Australian news, and some related international items

Poor uranium market, and Labor policy – French nuclear giant AREVA not to explore in Queensland

graph-down-uraniumFrench abandon Far North uranium prospects DANIEL BATEMAN THE CAIRNS POST MARCH 18, 2015 ONE of the world’s largest uranium producers is pulling out of the Far North following the State Government’s renewed ban on uranium mining.

Areva Resources Australia has confirmed it is in the process of relinquishing its AREVA-Medusa1exploration projects in Queensland on “technical” grounds.

Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham has said a statewide prohibition will once again be put in place over uranium mining, forcing several companies to shelve development plans.

Areva had been exploring in the Karumba and Carpentaria basins since about 2012.

Areva Resources Australia managing director Joe Potter said the company would not be applying for new exploration tenements in Queensland in the near future, in light of the recent state policy changes and general downturn in the uranium market…….

Australian Conservation Foundation Northern Australia program officer Andrew Picone welcomed the return of a ban and the departure of Areva.

“The fact that Areva have pulled up stumps in Queensland’s Gulf only illustrates the market’s global contraction,’’ he said.

March 18, 2015 Posted by | business, politics, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Companies not keen to take up New South Wales uranium exploration licenses

Slow uptake of NSW uranium exploration licenses By Jacqueline Breen, 18 Mar 15,  Only one of the six companies invited by the State Government to apply for a uranium exploration license has done so. The ban on mining uranium in New South Wales remains in place, but the Coalition has lifted the ban on exploration.

Last year the government invited six companies to apply for licenses to explore for deposits around Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.

Only EJ Resources has submitted an application, seeking three licenses to explore north of Broken Hill.

The other companies–Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy–did not apply before the government’s March deadline passed. When the government announced the shortlist last year Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said the state needed a “stock-take” of its uranium resources.

“This will allow us to understand fully what the uranium reserves are in New South Wales,” he said.

If EJ Resources’ license application is successful, the state government’s Division of Energy and Resources said only low impact monitoring that doesn’t disturb land can be carried out, unless further approval is sought.

The division said a land access agreement with landholders must be in place before any exploration begins.

March 18, 2015 Posted by | business, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

Nigel McBride sees $billions in welcoming in the world’s radioactive trash

greed-1Nuclear Royal Commission urged to fast-track storage talks DANIEL WILLS STATE POLITICAL EDITOR THE ADVERTISER MARCH 03

BUSINESS has urged South Australia’s nuclear Royal Commission to fast-track consideration of hosting the nation’s first major waste dump, amid fears the state could miss out on a lucrative opportunity to take a foothold in a future storage industry.

The Federal Government has announced a new tender process for a national radioactive waste management facility and is seeking site nominations until May 5. However, South Australia’s Royal Commission is not expected to conclude until late this year or early 2016.

Australia has 4248 cubic metres of low level and 656 cubic metres of intermediate level waste in temporary storage, which the Federal Government is seeking to consolidate.

Most has been produced as the by-product of medical, research and industrial processes.

BusinessSA chief executive Nigel McBride said waste storage was a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the state and could become a major new revenue stream for government.

“The thing that really stands out as an opportunity is spent nuclear fuel storage,” he said.

“Maybe we need to fast track that. Maybe that’s the part of the Commission that needs to come out first. “We can’t just wait until the Commission is over. They’re calling for it now…….

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney called for the tender to be delayed amid fears a rushed process could harm communities and the environment.

“There are no compelling social or technical reasons to rush a decision on an issue that demands the highest quality decision making,” he said. “We have time to get this issue right.”

March 4, 2015 Posted by | business, South Australia | Leave a comment

Port Adelaide doesn’t want a nuclear reactor – “Put it in Port Augusta”

Port Adelaide community leaders say they don’t want a nuclear power plant in the heart of the Port KURTIS EICHLER PORTSIDE MESSENGER FEBRUARY 18, 2015

 THE Port Adelaide Mayor and a local MP say they do not want a nuclear reactor built in their patch.Port Adelaide Enfield Mayor Gary Johanson and State Labor Port Adelaide MP Susan Close say any such plan for the heart of the Port would not be viable.

Mr Johanson said because the district was only 14km from the city it should not be an option for generating nuclear energy.He said Port Augusta, 322km north of Adelaide, was a better and more “convenient” option for the state.


While Mr Johanson would not be drawn on the viability of storing the state’s nuclear waste on the Le Fevre Peninsula, he said a power plant would not work even if it did create jobs………

“There are benefits in job creation in other areas such as freight but I don’t think it is feasible to have a nuclear power plant in the Port,” Mr Johanson said.

