Toro still bullish despite approval delay
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PERTH, Dec 21 AAP
December 21 2012, 1:28PM
The frontrunner for Western Australia's first uranium mine says a delay in the federal environmental assessment process won't affect the proposed project schedule - for now.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke this week delayed his decision on whether to approve Toro Energy's Wiluna project in the state's mid-west to March 31, saying he wanted more information on specific aspects of the proposal.
Mr Burke had previously advised he would make the decision by December 18 after pushing it back by 30 business days in early November.
There's a possibility Toro's plans will be scuppered by a change in state government.
While the Liberal state government is in favour of uranium mining - in 2008 lifting a six-year ban on uranium mining that was imposed by the previous Labor administration - the opposition still opposes it.
However, if Labor wins the state election on March 9, it says it will not stand in the way of any planned mine that has received approvals.
Toro remains confident, with its managing director Greg Hall saying the company expects it can adequately respond to three issues raised by Mr Burke to allow him to make his decision "well before the stated time frame".
Mr Hall said the approval delay "should not, at this stage, impact the proposed overall project schedule".
Toro said talks with potential joint venture partners, who would also be uranium customers, were expected to take at least until mid-2013.