18 November 2010 - AUA Board expects growth, urges Queensland U policy review

New mines and expansion of existing mines could significantly boost uranium export revenues, according to the Australian Uranium Association.

The AUA Board met in Brisbane to review the industry’s outlook and strategy for the next five years. A number of developments are expected, including:

  • A new mine, Australia’s fourth, planned to open in South Australia within months;
  • Three new mines in Western Australia expected within two to three years;
  • A second new mine in South Australia, and
  • Expansion of the existing three mines.

But the industry’s Directors noted that continuing bipartisan political support, and a streamlined regulatory system, will be required to ensure the expansion potential is achieved.

“The industry has developed considerable momentum and is set for a period of steady growth,” the Association’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Angwin said.

“The nuclear industry is a permanent feature of the global economy and is expanding rapidly to meet energy security and climate change challenges. This will mean increased demand for Australian uranium,” Mr Angwin said.

AUA Directors noted one recent official forecast of a 40 per cent increase in Australian uranium export volumes by 2014-15.

The Gillard Government recently approved a new treaty to permit uranium exports to Russia. “This decision was an encouraging indication of the Federal Government’s support for our industry’s expansion,” Mr Angwin said.

“New mines will be needed to supply the growing demand. State and Territory Governments will need to follow the Federal Government’s lead and facilitate the necessary development. We can’t afford new regulatory hurdles to be put in the way,” he said.

Several States maintain bans on uranium mining. Of these, Queensland has the biggest uranium resources.

AUA Directors encouraged the Queensland Government to review its uranium policy in light of growing export opportunities.

“Uranium mining means new jobs and economic activity, which Queensland needs,” said Mr Brendan O’Hara, Executive Chairman of Summit Resources Ltd and an AUA Director.

“Our project is just one of several that could provide hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity which would benefit Queensland and regional areas in particular,” Mr O’Hara said.

The potential mines in Queensland and their employment requirements are:

·         Valhalla deposit, Mt Isa Region: 800 full-time jobs averaged over 18 months in the construction phase; and 180 workers directly employed and 170 contractor and other jobs in operations

·         Ben Lomond, west of Townsville: 200 jobs in the construction phase; and 150 or more direct jobs in the operational phase plus 100 contracting jobs

·         Maureen, north Queensland:  200 jobs in construction, 100 or more direct operational jobs and 100 contracting jobs

·         Westmoreland deposit, north west Queensland: 330 jobs in construction, 230 mine site jobs and 60 more office and exploration jobs.

·         In total, 1,530 construction jobs and 1,090 direct mining and contracting jobs.

The AUA’s analysis suggests that uranium mining could contribute $1.5 billion to the Queensland economy in the next 20 years and could add more than $200 million to government revenue.