Anti-uranium activists criticise NSW exploration program, Australian Mining 15 September, 2014 Vicky Validakis Anti-nuclear campaigners have criticised the NSW government for opening up the state to uranium exploration.
The move comes two years after NSW overturned a uranium exploration ban. Mining uranium is still restricted.
Three locations around NSW – near Broken Hill, near Cobar and south of Dubbo – have been earmarked for drilling activity.
Natalie Wasley, spokeswomen for the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, said the decision was disappointing, ABC reported.
“Uranium has very unique and dangerous properties and risks,” Wasley said. “It’s linked to the production of the world’s most toxic and long-lasting industrial waste, as well as proliferation of the world’s most destructive weapons, so it poses a risk to workers, to communities and the environment.”
Wasley said the sector will only create a small number of jobs, and claims the risks associated with uranium outweigh any economic benefits. “We know that in rural and regional areas there’s a much better opportunity for long-lasting sustainable jobs in the renewable sector.”
“We’d really encourage those local governments and the state governments to be putting money and resources into developing more creative, long-term and sustainable jobs for people.”……..
The six companies invited to apply for licenses are Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, EJ Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy. http://www.miningaustralia.com.au/news/anti-uranium-activists-criticise-nsw-exploration-p
Uranium exploration in western NSW – but mining is still prohibited NSW Country Hour Sally Bryant and Julie Clift 15 Sept 14, The New South Wales Government has invited six mining companies to put in expressions of interest to explore for uranium, but mining will remain prohibited, until deposits prove economically viable.
However not all of the mining companies who are involved in this process are actually interested in mining for uranium.
One of six companies invited to tender for an exploration licence, Alkane Resources, is developing a rare earth project near Dubbo, in the state’s central west.
Alkane say they’re not interested in uranium, that they are merely protecting their rare earth project from other resource companies applying for an exploration licence over the top of them
Managing Director Ian Chalmers says this is an insurance policy for his company……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/uranium-exploration-in-western-nsw/5743584
Rally in Uranium Prices Is Unlikely to Last, WSJ, 14 Sep 14 Gains Fueled by Ukraine Crisis, Mine Unrest Don’t Offset Oversupply SYDNEY—A multiweek rally in uranium prices fanned by the Ukraine conflict and labor unrest at a large mine in Canada looks unlikely to continue for long as the reality of oversupply and lackluster demand sinks in among buyers of the nuclear fuel.
Industry analysts and some uranium producers believe that even as supplies fall, a substantial increase in demand is needed to drive prices up to levels that would make new investments worthwhile, when many operations are running at a loss……..
Demand for the fuel hasn’t recovered since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in 2011, which sparked nuclear-plant closures across the country and tarnished uranium’s image globally…….
state governments in resource-rich Australia have been encouraging the growth of the nation’s uranium industry. A decadeslong ban on uranium production in Queensland was lifted in July, opening the door to new applications to build mines in the state. The government of New South Wales this month said it would invite six companies to apply for exploration licenses.
Still, there is expected to be little investment in new projects until the market stages a more substantial comeback. Cameco said it would need to see much higher uranium prices before it started construction of its proposed Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia.
“The nuclear industry is still in the midst of upheaval,” said Jonathan Hinze, senior vice president at nuclear-research firm Ux Consulting Co. …http://online.wsj.com/articles/rally-in-uranium-prices-is-unlikely-to-last-1410726782
If Australia supplies 20% of that demand, uranium export revenue will increase by 3% — two orders of magnitude short of the figure in the Fairfax press.
Indian demand would have to grow ten-fold just to sustain one small uranium mine in Australia. Projections of exponential growth leading to hundreds of gigawatts (GW) of nuclear capacity in India should be disregarded. Continue reading
Directly or indirectly, Australia will be fuelling a nuclear arms race in South Asia … for a pittance in return.
It is foolish and dangerous to sell uranium to a country that is actively expanding its nuclear weapons arsenal and refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Opinion: Race to export uranium to India only has a booby prize http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/opinion-race-to-export-uranium-to-india-only-has-a-booby-prize/story-fnihsr9v-1227050580065 JIM GREEN THE COURIER-MAIL SEPTEMBER 08, 2014
- CLAIMS about the potential economic benefits of uranium sales to India are laughable.
Michael Angwin from the Australian Uranium Association claimed that Australia could sell 2500 tonnes of uranium annually to India by 2030, generating export sales of $300 million. A 2011 report in the Fairfax press claimed that uranium sales to India could generate $1.7 billion in annual exports.
Such claims ignore readily available facts.
According to the World Nuclear Association, India’s uranium demand this year will amount to just 913 tonnes – just 1.4 per cent of world demand. If Australia supplies 20 per cent of that demand, uranium export revenue will increase by 3 per cent.
