Dave Sweeney: Nuclear pain outweighs economic gain for South Australia THE ADVERTISER FEBRUARY 10, 2014 ”…….Since the Fukushima accident began in March 2011 there have been repeated and wide-ranging calls for an independent review of the costs and consequences of the Australian uranium sector, here and abroad. Predictably – and sadly – these have been ignored by uranium companies, the industry’s lobby association and successive Australian governments.
The most recent independent assessment of the Australian uranium industry – a Senate Inquiry in October 2003 – found the sector was characterised by underperformance and non-compliance, an absence of reliable data to measure contamination or its impact on the environment, and an operational culture focused on short-term considerations.
The small economic gain from uranium can mean big pain. There is a compelling case that Australia’s uranium trade is a major source of domestic and international risks and that an independent inquiry is needed into its effects on the environment, health, safety and security.
SA is blessed with renewable energy resources and is well placed to become a national and indeed global leader in renewable energy production. Renewables are the fastest-growing energy sector in the world and already provide more global electricity every day than the contested, costly and contaminating nuclear sector.
Radioactive waste, legacy mine sites and risky reactors all last far longer than the shelf-life of any politician or the tenure of any industry group. Uranium mining and the wider nuclear industry are high-risk, low-return sectors that pose unique, unresolved and long-lived threats.http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/opinion/dave-sweeney-nuclear-pain-outweighs-economic-gain-for-south-australia/story-fni6unxq-1226822892221
Weak uranium prices force closure of Paladin mine, Financial Review PETER KER AND ANGELA MACDONALD-SMITH 10 FEB 2014 Uranium miners are starting to cut back production amid a growing belief that the sector will not recover in the near term.
ASX listed Paladin Energy has confirmed one of its two mines will cease production until the uranium price recovers, while one of the world’s biggest uranium miners, Cameco, has cut its growth schedule and warned the ‘‘stagnant, over supplied’’ market was not going to improve any time soon.Cameco had previously promised to increase uranium production by 50 per cent over the next four years, but on Saturday the company said such long-term production forecasts were no longer appropriate in the current market conditions.
‘‘Market challenges have persisted since early 2011 and we expect they will continue for the near to medium term,’’ the Canadian company said in a statement.
Uranium prices have been on a downward trend since the Fukushima nuclear crisis damaged confidence in the industry in 2011……
Cameco deferred its Kintyre uranium project in Western Australia in 2012, and on Saturday it vowed to ‘‘decrease activities in Australia’’ even further.,,,,,,http://www.afr.com/p/business/companies/weak_uranium_prices_forces_closure_6Jq1zMnOONO3LAxC4jQkTM
Now that neither of the major political parties supports Business SA’s demand for a nuclear fuel and waste industry for SA (The Advertiser, 6/2/14) – one party calls it a “dangerous distraction”, the other “a long way off” (The Advertiser, 7/2/14) – then Business SA should put its money where its mouth is and publish the names of the companies it claims support its demand.
That way SA consumers can vote with their feet and perhaps Business SA might then be a little less outrageous in its political demands.
Paladin uranium mine shuts, PAUL GARVEY, THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 08, 2014 PALADIN Energy has bowed to persistently low uranium prices and moved to stop production at its Kayelekera mine in the southern African nation of Malawi.
The mine, which has been in production since 2009, has been bleeding money in recent years……
- Last month Paladin sold a 25 per cent stake in its flagship Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia to China National Nuclear Corporation for $US190m, as well as debt refinancing.
Just a quick update on Toro – they released their quarterly report yesterday – revealling the estimated start up costs of the Wiluna project has jumped $47 million. With a slump in the uranium price, lack of new investments in mining, and a $47 million cost blow out before they’ve even got final approval does not bode well… http://www.businessnews.com.au/article/Toro-reveals-Wiluna-cost-increase?utm_source=Business+News+Mailing+List&utm_campaign=75e9eadd22-dba&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e5391356e5-75e9ead
ERA narrows loss to A$136m, says toxic spill probe continuing Mining Weekly By: Esmarie Swanepoel 31st January 2014 ”…..During the year, revenue from sales decreased 10%, to A$355.8-million, while revenue from continuing operations was down 12% on the previous financial year to A$370-million…..
ERA produced some 2 960 t of uranium oxide in the year under review, which was 20% less than that produced in 2012, as lower mill rates affected output. The suspension of processing operations following the failure of a leach tank in December also negatively affected operations, ERA said.
Processing operations at the Ranger mine, in the Northern Territory, remain suspended pending the completion of a full investigation and regulatory approvals to restart.
