Paladin cops ASX query over deals The West Australian on July 22, 2016, Paladin Energy has been forced to halt trading of its shares after a query from the Australian Securities Exchange demanding more information about $US200 million worth of deals flagged to the market yesterday.
Paladin did not outline the additional information requested by the ASX, but yesterday’s announcement was notable in that it did not give the name of the party offering to pay $US175 million for 24 per cent of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia.
Paladin said yesterday the agreement was non-binding and that “key terms of this proposed transaction remain confidential, including the identity of the counterparty”.
Paladin promised yesterday to disclose details as the deal firmed up, including the identity of the buyer.
But the ASX has been on the warpath over non-disclosure of counterparties to major funding deals since the Padbury Mining scandal in 2014, when shares in the market tiddler surged after it said funding had been “secured” from an unnamed party that would supposedly deliver $US6.5 billion to build the Oakajee port and rail project…….Paladin shares closed down 3.5¢ to 20.5¢ on the announcement yesterday. ra ra https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32125776/paladin-cops-asx-query-over-deals/#page1
Paladin sold down despite $US200m in deals Peter Klinger – The West Australian on July 21, 2016 Investors have failed to applaud news from debt-laden Paladin Energy that it had struck almost $US200 million worth of deals, including offloading a big slice of its flagship Langer Heinrich uranium mine.
The news also includes a plan to sell 75 per cent of the undeveloped Manyingee uranium project east of Onslow to Chinese-backed, ASX listed tin miner MGT Resources for up to $US30 million. The Manyingee deal does not include the Carley Bore deposit.
The proposed sale of a 24 per cent stake of Langer Heinrich, in Namibia, to an unnamed party for $US175 million is the main plank of Paladin’s long-awaited debt reduction plan.
The Perth company, which remains one of the world’s few pure-play uranium producers but is fighting to remain viable because of the nuclear fuel’s long-term depressed price, has $US212 million in convertible bonds due in April next year.
Paladin is refusing to name the “major participant in the global nuclear power industry” which will buy the stake, which will cut Paladin’s interest in its only operating asset to 51 per cent.
But analysts will be focusing on China National Nuclear Corporation, which bought 25 per cent of Langer Heinrich for $US190 million two years ago.
The lack of clarity or certainty around the Langer Heinrich sale saw Paladin shares fall 2.5 cents, or 10.42 per cent, to 21.5 cents at noon on solid turnover this morning.
“The parties are using their best endeavours to prepare definitive documentation for formal execution, including (a) sale and purchase agreement, shareholders agreement, and documentation for the uranium off-take arrangements,” Paladin said.
“Paladin is working towards a formal close of the transaction in the fourth quarter (of this year). Other than set out in this announcement, the other key terms of this proposed transaction remain confidential, including the identity of the counterparty.” https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32114763/paladin-sold-down-despite-us200m-in-deals/#page1
Uranium is the dirty underbelly of nuclear – scientist , Engineering News, BY: NEWS24WIRE, 21 july 16 Anti nuclear sentiment tends to focus on nuclear waste or operational risks, but more focus should be on the “dirty underbelly” of uranium mining, according to a science adviser.
“Whenever people get excited about nuclear power stations, they kind of forget where the actual uranium comes from,”Dr Stefan Cramer, science adviser for environmentalist groupSafcei, told Fin24 in an interview recently.
“Nuclear is a fallacy, both economically and environmentally,” Cramer, who was born in Germany but not now lives in Graaff-Reinet, claimed. “Uranium mining is the dirty underbelly of this whole nuclearcycle,” he said. “It’s where it all starts.”
“One must stop nuclear industries in (their) tracks because it leaves future generations with an immeasurable task and legacy,” he said. “The best point to start is at the source, where the whole cycle of nuclear technology begins, and that is at uranium mining.
