Western New Guinea and other Indonesian islands. The NT covers 1,349,129 square kilometres (520,902 sq mi), making it the third-largest Australian federal division, and the 11th-largest country subdivision in the world. It is sparsely populated, with a population of only 245,800, fewer than half as many people as Tasmania.
The Ranger Uranium Mine is a uranium mine in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is surrounded by, but separate from Kakadu National Park, 230 km east of Darwin. The orebody was discovered in late 1969, and the mine commenced operation in 1980, reaching full production of uranium oxide in 1981. It is operated by Energy Resources of Australia, a 68% subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group. Uranium mined at Ranger is sold for use in nuclear power stations in Asia, Europe and North America.
The following year, 1983, Labor won the federal elections and came into power for the first time since 1975.
The 1983 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 5 March 1983. All 125 seats in the House of Representatives and all 64 seats in the Senate were up for election, following a double dissolution. The incumbent Coalition government which had been in power since 1975, led by Malcolm Fraser and Doug Anthony, was defeated in a landslide by the opposition Labor Party led by Bob Hawke. This was the first of 5 consecutive election victories for the Labor party. This election marked the end of the 3 term 7 year Liberal-National Coalition Fraser Government and started the period of the 5 term 13 year Hawke-Keating Labor Government. The Coalition would spend its longest ever period of opposition and the Labor party would spend its longest ever period of government at the federal level. The Coalition would not return to government until the 1996 election.
The three-mine policy was officially introduced in 1984, after the federal elections that year had confirmed Bob Hawke of the Labor Party as Prime Minister of Australia. The policy restricted uranium mining in Australia to three existing mines, Ranger, Nabarlek and Olympic Dam.
The 1984 Australian federal election was held in Australia on 1 December 1984. All 148 seats in the House of Representatives and 46 of 76 seats in the Senate were up for election. The incumbent Labor Party led by Prime Minister Bob Hawke defeated the opposition Liberal–National coalition, led by Andrew Peacock.
Robert James Lee Hawke, was an Australian politician who served as Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Labor Party from 1983 to 1991. He was also Member of Parliament (MP) for Wills from 1980 to 1992.
The prime minister of Australia is the head of government of Australia. The individual who holds the office is the most senior minister of state, the leader of the federal Cabinet. The prime minister also has the responsibility of administering the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is the chair of the National Security Committee and the Council of Australian Governments. The office of prime minister is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia but exists through Westminster political convention. The individual who holds the office is commissioned by the governor-general of Australia and at the governor-general's pleasure subject to the Constitution of Australia and constitutional conventions.
The policy was abandoned in 1996, after the 1996 federal election replaced the Labor Party with John Howard's Coalition in power.The new policy was to develop the country's uranium mining industry and uranium exports.
The 1996 Australian federal election was held to determine the members of the 38th Parliament of Australia. It was held on 2 March 1996. All 148 seats of the House of Representatives and 40 seats of the 76-seat Senate were up for election. The centre-right Liberal/National Coalition led by Opposition Leader John Howard of the Liberal Party and coalition partner Tim Fischer of the National Party defeated the incumbent centre-left Australian Labor Party government in a landslide led by Prime Minister Paul Keating.
John Winston Howard, is an Australian former politician who served as the 25th Prime Minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007. He is the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister, behind only Sir Robert Menzies, who was in office for over 18 years. He is also the oldest living former Australian Prime Minister, as of 16 May 2019. Howard was leader of the Liberal Party from 1985 to 1989 and from 1995 to 2007.
The Liberal–National Coalition is an alliance of centre-right political parties that forms one of the two major groupings in Australian federal politics. Its main opponent is the Australian Labor Party (ALP), and the two forces are often regarded as operating in a two-party system. The Coalition has been in government since the 2013 federal election, most recently being re-elected in the 2019 Australian federal election. The group is led by Scott Morrison as Prime Minister of Australia since August 2018.
The Australian Labor Party changed back its policy in the 1990s to a "no new mines" policy to allow uranium mines already approved by the Coalition government to go ahead.With the opening of a fourth uranium mine in Australia in 2001, the Beverley uranium mine, and the approval of a fifth mine, the Honeymoon uranium mine, Labor's stand had essentially become a "five-mine policy", as Nabarlek had since been closed.
