Australian news, and some related international items

Australian uranium miner Paladin continues its revenue fall

graph-down-uraniumPaladin’s revenue continues to slide Revenue for uranium miner Paladin Energy fell in the three months to the end of March.
 SBS News, Source   AAP 22 April 14
 Uranium miner Paladin Energy’s revenue has fallen as the price of the nuclear energy source continues to decline.

The company’s sales revenue of $US88.56 million in the three months to March 31 was down from $US106 million in the same period a year earlier.

Its average sales price in the March quarter was $US36.82 per pound, down from $US38.40 in the first six months of the 2013/14 financial year, and $US55.22 in same quarter a year earlier…….

April 23, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin’s production declines

Paladin production declines on Malawi mine closure Mining Weekly, By: Esmarie Swanepoel
22nd April 2014  PERTH ( – Uranium miner Paladin Energy has reported a decline in production during the three months to March, after placing its Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, on care and maintenance in February.

During the quarter under review, Paladin reported a combined production of just over two-million pounds from its Kayelekera and Langer Heinrich mines. This compared with the 2.2-million pounds of uranium oxide (U3O8) in the previous quarter.

The Kayelekera operation produced 696 710 lb during the quarter, compared with the 777 015 lb produced in the previous three months.

Paladin suspended operations at Kayelekera in February this year, citing the depressed price of U3O8, and the unsustainable cash demand to maintain the loss-making operation.

Production at the Langer Heinrich operation, in Namibia, declined to 1.39-million pounds during the three months to March, compared with the 1.43-million pounds produced over the three months to December……..

April 23, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

In lead up to Rio Tinto’s Australian AGM (May 8) signs that Rio will not pay up for fixing up Ranger uranium mine

Ranger-uranium-mineRio chief tight-lipped on Ranger mine, SMH April 16, 2014 - Peter Ker Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh has refused to guarantee that his company will cover the cost of rehabilitating the Ranger uranium mine near Kakadu, building on uncertainty that was created last month by the Rio subsidiary in charge of the mine.

Energy Resources of Australia – which is 68 per cent owned by Rio – raised eyebrows when it revealed it may need to find new sources of money to meet its rehabilitation commitments for Ranger, which is entirely surrounded by Kakadu National Park.

Under the Ranger permit, ERA must have rehabilitated the site by 2026, and a review of the rehabilitation strategy in 2013 found the cost would be $603 million on a net present cost basis. ERA has $357 million on hand and has ceased mining at Ranger, with the company now exploring for more uranium underground in a bid to find future revenue streams.

In an unusual move, ERA appeared to link the success of that exploration project – known as Ranger 3 Deeps – to its ability to pay for the rehabilitation of the site. “If the Ranger 3 Deeps mine is not developed, in the absence of any other successful development, ERA may require an additional source of funding to fully fund the rehabilitation of the Ranger Project Area,” the company said in its annual report.Such an outcome would be unusual, as miners are typically compelled to pay for the rehabilitation at the end of a mine’s life through provisions that are made each year.

In ERA’s case, some rehabilitation is already underway and it maintains a trust with the Australian Government which was holding $63.9 million at December 31.

When asked at Tuesday night’s annual meeting of Rio shareholders in London, Mr Walsh indicated he was in no mood to pick up the tab for ERA, particularly after Rio took part in a $500 million equity raising for the company in 2011. “There was a rights issue at ERA to fund the rehabilitation work and those funds are still sitting within that business,” said Mr Walsh.

”(ERA) is a public Australian company and clearly that is an issue for them.

“We are clearly shareholders, but it’s a matter for all shareholders and a matter for the ERA board.”

Environmental sensitivities of another kind were also raised at the AGM, with Rio executives forced to defend the company’s continued involvement in coal mining.

Mr Walsh said Rio did accept that “man made emissions” were responsible for changes in the climate, but the company believed the challenge could be resolved through technological developments rather than by ceasing coal production………

Rio’s Australian AGM will take place on May 8. 