“Uranium mining is very much the dirtiest part of the entire industry.” Anti-uranium mining boost
Cramer’s focus on anti-uranium mining was given a boost this month when Australian company Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited said it is downsizing its mining application in South Africa by almost 90%.
“Overall, the area covered by Tasman’s new and existing mining right and prospecting right applications in the Western and Eastern Cape will reduce by almost 300 000 ha to approximately 465 000 ha,” it said…… http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/uranium-is-the-dirty-underbelly-of-nuclear-scientist-2016-07-21
According to IBISWorld Australia’s uranium sector employs less than a thousand people and it generates around $700 million in sales. The uranium industry accounts for 0.01% (0.0084%) of jobs in Australia and in the 20131/14 financial year accounted for 0.19% of national export revenue. It is a sector that has promised much and delivered little.
But this hasn’t stopped the Minerals Council from pumping funds into poorly advised social and hard media campaigns of late to try to breathe life into the comatose uranium sector.
Australia’s nuclear-powered PR in meltdown, Independent Australia, 14 July 2016 With nuclear energy take-up shrinking post Fukushima, Australia continues to ignore the UN’s call for an independent cost-benefit analysis of our high risk-low return uranium trade. ACF’s Dave Sweeney examines the continuing spin by the MCA. “…… the changed status of Australia’s embattled uranium sector.
“Fukushima changed everything.” This might sound like a line from the anti-nuclear lobby but it is a direct quote from BHP, the world’s biggest miner. And they are right.
The Fukushima disaster was directly fuelled by Australian uranium and increasingly its impacts are being directly felt by the Australian uranium sector.
In the continuing shadow of Fukushima nuclear powers contribution to the global energy mix is shrinking and has been eclipsed by renewables, and with over 200 reactor shut-downs due by 2040, the industry will have to run hard just to stay put.
The related uranium market meltdown has been severe and seen prices, profits and employment numbers go south. Continue reading
Production for the period, characterised by a further fall in the already depressed spot price for uranium to $US26.40 a pound, slumped 18 per cent to 489 tonnes.
The 68 per cent-owned Rio Tinto subsidiary had been reduced to treating stockpiled material and was accumulating cash to cover the estimated rehabilitation cost of the mine, inside Kakadu, of more than $500 million.
Recently it reported it was holding cash of $433m, prompting Rio to offer a $100m credit facility to ensure rehabilitation costs were met…….
ERA had been planning to extend its mine life by developing the Ranger 3 Deeps deposit, but Rio and the traditional owners did not support the plan, meaning ERA’s existing Ranger authority to operate is set to end in 2021.
ERA has nevertheless preserved the option of an eventual development of Ranger 3 Deeps by committing to spending about $4m annually on care and maintenance of the exploration decline and related infrastructure.
The option was the key finding of the group’s strategic review, released in May, after it was clear the support of Rio and the traditional owners was not forthcoming.
Rio’s no-interest rehabilitation credit facility came with the condition that ERA did not seek to extend production at Ranger beyond 2020 by developing the Ranger 3 Deeps.
ERA previously said that while it expected to fully fund the rehabilitation, it might have to draw on the Rio funding in some situations…..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/companies/era-uranium-output-slumps/news-story/08e7df8b9a063dc6c8baa203d471f0ff
Toro signs native title deal for Wiluna, Yahoo News Jarrod Lucas, Kalgoorlie – The West Australian on July 7, 2016 Uranium hopeful Toro Energy has signed a native title agreement with the traditional owners of its proposed Wiluna mine.
It comes as Toro waits on the Environmental Protection Authority’s verdict on Wiluna after a three-month public review process was completed in February.
Wiluna is one of three Goldfields uranium projects — alongside Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project and WA’s biggest deposit, the Cameco- owned Yeelirrie — which are awaiting EPA approval.
The agreement with the Tarlka Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation, the native title holding body of the Wiluna people, recognises opportunities for a range of business and employment initiatives.
