Asia

Australia state of Queensland lifts uranium mining ban

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (R) shakes hands with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the presidential palace at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on October 17, 2012.
Image caption Australian PM Julia Gillard's government overturned a ban on selling uranium to India last year

The Australian state of Queensland has lifted a 23-year ban on mining uranium, paving the way for exports to India.

The move follows a visit to Delhi last week by Australian PM Julia Gillard to discuss the sale of uranium with Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

Last year, Australia dropped its long-standing ban on exporting uranium to India.

It was originally imposed because Delhi had not signed an international treaty on nuclear non-proliferation.

Queensland State Premier Campbell Newman said the national government's overturning of the export ban to India and the recent talks in Delhi prompted a rethink.

"The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has just been in India selling the benefits of Australian-produced uranium to India, prompting many in the community to ask about the industry's potential in Queensland," Mr Newman said in a statement.

The Queensland government says there are more than 80 known sites in the state that contain valuable amounts of uranium.

Australia, which holds an estimated 40% of the world's uranium, already exports it to China, Japan, Taiwan and the US - although it does not use nuclear power.

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