Vanessa Guthrie from Adelaide-based uranium explorer Toro Energy, who is accompanying Prime Minister Tony Abbott on his trip to India, claims that by 2018-19 the uranium industry could generate 10,000 jobs.
But according to the most generous estimate, that of the World Nuclear Association, uranium mining and exploration account for just 1700 jobs in Australia – that’s 0.015 per cent of all jobs. So Guthrie anticipates a sixfold expansion in just five years, at a time when global nuclear power capacity is stagnant?
That’s laughable. Mr Abbott may struggle to keep a straight face as Guthrie dishes up this nonsense in India.
But there’s nothing funny about other aspects of the proposal to sell uranium to India. Continue reading
Australia’s Queensland state seeks investment from Indian firms in uranium mining Business Today Anilesh S Mahajan August 29, 2014 A week before Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott lands in New Delhi on his first trip to India, the Australian state of Queensland is soliciting investments from Indian companies to mine uranium…….
Late last night the John Borshoff-run company reported a basic operating loss of $3.4 million – which it blamed on the weak uranium price – compared to its operating profit of $55.9 million last year.
The $338 million book loss came on the back of a $226 million impairment on its Queensland exploration assets, along with smaller impairments at its African mines.
The Kayelekera Mine, which it put on care-and-maintenance in May, was the main culprit in the operating blowout, with the mine reporting basic cash costs – but not all-in costs – of $US42.6 a pound.
The uranium price has been hovering around the $30/lb pound mark for much of the year……….
Growing public anxiety in Greenland, over Australian uranium miner Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL)
Hooge explains that the “mineral authorities” have fed the public disinformation over the last years but the tide may be turning, with growing concerns over environmental effects and the leftist party Inuit Ataqatigiit pledging to roll back the repeal if it wins back power.
The prospect of a relatively unknown Australian company exploiting massive untapped resources in Greenland deserves a robust public and political debate. It has thus far received nothing in Australia, and little in Denmark and Greenland.
In an age of worsening climate change, mining uranium is an arguably unsafe and potentially explosive answer to the problem
This is a story about an Australian company you’ve never heard of, operating in a nation that rarely enters the global media: Greenland. It’s a story about the intense search for energy sources in a world that’s moving away from the dirtiest fossil fuels.
Aleqa Hammond, the prime minister of Greenland, is the first woman to lead this autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark. She also welcomes the financial opportunities from climate change and a melting Arctic Circle……..
In October last year, Hammond pushed legislation through Greenland’s parliament to overturn a 25 year old ban on the extraction of radioactive materials, including uranium, despite countless leading environmental NGOs urging otherwise.
It attracted global interest from the rare earth and uranium industries, including from China. Concerns were also raised about Greenland’s ability to manage a toxic substance in the wake of Fukushima and Chernobyl.
The company Greenland Minerals and Energy Limited (GMEL) is based in Perth, Western Australia. This year GMEL announced a major step forward in their plan to open one of the world’s largest uranium mines in southern Greenland, at Kvanefjeld, near Narsaq. The mine will also produce fluoride, thorium and other rare earths.
There is still significant opposition to the Kvanefjeld project. The Ecological Council, a Danish NGO, organised a conference to discuss the potential contamination risks in March, noting that the mine poses serious risks for the inhabitants of the nearby village, Narsaq.
Many locals told the BBC that they worried about pollution and challenges to traditional ways of life if GMEL moved ahead with its plans.
Unsurprisingly, Danish green groups have pushed for a continued ban on uranium mining. They claim that rare earth elements can be extracted without uranium mining in Greenland.
Who owns GMEL?
This would have been an important but fairly typical contest over resources, but after issues surrounding the ownership and status of Perth-based GMEL were raised in the Greenlandic parliament, the prospects of the Australian firm may be in jeopardy. Continue reading
Darwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14 “……….Mr Sweeney also says he’s not convinced by the Queensland Government’s assertions that Queensland ports won’t export uranium in the near future, negating the need for transfer to Darwin or Adelaide. “The Queensland Government has had a number of direct opportunities to rule [exporting from Queensland] out and it hasn’t,” he said.
“They’ve kept the door open for future uranium exports from a Queensland Port, and particularly from the Port of Townsville.”
“We’ve seen in both the Federal Government’s energy white paper, and in clear statements by the Australian Uranium Association, an industry body, a desire to develop an east coast port for uranium exports,” he said.
Mr Sweeney suspects Townsville is the most likely city to become a future Queensland-based export hub for uranium, despite Mr Cripps’ saying it is unlikely. “The Ben Lomond [uranium] project is 50 kilometres up the road from Townsville, now you join those dots and you get a picture of ships through the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.
Canadian miner Mega Uranium, although interested in the Ben Lomond site, it is yet to announce plans to re-open it.