“I can’t see you would want to build it anywhere in metropolitan Adelaide.” Mr Johanson said most Port Adelaide residents would not want to live near a nuclear reactor……..

Dr Close agreed the Port was ill-suited for nuclear power. “The idea of a nuclear plant in the Port is a ridiculous and inflammatory suggestion and I don’t support it,” she said.Local real estate agent Rob McLachlan said a nuclear power plant in the heart of the Port would not attract people to live in the area.

Port Augusta mayor Sam Johnson did not return calls before the Portside Messenger’s deadline.

February 20, 2015 Posted by | business, South Australia | Leave a comment

ERA uranium miner posted profit losses for past 4 years

Uranium miner ERA posts new profit losses Australian Mining,17 February, 2015 Ben Hagemann Energy Resources Australia has posted a loss on net profits for the fourth year running, as the company moves closer to first ore from the Ranger 3 Deeps project.

The ERA full year report for 2014 shows sales revenue up from $356.1 million in 2013 to $379.2 million, however nets profits have dropped from -$135.8 million to -$187.8 million.

Production has copped a beating as the Ranger begins to reach the end of its mine life, down to 1165 drummed tonnes in 2014, compared to 2960 in 2013 and 3710 in 2012.

The Ranger mine will continue mining until 2021, with full rehabilitation required by 2026, and has spent $378 million on rehab and water management over the past 2 years……

February 18, 2015 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Australia loses jobs as the Abbott government attacks renewable energy

green-collarBy leaving the current target in place and providing an assurance that they support renewable investment the government could make a tangible and significant step to help restart an industry that will stimulate employment.

Renewable energy is popular, and job growth is essential. Committing to the existing Renewable Energy Target would be a good first step for policy makers on all sides to show they are serious about creating Australia jobs rather than fighting ideological battles.

Jobs and investment on the line as eco-dogma abounds The federal government’s ideological stance against the environment threatens investment and jobs.
By Matthew Rose  Current unemployment figures demonstrate the Australian economy is struggling to create jobs. Unemployment has risen to 6.4% – the highest it has been since 2002.  Alarmingly, youth unemployment is at its highest level since 1998.

This is occurring while renewable energy companies such as TrustPower, Infigen Energy and Pacific Hydro are suspending further investments in Australia because of the uncertainty around the RET. Continue reading

February 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, employment | Leave a comment

Australia’s uranium industry in a sick and sorry state

cliff-money-nuclearAustralia’s uranium industry is in a sick and sorry state. Production of 5000 tonnes in 2014 was the lowest for 16 years. The industry generates less than 0.2 per cent of national export revenue and accounts for less than 0.02 per cent of jobs in Australia (about 1200 jobs).

The Ranger open-cut mine in the NT has been mined out and the planned Ranger 3 Deeps underground mine is subject to doubt and delay. Energy Resources of Australia has posted losses for each of the past five years, totalling $500 million. The uranium industry in the NT may come to an end when the last of the Ranger ore stockpile is milled in two years time.

In South Australia, the planned expansion of the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine was cancelled in 2012, and hundreds of workers have been retrenched by BHP Billiton since then. The Honeymoon mine has been put into care-and-maintenance. Beverley Four Mile started production last year, at the same time as the nearby Beverley mine was put into care-and-maintenance. Instead of the usual fanfare, The Advertiser reported: “South Australia’s newest mine will lose money and won’t create any jobs.” 

Nuclear non-starter: Oversupplied, losing money and without a constituency, Climate Spectator, JIM GREEN 16 Feb 15 As discussed in Climate Spectator recently, some nuclear insiders and lobbyists are starting to confront the reality that the global pattern of nuclear power stagnation is likely to continue. With the number of ‘operable’ power reactors declining from 443 to 437 over the past decade, the rhetoric about a nuclear renaissance is becoming hard to sustain.

Similar opinions about the uranium industry are becoming increasingly common. Continue reading

February 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia tight-lipped about its Ranger mine’s gloomy financial situation

Ranger-3ERA keeps its Ranger delay very hush-hush BY CRAIG DUNLOP NT NEWS FEBRUARY 11, 2015  ENERGY Resources Australia has quietly delayed the expansion of the Ranger uranium mine, with work now set to commence at an unspecified date in 2016, rather than its original target date of late 2015.

The company, 68 per cent owned by mining giant Rio Tinto, made the announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange late on Friday.

“Dependent on the outcome of further work, and ­subject to board and regulatory approvals, first development ore for Ranger 3 Deeps is now expected to be in 2016,” the ­report said.

It also said that ERA was likely to require further investment for the expansion to go ahead.