ERA was conducting an independent investigation that would run in parallel with the government investigation.http://www.miningweekly.com/article/era-narrows-loss-to-a136m-says-toxic-spill-probe-continuing-2014-01-31
Thousands Of Australian Solar Jobs Threatened http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4147 28 Jan 14 If those who wish to see Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) abolished get what they want, up to 6,750 solar PV jobs could be lost and foregone nationwide in less than 5 years.
The grim prediction comes from REC Agents Association (RAA) in a report due to be released on Wednesday.
“If the Renewable Energy Target is axed, 2,000 jobs could be lost straight away and thousands of new jobs would not be created”, said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA and CEO of Greenbank Environmental, who commissioned the analysis.
“Axing the RET is on the Government’s agenda and they need to understand this would have a diabolical impact on jobs, industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to put solar on their homes.”
The RAA report states the solar industry employed around 17,000 Australians in 4,300 small and medium sized businesses last year. Continue reading
Top China nuclear firm rescues Paladin Namibia uranium mine Business Recorder, 20 January 2014 by Umer Qazi MELBOURNE: China National Nuclear Corp has agreed to buy a The sale rescues Paladin, as it urgently needed to raise funds following three years of pain as uranium prices slumped after the Fukushima disaster, which killed Japanese demand for the fuel and led other countries to halt nuclear expansions.
“Paladin’s out of the woods for the short to medium term. But longer term they need higher uranium prices to pay back their convertible note,” said Simon Tonkin, an analyst at Patersons Securities…….
The company had little bargaining power with uranium prices hovering at $36.05, or nearly half the price they were at before the Fukushima plant was crippled in March 2011…….
While Paladin has booked heavy losses, it is in better shape than rival Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, controlled by Rio Tinto , which had to suspend processing uranium ore after radioactive slurry leaked from a leach tank at its Ranger operation in Australia……http://www.brecorder.com/top-news/109-world-top-news/153926-top-china-nuclear-firm-rescues-paladin-namibia-uranium-mine.html
Paladin revenue dwindles as output rises Justin Niessner Wednesday, 15 January 2014 PALADIN Energy recorded strong production figures for the December quarter but posted lower sales revenue on a stubbornly weak uranium price.
Revenues for the quarter were down 31.6% year on year at $US101.7 million ($A11.2 million) on the sale of 2.8 million pounds of uranium oxide. It represents roughly the same sales volume compared to a year ago but at a 23.8% lower price of $36.67 per pound of uranium oxide……
Safety was a difficult issue for the company over the period, with an electrical incident sending three workers to hospital in early October. The company confirmed that the most seriously injured worker died on October 29. Two lost time injuries were recorded as a result of the incident…..
a price of at least $70/lb would be necessary to support new uranium supply Earlier this week Paladin said it would not pursue development of its Manyingee project in Western Australia due to the low uranium price. http://www.miningnews.net/storyview.asp?storyid=801876475
Paladin Energy uranium mine sale expected in coming weeks, Mining Australia 15 January, 2014 Vicky Validakis Paladin Energy said talks around the sale of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine were progressing as the price for uranium continues to deteriorate.
The Perth-based miner flagged its intentions to sell its stake in the African mine in August when it announced a raft of cost-cutting measures to combat the weakening price of uranium.………While Borshoff the project was a long-term play for the miner, he said the stubbornly low uranium price meant all new developments had been put on the backburner.
“It’s unsustainable at the moment,” Borshoff said.
“Everyone has declared a moratorium on new projects. It’s all hanging by a thread and at some point this year it has got to turn.” Last year the company made a $US173 million loss in the three months to June.
Paladin signalled it would slash corporate and exploration costs by $US10.8 million, a 24 per cent reduction……..Paladin has five uranium exploration projects operating in Australia. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/paladin-energy-uranium-mine-sale-expected-in-comin
Leach tank failure impacts ERA’s uranium production results, Mining Australia,10 January, 2014 Vicky Validakis Production at ERA’s uranium mine took a 60 per cent hit in the December quarter after a leach tank rupture forced operations to close at the site.
While a slight fall in production was expected after the completion of mining in the high-grade open-cut Ranger pit, matters worsened for the miner when a leach tank at the site’s processing plant ruptured and collapsed, causing an acidic radioactive slurry spill.
The incident forced the shutdown of operations and a massive clean-up at the site, with the Federal Government announcing the mine will not be able to restart production operations without regulatory approval and the go ahead from a joint operation taskforce.
Processing operations remain suspended while clean-up and recovery operations at the Ranger processing plant are ongoing.
In an ASX announcement the Rio Tinto-owned ERA revealed uranium production for the December quarter was 503 tonnes, down 17 per cent on the preceding September quarter and 59 per cent down on the previous corresponding period.
The fall cut annual output by 20 per cent to 2960 tonnes……..approval may be difficult to come by with the Mirrar people previously stating that a number of safety incidents at the site had caused distrust.