However, a French-owned mining company is spending millions of dollars on uranium exploration near remote towns in north-west Queensland, in a race to be the state’s first uranium miner since the ban 32 years ago.
AREVA Resources has drilled more than 90 holes since late 2012, and managing director Joe Potter says the company plans to continue searching.
“The change in policy and the certainty around the ability to mine uranium in Queensland has given us the confidence to press on with our exploration and see if we can become the first uranium miner,” he said.
The company plans to continue searching around Cloncurry, west of Mt Isa, later this year……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-13/queensland-looks-to-adelaide-anddarwin-to-export-uranium/5666458
Proposed WA uranium mine will poison groundwater opponents say http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/08/12/proposed-wa-uranium-mine-will-poison-groundwater-opponents-say Environmental groups say they fear a proposed WA uranium mine will poison groundwater and affect food supplies. By Ryan Emery 12 AUG 2014 LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ARE CLAIMING THAT A PROPOSED URANIUM MINE WILL POISON GROUNDWATER AND AFFECT FOOD SOURCES IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA’S EASTERN PILBARA REGION.
The Kintyre project, 260km northeast of Newman, will be WA’s second most advanced uranium mine if it gets final environmental approval from the state’s Environment Minister Albert Jacob.
Uranium mining had been banned in the state until the then Liberal-National government was elected in 2008.
The state’s Environmental Protection Authority has recommended that the project, backed by Canadian uranium miner Cameco, be given conditional environmental approval.
However, opponents of the mine say the assessment was flawed.Mia Pepper from the Conservation Council of Western Australia says a hydrology report failed to consider the traditional owners’ knowledge of rainfall patterns and water flow at the proposed site.
She says they claim water flows from the site into the nearby Karlamilyi National Park, not into the Great Sandy Desert.
“The difference between those two scenarios are really significant when you’re talking about a uranium mine and the pathways for radioactive mine waste to leak into that groundwater and just how far that contamination could spread and what areas it could impact on,” she said.
“And we’re talking about a national park, and we’re talking about communities so the impacts are really significant.”
Concerns have also beeing raised over radioactive waste management, and the impactof the mine on rare and threatened species.
The mine’s proponent Cameco has previously said it is confident it can mine in the area “in a way which maintains the ecological functions and environmental values in the area.”
A decision on ministerial environmental approval is expected in the coming months.
http://tonyserve.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/uranium-mine-abandoned-but-what-about-taxpayer-subsidies-to-mining-co-australia-wapol-auspol/ Uranium miner Areva quizzed over Royalties for Regions payment, 12 August 2014 Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Region, Robin Chapple MLC has quizzed the State Government over its funding support of a subsidiary of French uranium miner Areva, for its North Canning Project.
Earlier this week, Areva Resources Australia announced that it would move to abandon the Kimberley uranium project because it is not technically feasible.
“Did they get Royalties for Regions funding? Was it utilised or if not, was it returned? If not, why not?” Mr Chapple said.
“I am gobsmacked at the constant allocations of funding being poured into the pockets of those already at the very top of the super-rich mining pyramid. It’s an inequity of the highest order.
“The Royalties for Regions Scheme should be taking from the exploitative, extractive industries and supporting true regional development. We should be funding future industries, affordable housing and community infrastructure that will ensure sustainability beyond this limited mining boom. Why are we using these precious funds to facilitate unsustainable mining practices?
“It’s obvious that the State is struggling to provide affordable housing, energy infrastructure, good public transport options, community and health services, let alone take care of our fragile environment.
“Whichever way we look at it, we cannot justify this expenditure,” Mr Chapple said.
Darwin and Adelaide likely export hubs for Queensland uranium (includes audios) ABC Rural By Marty McCarthy 14 Aug 14 “……..Queensland announced this month it is now accepting applications from uranium miners wanting to operate in the state after a 32 year ban, raising questions about where the uranium will be exported from.
There are no ports in Queensland licensed to export the material, and the Newman Government says ports in Adelaide and Darwin will likely be used instead, rather than shipping over the Great Barrier Reef.
Queensland’s Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Andrew Cripps, says it’s not up to him to decide which city becomes the hub for Queensland’s uranium exports. …….
Mr Cripps would not rule out exporting uranium from Queensland directly……..
not everyone sees trucking uranium across the country as an opportunity. Continue reading
Uranium sanctions next, Julie Bishop warns Russia, as part of ‘broader, deeper’ response over MH17, SMH August 8, 2014 Latika Bourke
National political reporter Further Russian intervention in Ukraine would invite Australian sanctions including on the sale of uranium says Foreign Minister Julie Bishop who has declared “everything’s on the table” if Moscow fails to accept responsibility for downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
Ms Bishop’s stern warning came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in Sydney on Friday afternoon, called on Russia to hold back its forces, currently massing on the Ukraine border. He said any crossing would constitute an “invasion”.