April 16, 2014 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

No real recovery in sight for dismal uranium prices

bull-uncertain-uraniumFN Arena reports (15 April 14)  “……The recovery will not, however, be long lasting under CIMB’s modelling. Despite recent voluntary cuts to supply, including Paladin Energy’s Kayelekeera mine in Malawi being placed into care & maintenance, and despite the end of the Russian HEU supply agreement, CIMB sees the global uranium market drifting back in to surplus by 2016. …

In the meantime, UBS is the most recent of brokers to mark uranium prices to market for the purpose of producer valuations. The broker has cut its 2014 average price forecast to US$39/lb from US$43/lb previously. …”

April 16, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | 2 Comments

Uranium mining plans by Toro Energy – expensive, polluting, and under investigation

bull-uncertain-uraniumToro uranium expansion plan: premature and polluting    | April 7, 2014 

Western Australia’s peak environmental group has condemned a move by uranium mining hopeful Toro Energy to expand their unrealised Wiluna mine plan into a much larger uranium mining precinct spanning 100km and two ecologically sensitive lake systems in the East Murchison region.

The state EPA has released details of the expansion plan while the company is under investigation by the Australian Securities Exchange for a second time over claims they have released misleading information to shareholders and the market. (See background below).

“Toro have never successfully mined anything before and have a long way to go to get their original single-mine project approved – let alone any new expansion,” said CCWA Nuclear Free campaigner, Mia Pepper.

“Contrary to their statements to shareholders, the company needs to complete additional environmental management , mine closure, tailings management and transport plans for assessment before any mining can commence at the Wiluna site.”

The company has struggled to find investors and currently needs $300 million in start-up costs and a further $300 million in upfront bonds.

“This new plan to attract investors is likely to draw further scrutiny from both regulators and the wider community who will be looking at the cumulative impacts of a regional uranium precinct covering 100km and two arid zone Lake Systems.”

“Toro plans to double its water consumption and store radioactive mine waste from several mine sites in a Lake bed. This idea lacks credibility and the company lacks capacity, experience and financial backing.”

Toro’s new plan involves four deposits over one hundred kilometres – Lake Way, Centipede, Millipede and Lake Maitland, with the company’s long term plans including mining an additional three deposits Nowthanna, Dawson Hinkler and Firestrike – covering a hundred kilometres in the other direction.

Also in the region is WA’s largest uranium deposit – Yeelirrie, which is now owned by Cameco. Traditional Owners have consistently opposed this project for forty years.

CCWA is partnering with a range of public health, union and faith groups to call for a public inquiry into the Toro mine plan.

ASX investigation

The Mineral Policy Institute and the Conservation Council of WA received formal notification that the Australian Securities Exchange is investigating Toro Energy for the second time over the release of potentially misleading information. Continue reading

April 15, 2014 Posted by | business, environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

French analysts surprised to find that Renewable Energy Target REDUCES Australia’s energy costs

Parkinson-Report-Schneider study finds boosting renewables will cut energy costs (Excellent graphs) REneweconomy, By  on 14 April 2014 Analysts at French based energy components company Schneider Electric have concluded that extending or expanding Australia’s renewable energy target would lead to lower electricity prices, lower carbon emissions and increased competition.

Reducing, or removing the renewable energy target – as many incumbent generators, industry lobby groups, state governments and some of its own members are urging the Abbott conservative government to do – will have the opposite impact, pushing prices higher and creating a greater reliance on expensive gas-fired generation.

The conclusions in the white paper have apparently surprised even the four-man team from Schneider that conducted the analysis, and the unnamed large energy users who commissioned it. Large energy users have normally been against the renewable energy target, and this study – along with others that have reached similar conclusions – is causing a rethink.

The Schneider Electric analysis says Australia will benefit from maintaining, extending or expanding its large scale renewable energy target (LRET) because renewable generation has lower emissions and lower marginal costs than do fossil fuels- fired generation.

“As a result of the influence of the LRET on the generation mix, electricity generation emissions in Australia are forecast to be lower under the LRET than would be otherwise,” it says.

“Again, the LRET becomes a hedge against rising carbon prices, and may help to keep carbon prices lower as a result of the lower emissions.

“Finally, and most strikingly, is the impact of the LRET on long-term energy prices. The LRET is forecast to result in a generation mix with lower marginal cost, lower carbon emissions, and increased competition in the electricity market, all which serve to reduce prices.

“Even after taking into account the cost of Large-scale Generation Certificates, the LRET in its current form is forecast to result in prices lower in the long run than those under decreased targets or outright removal of the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target.”

