4 December 2011 - ALP decision to permit uranium sales to India is welcome

MEDIA RELEASE

4 December 2011

ALP’s decision on uranium sales to India a welcome sign of policy maturity

The uranium industry welcomes today’s decision by the Australian Labor Party to change its national policy platform to permit uranium sales to India.

“This decision is one taken principally on grounds to do with Australia’s bilateral relations. It is a sign of the increasing maturity of the national conversation about uranium mining and exports,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Uranium Association, Mr Michael Angwin.

“We believe the ALP’s decision is one guided by practical considerations in the national interest and that is a welcome advance beyond the automatic responses of the past,” Mr Angwin said.

Mr Angwin said he did not expect that uranium sales to India would commence quickly.

“The uranium industry encourages the Australian Government to develop legal and treaty arrangements with India that are much like those we have with other nations to whom we sell uranium and who are signatories to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty. This may take a number of years.”

Mr Angwin said the uranium industry expected the bilateral arrangements with India to include measures to ensure India uses our uranium only for the generation of electricity, just as treaties with other countries do.

“The uranium industry highly values the assurance that is implicit in an Australian Government decision to approve uranium sales to a foreign country. It is like a warranty for us that our product will be used responsibly and safely,” Mr Angwin said.

The economic potential of a uranium trade relationship with India is considerable. Based on India’s projected nuclear growth, and Australia’s current share of world uranium exports, Australia could expect to sell around 2,500 tonnes of uranium a year to India by 2030. On current values, these exports would be expected to generate around AUD300 million in export sales.

Sales of this value were by no means guaranteed. “India already has access to uranium from countries who are competitors of ours, such as Kazakhstan. Australia will have to work hard to ensure we can compete with countries that already have uranium trading relationships with India,” Mr Angwin said.

The policy shift may also encourage Indian investors to seek direct investment and uranium off-take agreements in new Australian uranium mine projects now under development. “Chinese, Japanese and Russian companies are seeking out these opportunities and we would expect Indian companies will do the same,” Mr Angwin said.

Mr Angwin is available for telephone interview on 0411 260 898

Other media inquiries: Simon Clarke, 0418816088