The Labor Party, however, continued its opposition to increased uranium mining until 2006, when, under the leadership of Kim Beazley, discussions to abandon the "no new mines" policy were initiated.In April 2007, the Labor party, under the new leadership of Kevin Rudd voted at their national conference to abandon the policy. The vote was only won by a narrow margin- 205 to 190, and heavy internal criticism resulted. Ministers Peter Garrett and Anthony Albanese remained outspokenly opposed to the decision due to the unresolved problems of nuclear waste storage and nuclear weapons proliferation.
South Australia's Premier Mike Rann and treasurer Kevin Foley had lobbied the Federal government to abandon the policy,and Rann reflected on this during his opening address at the 2010 AusIMM International Uranium Conference. Of the Rann Government's role, he said:
"Our support for the exploration and mining of uranium can also be seen in the role we played in having the ALP overturn its "no new uranium mines" policy in 2007. I have to say, it was one of the more difficult tasks that I've been given over the years, but I personally campaigned strongly for that out-dated and illogical policy to be discarded and it has been. It's gone now, for all time."
South Australian Liberal party Senator Nick Minchin supported the lobbying efforts of the Rann government, saying:
"We of course welcome Mr Rann's advocacy of getting rid of one of the most stupid policies the federal Labor Party has ever had."
At a working dinner of the South Australian Minerals & Petroleum Expert Group (SAMPEG), the opening address by the Minister for Mineral Resources Development Paul Holloway responded to the result of the vote. It was recorded in the meeting's minutes thus:
"The narrow vote in the recent scrapping of the no new mines policy made apparent the amount of ignorance there is present regarding uranium. It will now be a challenge for the SAMPEG group to address the lack of knowledge in both the public and government... SAMPEG can now make sure the world is aware that South Australia is open for business in regards to uranium."
At the same meeting, the SAMPEG Chair Dr Ian Gould spoke on uranium. The minutes reflect:
"SAMPEG should consider that the public doesn't understand the industry and members could directly contribute to the continued enhancement of resources information in this state. Information has never been presented in relatively simple terms to the public. A lot of people at a Ministerial level still don't understand uranium. As a group, SAMPEG could play a role in talking to colleagues of Minister Holloway about the uranium business. This could lead to converting those at a Minister level to become ambassadors themselves. The more ambassadors we can bring on board the better off the industry will be."
The abolition of the "no new mines" policy allowed the development of the Honeymoon and Four Mile in-situ leach uranium mines, which officially commenced production in 2011 and 2014 respectively.
Individual states continued their ban on uranium mining, however, with Western Australia lifting its six-year-old ban in 2008 after state elections, which saw the Labor Party replaced in government by the Liberal Party.Queensland continues to impose a ban on uranium mining but trade unions have advocated the end of the ban in the hope of uranium mining creating more jobs. Uranium mining remains banned in Victoria and New South Wales, though exploration for uranium is permitted in the latter. Uranium mining is permitted in Tasmania, but no uranium mines have been established there.
Michael David Rann,, is an Australian former politician who was the 44th Premier of South Australia from 2002 to 2011. He accepted a professorship at Flinders University and a visiting fellowship at University of Auckland in 2012, was Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom from 2013 to 2014, and was Australia's Ambassador to Italy, Albania, Libya and San Marino and as Australia's Permanent Representative to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme from 2014 to 2016. Among several other honours, Rann was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in the 2016 Australia Day Honours.
Jennifer Louise Macklin is an Australian former politician who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 until 2019, representing the Division of Jagajaga for the Labor Party. She was a minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments from 2007 to 2013, having previously been her party's deputy leader from 2001 to 2006.
Martin John Ferguson, AM, Australian politician, was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from March 1996 until August 2013 representing the Division of Batman, Victoria. He is a son of Jack Ferguson who was Deputy Premier of New South Wales from 1976 to 1984. His brother is Laurie Ferguson, also a long-serving federal MP.
Arkaroola is the common name for the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary, a wildlife sanctuary situated on 610 square kilometres of freehold and pastoral lease land in South Australia. It is located 700 kilometres north of the Adelaide city centre in the Northern Flinders Ranges, adjacent to the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park and the Mawson Plateau. The most common way to get there is by car, but air travel can be chartered from Parafield Airport, Adelaide Airport or Aldinga Airfield. It was used as a location set the 2002 film The Tracker.