The knock-on effects from the failure of a leach tank in 2013 continued to be felt until mid-2014, as the company was forced to purchase, and then onsell, uranium in order to meet its prearranged sales ­contracts.

The delay has pleased environmental groups, who have long objected to Ranger 3, with the Environment Centre NT and the Australian Conservation Foundation labelling the expansion plans “unviable”.

The Environment Centre NT’s Lauren Mellor said: “The delay on investment in the Ranger 3 Deeps project is a major setback for both Rio and ERA, with costs continuing to blow out and time running out for this short-term, high-risk venture.”………

    In light of the losses and the investment required in Ranger 3, the company’s directors have not issued a dividend.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Rio’s investment delay adds difficulty to Ranger 3 Deeps uranium mine proposal 

cliff-money-nuclear13 Feb 15 National and Territory Environment Groups have today welcomed the announcement that investment in Ranger 3 Deeps, a controversial new underground uranium mine proposal has been significantly delayed by Rio Tinto, majority owner of the embattled Ranger uranium mine within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park.


The decision came off the back of further record losses for Rio subsidiary and Ranger mine operator Energy Resources of Australia of $188 million in 2014 and $136 million in 2013. ERA have now suffered five consecutive yearly losses totalling $500 million.

“Ranger’s underground mine has become a money pit for Rio Tinto, with the company investing hundreds of millions in feasibility studies and an underground decline tunnel in recent years, and has faced unprecedented community opposition receiving over 4500 public submissions opposing the mine during the Environment Impact Assessment public comment phase in December last year,” Lauren Mellor, Nuclear-free Campaigner with the Environment Centre NT said.

“The delay on investment in the Ranger 3 Deeps project is a major setback for both Rio and ERA, with costs continuing to blow out and time running out for this short-term, high risk venture. Years of sustained uranium company and sector losses have shown even the industry’s biggest players are getting cold feet for new mines, with no commodity price recovery predicted within ten years – well past the legal operating timeframe for Ranger 3 Deeps.”

“This decision by the Rio board is a long overdue recognition that the project, like the wider uranium industry, is unviable. It has a very limited lease life, with all mining on the Ranger lease mandated to end in 2021, at a time when the commodity price has never been lower, making old mines like Ranger struggle, and new projects like Ranger 3 Deeps  buckle.” said Dave Sweeney of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“Day by day, every delay and every lost dollar makes this project less viable and less likely. “The nuclear industry simply can’t compete, on cost, construction times and on community standards for environmental protection. Like Ranger mine its well past its use by date and the NT and Federal governments should be using this company delay to instead accelerate a rehabilitation plan for Kakadu that will see the region and its inhabitants protected for the long haul.”


February 13, 2015 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

The greedy people who want to make money out of importing radioactive trash

a-cat-CANThese are some  of the people behind the push that got South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill to change his tune and open the door to the toxic nuclear chain in Australia.  Note that I write “chain” – not “cycle”

Directors at SA Nuclear Energy Systems Pty Ltd – the list includes former Labor federal MP Bob Catley, Ian Kowalick, a former head of the Department of Premier and Cabinet during John Olsen’s Liberal Government and later an information technology consultant to the Rann Labor Government, and climate scientists Professor Stephen Lincoln and Professor Tom Wigley

The nuke lobby would have us believe in  a cycle, whereby suddenly, by magic –  radioactive trash is no long trash.  It becomes a “valuable resource” – recycled into gee-whiz new (exiting only in blueprint) innocuous little nuclear reactors.

Apart from all the disecoomics, and health and environment aspects – the promised new reactors themselves create highly toxic radioactive wastes, and eventually themselves become highly toxic radioactive corpses.


February 9, 2015 Posted by | business, Christina reviews, South Australia | 8 Comments

South Australian Business and Premier want to import radioactive waste

Business groups embrace nuclear industry debate in South Australia ABC News 9 Feb 2015,The prospect of a nuclear industry in South Australia has been embraced by the state’s peak business group as a multi-million-dollar industry. Business SA chief executive Nigel McBride said it would be good for the state and could result in reduced carbon emissions.

“We’re talking about a massive, potential nuclear recycling industry,” he said.

“We’re talking about low energy costs and a huge rise in job opportunities through cheaper manufacturing, cheaper water.” SA Chamber of Mines and Energy chief executive Jason Kuchel said it was “about time” options for the future were discussed.

“One of those things that we would be hopeful for is that we might able to consider enriching uranium in South Australia,” he said.

Mr Weatherill …. indicated that he did not think the establishment of a SA nuclear power plant was on the horizon but said a nuclear waste dump and the creation of a nuclear enrichment industry should be considered……


But the Conservation Council’s chief executive Craig Wilkins described any use of nuclear energy in SA as “unwanted” and “unsafe”.

