12 April 2010 - Uranium industry boosts presence in Western Australia

 The Australian Uranium Association (AUA) has appointed one of Western Australia’s most experienced public affairs communicators, Janet Pinheiro, to the new position of Communication Manager, WA.

Ms Pinheiro, a communication professional of more than 20 years’ standing, was previously with the head office of the National Native Title Tribunal in Perth.

“The successful development of uranium mining in Western Australia is vital to the Australian industry as a whole and Janet’s appointment reflects the importance the AUA places upon the commencement of uranium mining in the West,” said AUA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Angwin.

“Uranium companies are working hard to develop mines in the State, and we wish to make sure West Australians receive clear, factual and useful information about uranium and about its mining and transport,” Mr Angwin said.

“West Australians will benefit from that information being provided by a skilled communicator who has the necessary experience and local knowledge to understand the particular information needs of people in the West.

“We are thrilled to welcome Janet to explain the challenges and benefits of uranium mining in Western Australia,” Mr Angwin said.

The AUA represents companies engaged in uranium exploration, mining and export.

AUA Member companies pursue best practice in safety and environmental management and the AUA implements a comprehensive standards framework to help Members achieve this.

Since the WA Government’s uranium mining ban was removed in late 2008, a number of companies have been preparing to mine in the State, with five working towards target production dates within the next 5 to 7 years:

  • north of Kalgoorlie, BHP Billiton’s significant Yeelirrie deposit, Mega Uranium’s Lake Maitland project, Energy and Minerals Australia’s Mulga Rock resource and Toro Energy’s deposits at Centipede and Lake Way near Wiluna
  • East Pilbara’s large Kintyre project, a joint venture between Cameco Australia and Mitsubishi Development.

WA holds around 43 per cent of Australia’s major undeveloped uranium deposits.

The Northern Territory has Australia’s biggest uranium producer, ERA Ltd.’s Ranger Mine. South Australia has the world’s largest uranium deposit at BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam, along with Australia’s third and smallest mine, Beverley, owned and operated by Heathgate Resources.

Australia has no plans to use uranium for the domestic production of nuclear energy. Uranium oxide mined and processed in Australia is all sent overseas for fuel manufacture. It is used only for peaceful purposes such as the clean production of electricity in countries like the United States, France and Japan.