Jay Wilson Weatherill is an Australian politician who was the 45th Premier of South Australia, serving from 21 October 2011 until 19 March 2018. Weatherill represented the House of Assembly seat of Cheltenham as a member of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party from the 2002 election to 17 December 2018, when he retired.
Alan John Carpenter is a former Australian politician who served as the 28th Premier of Western Australia, from 2006 to 2008. From Albany, Carpenter graduated from the University of Western Australia, and worked as a journalist before entering politics. A member of the Labor Party, he was first elected to the Legislative Assembly at the 1996 state election, representing the seat of Willagee. In the Gallop ministry, which took office following the 2001 election, Carpenter was Minister for Education, as well as holding several other portfolios. He replaced Geoff Gallop as premier in January 2006, following Gallop's resignation, but Labor lost office following a hung parliament at the 2008 election, with Colin Barnett becoming premier as the leader of a minority Liberal Party government. Carpenter resigned from parliament in 2009, and currently holds a senior management position with Wesfarmers Limited.
Paul Holloway is an Australian politician who represented the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party in the South Australian House of Assembly seat of Mitchell from 1989 to 1993, and in the South Australian Legislative Council from 1995 to 2011.
Shelley Frances Archer was an Australian politician. She was a Labor Party member of the Western Australian Legislative Council from May 2005, representing the Mining and Pastoral electoral region. A former union official, she was one of several state MPs to become involved in the 2006-2007 Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into the dealings of former-Premier-turned-lobbyist Brian Burke. The partner of influential unionist Kevin Reynolds, she was associated with the conservative wing of the party.
Nuclear weapons testing, uranium mining and export, and nuclear power have often been the subject of public debate in Australia, and the anti-nuclear movement in Australia has a long history. Its origins date back to the 1972–73 debate over French nuclear testing in the Pacific and the 1976–77 debate about uranium mining in Australia.
The prospect of nuclear power in Australia has been a topic of public debate since the 1950s. Australia has never had a nuclear power station. Australia hosts 33% of the world's uranium deposits and is the world's third largest producer of uranium after Kazakhstan and Canada.
The Beverley Mine is Australia's third uranium mine and Australia's first operating in-situ recovery mine. It is located in South Australia in the gazetted locality of Wooltana about 35 km from Lake Frome at the northern end of the Flinders Ranges.It officially opened in 2001. The original Beverley uranium deposit was discovered by one of Bill Siller's companies in 1969 and was named after his wife—Beverley Siller.
Four Mile is Australia's fifth uranium mine. It is sited in the Frome Basin in far north of the state of South Australia, around 600 kilometres (370 mi) north of the state capital, Adelaide. It is 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the existing Beverley uranium mine, where its uranium oxide product is produced. Construction of the mine commenced in late 2013 and the mine was officially opened in June 2014.
The uranium mining debate covers the political and environmental controversies of the mining of uranium for use in either nuclear power or nuclear weapons.
Lake Way is a dry saline lake located in the Mid West region of Western Australia, approximately 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) south of Wiluna. It also gives its name to a nearby cattle station, the Lake Way Station.
The Yeelirrie uranium project is a uranium deposit located approximately 70 km southwest of Wiluna, in the Mid West region of Western Australia. The name Yeelirrie is taken from the local sheep station.
The South Australian Minerals and Petroleum Expert Group (SAMPEG) was first created by the Government of South Australia in 2004. Appointments were made by Premier Mike Rann under Theme 8 of the PACE initiative, with the aim of addressing historical perceptions of South Australia's poor mineral and petroleum prospectivity. Appointed members include high-profile national and international leaders in the resource sector. SAMPEG promotes the message that South Australia’s resources potential is under-explored and that the State Government "is willing to back investors in the resources sector, in a strategic, tangible and substantial way, including subsidised drilling and new, free, pre-competitive data."
The Rann Government was the state executive government of South Australia led by Premier of South Australia Mike Rann of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) from 2002 to 2011.
The Australian Labor Party National Conference is an internal body of the Australian Labor Party, one of the major political parties in Australia. It is the highest representative body of the party's state and territory branches. The National Conference takes place triennially, the most recent being the 47th conference held at the Melbourne Convention Centre from 24 to 26 July 2015, and which was attended by 397 party delegates. The previous Conference was the 2011 National Conference held on 3 December 2011, and the next National Conference will take place in Adelaide on 16-18 December 2018.