“It’s old thinking, rather than new thinking and it’s so frustrating to spend time, energy and resources investigating this when we are on the cusp of an energy revolution in renewable,” he said….


February 9, 2015 Posted by | business, politics, South Australia | 2 Comments

Energy Resources of Australia, uranium miner, suffers another annual loss

cliff-money-nuclearUranium miner’s loss widens, Yahoo News 7 Feb 15 The operator of the Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu National Park has suffered another annual loss and expects the uranium market to remain challenging.

The Rio Tinto-owned Energy Resources of Australia made a $188 million loss in 2014, after suffering a loss of $136 million in 2013.

The company expects to increase its uranium production in 2015, after output was dented in 2014 because of the suspension of processing operations for more than six months after the failure of a leach tank in December 2013.

The company’s purchase of uranium oxide to fulfil sales dragged on its earnings……..

February 7, 2015 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Investors are wary, as Australian miner Paladin sells uranium at way below cost of producing it

graph-down-uraniumPaladin Energy Ltd revenues soar 79% but shares sink Motley Fool By Mike King – January 19, 2015 Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd (ASX: PDN) has announced sales of US$69.9 million in the December quarter, a rise of 79% over the previous quarter.

But despite the news, shares are down 2.8% at 35 cents at lunchtime.

So why are investors selling out of a stock reporting such strong growth?

The problem is that Paladin sold 1.9 million pounds of uranium in the quarter, at an average price of US$36.58 per pound. That last figure is the issue – that price is well below what it costs Paladin to produce the uranium, and there are no signs that the price is…[members only]

January 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium price rally was short-lived

text-uranium-hypeUranium Rally Running Low on Juice After shooting higher, prices have come back down amid questions about how much more of the radioactive metal China needs to buy. BARRON’S 
Jan. 16, 2015 When uranium futures stormed higher last November, some analysts and investors were optimistic that a multiyear slump in yellowcake prices had ended. But it appears those hopes may have been premature: Prices are now cooling and concerns are being raised about how long it may take to work off massive stockpiles of the radioactive metal.

Uranium bulls have long pointed to China’s nuclear-industry expansion as a catalyst for a recovery in the market. In mainland China, there are 22 nuclear reactors currently operating, 26 being built and more about to start construction, according to the World Nuclear Association.

However, Australian investment bank Macquarie thinks there are now “serious question marks” about how much uranium the world’s No. 2 economy will need. “China is clearly the most positive story globally when it comes to nuclear-power-capacity expansion,” according to Macquarie analysts. “The concern, however, is that China has already procured a substantial amount of uranium well in excess of what it has consumed and that this advance purchasing might limit its need to enter the market to source material over the next few years,” they add in a note.

Uranium prices have mostly languished since the 2011 Fukushima disaster………with uranium prices rising 37% from August through November as Japan moved closer to restarting its idled reactors. Consultants Ernst & Young said they thought the market had bottomed. Analysts at Australian brokerage Bell Potter agreed.

BUT THAT RECOVERY HAS STALLED…….While the revival of Japan’s nuclear sector is positive for prices, China’s potential demand is more important……..But Macquarie’s analysts say China’s growing store of uranium may be bigger than anyone previously thought. Their latest analysis suggests China increased its stockpiles by 17% last year and now has enough uranium to meet domestic demand for about seven years at forecast 2020 consumption rates. China doesn’t provide data on its uranium inventories…. JPMorgan expects uranium prices to average $30.70 a pound this year, down from last year’s $31.70…….

January 19, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Despite Minderoo’s objections, uranium exploration will go ahead on Andrew Forrest’s land in W.A.

Uranium exploration given the go-ahead on Forrest’s land, Australian Mining, 8 January, 2015 Vicky Validakis Cauldron Energy has won the right to explore for uranium on Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo pastoral station in the Pilbara.

West Australian Mines Minister Bill Marmion gave the exploration proposal the go-ahead after the mining warden recommended it be rejected in February 2014.

Mining Warden Kevin Tavener said the application for three exploration permits on Minderoo should be rejected because of the company’s low cash position.

It was a decision that reverberated throughout the industry as junior mining companies typically do not have access to deep cash reserves……..

Forrest’s Minderoo expressed its disappointment at the decision.

“Minderoo is disappointed at the minister’s decision to allow exploration by Cauldron Energy within the historical and environmentally fragile parts of Minderoo station,” a spokesperson said.

“As we have continuously stated on the public record, Minderoo supports development as long as it has no negative impact on the environment, and specifically protects the delicate environment of the Ashburton River.”

January 10, 2015 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | 1 Comment


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