In early November a mine left the site’s controlled areas sparking fears of contamination, while later that month four uranium storage barrels were discovered in bushland near Darwin.
“Day by day, litre by litre, incident by incident, they’re losing whatever trust traditional owners have in them,” Mirrar spokesperson Justin O’Brien said. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/leach-tank-failure-impacts-era-s-uranium-productio
Renewables cheaper than fossil fuels in Australia BY DAVID TWOMEY · JANUARY 10, 2014 IT MAY COME AS A SHOCK TO SOME BUT EVEN WITHOUT A SUBSIDY THE COST OF RENEWABLE ENERGY IN AUSTRALIA HAS FALLEN TO THE EXTENT THAT IT IS NOW CHEAPER TO PRODUCE THAN CONVENTIONAL FOSSIL FUEL POWER SOURCES.
This has emerged from a study produced by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), and shows that even without a carbon price, wind energy is 14 per cent cheaper than new coal and 18 per cent cheaper than new gas.
The BNEF study should certainly provoke a rethink by Australia’s conservative Liberal-National government as it sets about trying to repeal the country’s carbon price laws and possibly change the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
Prices for both renewable energy and fossil fuel-based energy have been changing rapidly in Australia Continue reading
Renewable energy in Japan: opportunities for Australian businesses Ecogeneration , 10 January 2014 In an exclusive excerpt from the February 2014 edition ofEcoGeneration, Austrade Trade Commissioner in Sapporo Ian Brazier explains how the Japan’s feed-in tariff scheme has made solar PV their fastest growing energy sector, creating new opportunities for Australian technology, equipment and service providers.
……To diversify its energy mix, the Japanese government is moving towards bolstering renewable energy usage. In order to increase supply, a generous feed-in tariff (FiT) regime for renewable energy was introduced in July 2012.
To date, most announced projects that have come as a result of the FiT rely on solar photovoltaic (PV) generation and are based in northern Japan…..
What has been the big impact from feed-in tariffs?
The FiT regime has triggered a 4,086 megawatt (MW) increase in total deployed renewable energy project capacity from July 2012 to July 2013 (latest available figures). Of this total capacity, 3,916 MW comes from solar PV power generation.
The dominance of solar PV generation is likely to continue. Japanese government policy is that FiT will remain in place for at least three years and this will ensure continued solid growth…….
Residential solar is the second biggest growth area in renewables and is an area where Australia has commercial advantage that is of interest to Japan. Under the current FiT regime, each owner may sell only surplus electricity, with the duration of purchase agreements limited to ten years. 646375.png…….
Some large Japanese firms with expertise in large lenses and mirrors and speciality construction are looking to expand into CSP projects overseas, including in Australia. This presents possible inward investment opportunities for Australia in attracting Japanese direct investment.
New trends are also emerging in wind
There are a number of wind projects being progressed due to introduction of the FiT….. http://ecogeneration.com.au/news/renewable_energy_in_japanopportunities_for_australian_businesses/084932/
Cabinet Papers 1986-87: The struggle for indigenous land rights, SMH, Damien Murphy, 28 Dec 13, ”……….. Decontaminating radioactive sites The McClelland royal commission on British nuclear tests in Australia had recommended that the Maralinga and Emu test sites should be decontaminated to a standard suitable for unrestricted habitation by the traditional owners.
But a technical assessment group found that even the expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars would not achieve complete decontamination.
The Resources and Energy Minister, Senator Gareth Evans, recommended that Cabinet consider the lesser option of decontamination sufficient to allow casual access to a larger area than was currently permissible. This option might cost between $20 and $30 million, “much more within the ball park that the UK Government is likely, on present indications, to be prepared to contemplate”.
Cabinet also decided that compensation claims for diseases that might have been caused by radiation would be resisted if the Commonwealth did not believe that a liability existed……….
Traditional owners had been dispersed to Yalata and the Pitjantjatjara lands in South Australia and Coonana in Western Australia. Cabinet allocated an initial $500,000 for projects of lasting and general community benefit…….. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/cabinet-papers-198687-the-struggle-for-indigenous-land-rights-20131228-3017r.html
still a long way off from the $260 million they need to start the project and $260 million they need in upfront bonds for mine closure.
Toro secures $10m in funding. Yahoo News, 24 Dec 13, Toro Energy says it has secured $10 million in new funding from a South African fund manager via an equity subscription agreement.
The first tranche of shares will be priced at 7.3 cents with the balance of tranches priced at a 10 per cent discount to the prevailing trading price of Toro at the time.Toro managing director Dr Vanessa Guthrie said the subscription agreement provided further funding certainty for Toro as it looked towards a busy 2014 work program……http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/business/a/20468131/toro-secures-10m-in-funding/