16/03/2009 - 15:19

SA prepared for uranium fight with WA

16/03/2009 - 15:19

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South Australian Resources Minister Paul Holloway says the state is prepared for increased competition for investment dollars over uranium assets after Western Australia dropped its uranium mining ban.

SA prepared for uranium fight with WA

South Australian Resources Minister Paul Holloway says the state is prepared for increased competition for investment dollars over uranium assets after Western Australia dropped its uranium mining ban.

Speaking to delegates at an Adelaide uranium conference, Mr Holloway said SA retains the first mover advantage over WA, with the state already hosting BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam operation.

He outlined recent examples of investment in the state's uranium sector including Japan's Mitsui & Co committing some $104 million to advance the Honeymoon uranium mine and a knowledge sharing agreement between SA and Canada on uranium geoscience.

In Western Australia, two Japanese companies have entered into a non-binding agreement with Canadian company Mega Uranium to buy a 35 per cent stake in Lake Maitland.

Rio Tinto sold its Kintyre uranium project to Cameco and Mitsubishi for $US495 million last year and South Australian company Toro Energy is advancing plans at its Lake Way and Centipede uranium deposits at Wiluna.

Meantime, Australian Uranium Association executive director Michael Angwin said the country's gross domestic product could be boosted by $17 billion by 2030 if it maximised its supply role to the global uranium market.

"On our modelling of action to address climate change, including carbon pricing assumptions, even the more conservative of those scenarios sees demand for nuclear energy doubling by 2030," he said.

"For Australia, with 38% of the world's low-cost uranium resources and 19% of current uranium supply, this presents a range of opportunities.

"A full response to that would see Australia's uranium production and exports increasing to about 37,000 tonnes per year by 2030 - worth A$17 billion in higher GDP.

"On known commodities forecasting, Australia would generate uranium exports of 14,000 tonnes in 2014, earning revenues of nearly A$1.7 billion, all on already known growth contributors to the world's nuclear energy industry."

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