The Virginia state legislative commission on Coal and Energy voted in favor of the proposed uranium mining initiatives in the state and recommended the drafting of necessary regulatory guidelines.

The favorable 11-2 vote is the step towards determining whether or not whether uranium development company Virginia Uranium is allowed to develop a mine in Pittsylvania County.

Virginia Uranium proposes to mill uranium at the 119 million pound deposit at Coles Hill which is estimated at a value of $7bn, reported The Associated Press.

Commenting on the developments Virginia Uranium project manager Patrick Wales termed the vote positive and significant development.

"It’s not just any commission. It is the commission that has presided over this for the past five years," said Wales

The project has been met with widespread protests from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, local residents and several environmental groups which contend that radioactive deposits will pose a severe health hazard.

General Assembly of the Virginia legislature will be the final authority to approve the drafted guidelines and decide on the fate of the proposed project.