New South Wales Energy Minister Chris Hartcher says strong interest in uranium mining is good news for Broken Hill.
The State Government has received 39 expressions of interest from companies wishing to explore for uranium - almost a quarter more than Minister Hartcher was expecting.
An independent panel will now assess those expressions before inviting mining companies to apply formally to explore.
Mr Hartcher says if the government were to lift a ban on mining uranium, Broken Hill would benefit.
"Let's look at Broken Hill.
It is a town that lives and has lived always on mining," he said.
"It is a town that has been enormously prosperous in the past but is going through right now some fairly difficult times.
"We would hope that if uranium does get off the ground it would bring quite significant benefits to Broken Hill, to Silverton and to the surrounding areas." But Mr Hartcher says says it will be at least 2015 before the State Government moves to lift the ban on mining uranium.
"I wouldn't rush down that path, but what I would be saying to the people of Broken Hill is that there will be appropriate exploration licences in place, as I say, by early-to-mid 2013," he said.
"I think that by itself will bring some prosperity to the people of Broken Hill in terms of employment, in terms of investment, in terms of people spending money in the town, in terms of people staying in the town." The far west of New South Wales is believed to be rich in uranium, along with the north-east of South Australia, where there are already uranium projects under way.
Some of the mining companies interested in uranium exploration include Broken Hill Prospecting Ltd, Carpentaria Exploration, Marmota Energy and Iluka Resources.
The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has also lodged an expression of interest.
The managing director of Broken Hill Prospecting Ltd, Ian Pringle, says the company's had promising results from aerial and satellite surveys.
"We're looking in the Broken Hill area for uranium now that uranium is on the list of elements we can explore for," Mr Pringle said.
"We have lodged expressions of interest recently through a subsidiary company actually, Broken Hill Uranium, and we've got six of these expressions of interest on various prospects we've located over the past few months."