The Australian federal government has opened the Northern Territory to uranium mining after taking control of the rich uranium deposits.

Federal authorities sought legal advice after Northern Territory chief minister Clare Martin vowed to ban any new uranium mines, which found the Commonwealth had the power to override any ban.

Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane reportedly said: “For the good of the territory and for the good of the resources industry in territory, we can’t allow this confusion to continue,” adding: “The Northern Territory is open for business on uranium mining.”

Several companies are already prospecting for uranium in the territory.