The analysis is important in the light of claims made by incumbent generators about the cost of the renewable energy target on consumers, and some even wilder claims in conservative commentators that renewables could add 50 per cent to consumer bills by 2020.

Pacific Hydro general manager Lane Crockett said the analysis by Schneider and others clearly demonstrated that zero fuel cost renewable energy can act as a hedge against future price rises in coal and gas.

“This report by Schneider is one of a number of recent reports that clearly demonstrate that deployment of renewable energy technologies via the renewable energy target has played a major role in keeping wholesale electricity prices down and is likely to continue to do so provided it is largely left alone,” he said.

“This report is no real surprise and clearly shows that that promise of a cleaner, cheaper energy market is now closer than ever to becoming a reality.” …..

April 15, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, energy | Leave a comment

Uranium supply will outlast the uneconomic nuclear industry

 reality appears to be relegating nuclear power to the uneconomic category of history

scrutiny-on-costsEnough Uranium, but Nuclear Power Is Still Shrinking   By Paul Brown, Climate News Network This piece first appeared at Climate News Network.

LONDON—There is enough uranium available on the planet to keep the world’s nuclear industry going for as long as it is needed. But it will grow steadily more expensive to extract, because the quality of the ore is getting poorer, according to new research.

Years of work in compiling information from around the world has led Gavin M. Mudd from Monash University in Clayton, Australia to believe that it is economic and political restraints that will kill off nuclear power and not any shortage of uranium, as some have claimed.

Writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology that renewables do not have the disadvantages of nuclear power, which needs large uranium mines that are hard to rehabilitate and which generates waste that remains dangerous for more than 100,000 years.

In addition, research shows that renewable technologies are expanding very fast and could produce all the energy needs of advanced economies, phasing out both fossil fuels and nuclear.

Mudd, who is a lecturer in the department of civil engineering at Monash, has compiled decades of data on the availability and quality of uranium ore. He concludes that, while uranium is plentiful, mining the ore is very damaging to the environment and the landscape. Continue reading

April 14, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | 1 Comment

ERA desperately trying to restore confidence in uranium investors for Ranger mine

ERA digs deep in search of a future BARRY FITZGERALD THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 10, 2014
“…..Chief executive Andrea Sutton told ERA’s annual meeting in Darwin yesterday that the environmental impact statement would be submitted in the second half of this year. The company is targeting first production late next year and has a $120 million exploration decline and a $57m prefeasibility study into the development running concurrently. Uranium production at Ranger from stockpiled ore is suspended following the collapse of a leach tank in the processing plant in December.

The collapse released a slurry of ore and acid which was captured by the site’s containment system, with ERA saying that no material escaped into Kakadu.

The AGM was told that ERA’s board had approved a work plan to bring the processing plant to readiness for a restart. But a final clearance is required from the NT and federal governments.

Ms Sutton was not able to put a timeline on when that might happen, raising the prospect that ERA will have to secure uranium from other sources. The meeting was told that the quantities involved would depend on the timing of operations being restarted.

The company said it understood the “importance of restoring confidence in the safety and environmental performance of the Ranger mine”.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | 1 Comment

The end of an era for Energy Resources of Australia’s uranium mining in Kakadu

thumbs-downThe ERA of uranium mining is over, Dave Sweeney 9 April 14, In the early hours of Saturday December 7th 2013 the evacuation order was given in the processing area of Energy Resources of Australia’s troubled Ranger uranium mine in Kakadu.

Minutes later came the unforgiving sound of peeling metal followed by a surge of over one million litres of highly acidic uranium slurry from the buckled and broken number one leach tank. The toxic tide swept over the concrete bunds meant to contain any spills and moved uncontrolled through the night and the site.

Four months later and ERA remains under pressure, under performing and under scrutiny. Mineral processing remains suspended at Ranger pending the findings of a federal government review of the tank collapse and this week the ERA board and management will face sceptical shareholders and no doubt plenty of critical questions at the company’s annual meeting in Darwin. Continue reading

April 9, 2014 Posted by | business, Northern Territory, uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium miner Paladin hit by costs of water.

nuke-tapUranium Miners in Namibia Face Rise in Water Price, Paladin Says By Felix Njini April 04, 2014 Uranium miners in Namibia, already coping with water shortages in the semi-arid Erongo region, face a steep rise in costs, Paladin Energy (PDN) Ltd. said.

