11 December 2008 - Exploration strong in first quarter

Uranium exploration spending remained strong during first three months of 08-09, according to ABS data

Spending on uranium exploration in Australia maintained high levels during the first quarter of the financial year, despite several potentially negative factors, the latest official statistics reveal.

The looming global financial crisis and the threatened uranium mining ban in Western Australia appeared to have little effect on spending on the search for uranium during July, August and September.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported that across Australia, companies spent $56.7 million looking for uranium during the first quarter, $6.7 million more than was spent during the same period in 2007-08.

The ABS reported that compared with the prior corresponding period (Q1 07-08) uranium exploration spending was up in Queensland from $4 million (estimated) to $10.9 million (+172.5%) and in the Northern Territory, spending increased from $12 million to $17.1 million (+ 42.5%).

Spending on uranium exploration in Western Australia was about the same as in the same period in 2007-08.T

he previously-scheduled winding down of pre-feasibility exploratory drilling for the Olympic Dam mine expansion saw exploration spending in South Australia reduced by $5 million from its previously very high base.

“The reduction in exploration spending in South Australia is likely to continue, and other factors such as share price fluctuations and reduced access to funds would suggest some softening will show up in the next quarterly figures,” the Executive Director of the Australian Uranium Association, Mr Michael Angwin, said.

“At the same time, the fundamentals of the uranium industry remain strong. Demand continues to outstrip supply, and will for many years; long-term prices are strong and the spot price is recovering,” Mr Angwin said.

“The formal announcement that uranium mining can proceed in WA is a strong positive signal and our industry remains confident of the future,” he said.

 

Uranium Exploration: Australia 2003/04 to Q1 2008/09 ($million)

QLD

WA

NT

SA

AUSTRALIA

03/04

0.2

0.2

4.8

5.3

10.5

04/05

0.4

0.3

6.9

13.1 (est)

20.7

05/06

4.6

2.2

19.1

30.3

56.1

06/07

9.0 (est)

11.2 (est)

30.1

63.8

114.1

07/08

38.1

26.8 (est)

48.7

118

231.5

08/09 (Q1)

10.9

6.3(est)

17.1

22.4

56.7

ABS 8412.0