“I want to say very clearly that we are working towards stronger sanctions,” he said.
“I say to President Putin, if he wants to be regarded as a world leader, as opposed to becoming an international outcast: hold your forces back. Stay behind the border, let the business of Ukraine be sorted out by Ukranians.”…….If Russia does seek to intervene in Ukraine, there would be consequences” Ms Bishop warned……..Russia announced its own retaliatory sanctions on Australia and other Western nations overnight, which include banning foodstuffs, including meat, fruit and vegetables.
Ms Bishop played down their impact on the Australian economy and said it was more “petulance” from Russia, which has refused to accept responsibility for MH17. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/uranium-sanctions-next-julie-bishop-warns-russia-as-part-of-broader-deeper-response-over-mh17-20140808-3ddf2.html#ixzz39vw7gvb6
Should we be selling uranium still to Russia?, Independent Australia Dave Sweeney 4 August 2014, Australia’s treaty watchdog refused to endorse the treaty to sell uranium to Russia due to security issues. Dave Sweeney, theAustralian Conservation Foundation’s nuclear-free campaigner, calls for the treaty to be reviewed in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy. IT IS appropriate that Australia takes strong action to send a clear message to Moscow in the aftermath of the MH17 tragedy. Not welcoming Russian president Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit in November would be one step.
Immediately halting Australian uranium sales would be another.
Uranium is a dual use fuel. It provides the power fuel for nuclear reactors and the bomb fuel for nuclear weapons — and the distinction between the two sectors is more one of political convenience than practical effect……….
In 2007 and again in 2008, Russia threatened Poland with nuclear strikes from missiles it would base at its enclave of Kaliningrad following Polish approval for U.S. missile defence bases in Poland. Today, as clashes continue along the Ukrainian border, we can be sure Moscow’s missiles are on high alert………
JSCOT, to its considerable credit, recommended a mix of caution and action in relation to Australian uranium sales to Russia. It called for any sales to be linked to Russian compliance with a set of essential pre-conditions including a detailed analysis of Russia’s nuclear non-proliferation status; the complete separation of Russia’s civil and military nuclear sectors; reductions in industry secrecy; independent safety and security assessments of Russian nuclear facilities; and action on nuclear theft and smuggling concerns.
None of these have been realised and as the crackdown on EcoProtection! shows, the Russian nuclear sector is becoming even less transparent. Continue reading
1 Aug 14 State government plans released today and promoting a fast tracked uranium industry in Queensland have been described by ACF as fanciful and irresponsible.
“The LNP’s promotion of uranium mining has the logic of a problem gambler,” said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. “It is a bad policy based on a broken promise and is driven by enthusiasm rather than evidence”.
Ahead of the 2012 state election Campbell Newman declared it was ‘very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland’. After the election and without any independent assessment or public consultation the LNP back-flipped on uranium and today Mines Minister Cripps is championing the sector.
His industry promotion is deeply flawed, including in relation to:
(i) Economic benefits – these have never independently tested by LNP and the Australian uranium industry has been seriously hurt and constrained by market fallout from Fukushima with the uranium price hovering around nine-year lows amid weak demand.
The Ministers spruiking of uranium as an economic bonanza has been released as Australia’s longest operating uranium mine – Energy Resources of Australia’s Ranger mine in Kakadu – announced a further half year operating loss of $127 million.
“Queenslanders would do well to look at the facts before signing on to the fiction. This is an absurd time to be giving a green light to yellowcake,” said Mr Sweeney.
(ii) Royalty payments: the Minister’s talk of “royalties to fund school and health services, roads and public infrastructure” fails to acknowledge that the Queensland Resources Council is currently involved in closed door talks with the LNP seeking to negotiate reduced or suspended royalties for any future state uranium mine.
(iii) Uranium transport: Minister Cripps dismissal of community concerns over the possible future movement of uranium through a Queensland port lacks credibility. The LNP government has not ruled out any such movements, the Port of Townsville has formally expressed interest in facilitating such movements, the federal government and uranium industry lobbyists are pushing for a new export site on the east coast and the proposed Ben Lomond deposit is just up the road.
In today’s media when asked whether it was possible for a Queensland port to be granted permission to be used as an export point, Mr Cripps would not rule it out: “Well if an application comes forward to assess a port for the export of uranium oxide, I mean, we’ll take it and we’ll assess it.”
“The Queensland community and environment deserve better than backflips, backroom deals and backward thinking,” said Mr Sweeney.
“If Minister Cripps thinks this industry adds up he should have no problem with an independent public Inquiry into the cost and consequences of the LNP’s plan for uranium mining. This industry is contested and contaminating and demands scrutiny and rigour, not wishful thinking and lame assurances,” said Mr Sweeney.
Further context or comment: Dave Sweeney 0408 317 812