“When we get it, sometimes we have problems with the quality of the water and the cost,” said Simon Solomons, managing director of Paladin’s Langer Heinrich mine. “At the moment there is no long-term solution to the water-supply situation.”

The mines operated by Paladin, Rio Tinto Plc and China General Nuclear Power Group rely on water from a 20 million-cubic-meter capacity desalination plant operated by Areva SA, a French reactor maker. Areva is in talks to sell a majority stake in the plant to state utility Namibia Water Corp. after shelving its Trekkopje project in 2012 as uranium prices slumped in the wake of the Fukushima disaster.

Namwater has “to look for finance to buy the plant,” Solomons said yesterday during a tour of the Subiaco, Western Australia-based company’s mine. “They will pass on those charges to the uranium mines.”

Calls to Namwater weren’t immediately answered.

The three mines, which require as much as 10 million cubic meters of water a year, were previously supplied by the Omaruru Delta aquifer, which has dwindling volumes as demand from the mines and surrounding towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay rises.

Langer Heinrich, which consumes 130,000 cubic meters of water a month, has had “no long-term and no firm discussion” with Namwater over supplies, Solomons said.

Namibia is the fourth-largest uranium producer after Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Felix Njini in Windhoek at

April 5, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business | Leave a comment

European company sell off its uranium asset to Australian company (unprofitable?)

bull-uncertain-uraniumEuropean Uranium to sell Slovakia uranium projects to Forte Energy Proactive Investors,  by Deborah Bacal 4 April 14 European Uranium Resources (CVE:EUU) said it has agreed to sell its Kuriskova and Novoveska Huta uranium projects in Slovakia to Australia’s Forte Energy NL (ASX:FTE) (LON:FTE) for approximately $8.5 million plus a production royalty. The deal represents the sale of the company’s only remaining mineral projects.  It told investors in a statement Friday that it now plans to investigate mineral projects to option or acquire in “multiple commodities” in Europe, with the deal today giving the company the initial funding to implement its business strategy.

The binding heads of agreement with Forte, a dual-listed exploration and development company with a portfolio of uranium assets in the Republics of Mauritania and Guinea, is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals of both companies…..

….French nuclear energy giant Areva currently holds a 4.5% stake in Forte.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Confusion over BHP’s plans about its uranium projects

BHPB-sadWhich of these reports  is true?
. - ” Divestments included petroleum, copper, coal, mineral sands, uranium and diamond assets…”
But then this one     “BHP noted it had completed divestments in Australia, the United States, Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom, in order to focus on its core petroleum, copper, coal,uranium and mineral sands businesses.

April 4, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

BHP getting out of uranium mining

BHPB-sadBHP weighs divestment options  Mining Weekly By: Esmarie Swanepoel 1st April 2014 PERTH – Mining giant BHP Billiton on Tuesday said it was “reviewing” and “assessing” its divestment options, after media outlets in Australia reported that the company was considering a $20-billion demerger plan……..

As we have said previously, the simplification of our portfolio is a priority and is something we have pursued for several years,” BHP said in response to the market speculation, adding that in the last two years, the company had completed a number of divestments in Australia, the US, Canada, South Africa and the UK.

Divestments included petroleum, copper, coal, mineral sands, uranium and diamond assets……….

BHP told shareholders that the company would actively continue to study the next phase of simplification, including its structural options, but noted that it would only pursue those avenues that maximised value for the company’s shareholders.

BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie has previously said that Australia would remain a focal point for the company, pointing out that the country accounted for about 70% of its profits……..

April 3, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Things just got even worse for Australian uranium miner Paladin

Uranium miner Paladin falls as Newmont sells 5.4% stake,Cecilia Jamasmie | March 12, 2014 Shares in Paladin Energy Limited (ASX, TSX:PDN) fell over 5% in Australia after news broke one of the world’s largest gold producers Newmont Mining Corporation (NYSE:NEM) is selling its 5.4% stake in the uranium miner……At the time of acquisition the stake was valued at about $278 million, but Paladin’s share price was struck shortly after by the Fukushima nuclear disaster and has had a rocky time since then.

March 13, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment

Senate Inquiry found big faults in Australia’s uranium industry

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.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, uranium | Leave a comment


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