Toro’s managing director Vanessa Guthrie said the agreement was reached after more than seven years of relationship building with the Wiluna people……….
In July 2013 the Federal Court determined their native claim over almost 48,000sqkm, including the Millipede, Centipede and Lake Way uranium deposits which Toro plans to mine. The Wiluna project also takes in the Lake Maitland deposit, where mining would begin six years into the 20-year project life.There is currently no native title claim over Lake Maitland, but Toro has been engaging with the Barwidgee people who claim an interest.
The Liberal Government overturned a ban on uranium mining in 2008, but WA has not produced a single pound of yellowcake, with prices depressed since the 2011 Japanese tsunami sent the Fukushima plant into multiple meltdowns.
Wiluna became the first mine in WA to win State Government environmental approvals in October 2012 and Toro added Federal approval six months later. But the $35 million acquisition of the Lake Maitland deposit from Mega Uranium in mid-2013 meant Toro went back to the drawing board to win further approvals to add new deposits to the mine plan.
The situation is now delicately poised with Toro, Vimy and Cameco striving to win environmental approval before next year’s State election.
WA Labor remains opposed to the mining and export of uranium, but shadow mines minister Bill Johnston says the party would not over-turn approvals if it wins next year’s State election……….https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/wa/a/32003739/toro-signs-native-title-deal-for-wiluna/
The Lizards Bites Back music and arts festival and protest camp will take place at the gates of the Olympic Dam uranium mine (or close by) from the 1st – 3rd of July this year. The “protestival” will include a variety of musicians and artists from around the country, mobile artworks, workshops on nuclear issues, non-violent direct action, and the message that there is strong community opposition to uranium mining and any expansion of the nuclear fuel chain in South Australia, from BHP Billiton’s planned heap leach demonstration plant to current proposals for South Australia to host a nuclear waste dump. The event will run entirely on solar and wind power.
The entire nuclear fuel chain from mining to nuclear waste dumps poses unique health and environmental risks that span generations. With South Australia currently facing two proposals for nuclear waste dumps The Lizard Bites Back will re-focus on the source of the problem, highlighting an absurd global situation where we continue to mine a mineral that we cannot dispose of safely, whilst proposals are again being made to force nuclear waste dumps on communities that do not want them. The Olympic Dam mine itself will also eventually become a dump – in the sense that once it is closed, it will leave millions of tonnes of radioactive tailings on the surface of the land forever.
Uranium mining is the beginning of the nuclear fuel chain, and the problem of the long term storage of radioactive waste remains unresolved. Until the industry and governments stop creating nuclear waste by mining uranium, operating nuclear reactors and making nuclear weapons, why should any community bear the health and environmental risks associated with a nuclear waste dump? The government’s current approach mops up the bathroom floor whilst the tap is still running.
A responsible approach to managing nuclear waste would begin with stopping its production. An environmentally and socially just approach would stop targeting Aboriginal lands as sacrifice zones.
The Lizard Bites Back follows on from the Lizards Revenge in July 2012, which mobilised 500 people against the proposed expansion of the mine. Since then, that proposal has been shelved and the company has been investigating heap leach mining as part of a cheaper expansion plan. BHP is projected to begin a heap leach trial on the current mining lease by late this year. Even though this technique is not currently used on-site, Federal approval of the trial did not require environmental assessment.
Please see below for a summary of the issues. Continue reading
Artist Anohni completes outback trek in fight with Martu people against WA uranium mine, ABC News, By Claire Moodie , 13 June 16 Oscar-nominated transgender musician Anohni has described the proponents of a uranium mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara as “desolate souls” after taking part in a protest march to the site of the proposed project.
Anohni, formerly known as Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, made the comments after joining the Martu people on the 110 kilometre walk from the Parnngurr community to the site of Cameco’s Kintyre project, northeast of Newman. Continue reading
Australia’s uranium industry is also struggling just to stand still. The industry accounts for just 0.2 percent of national export revenue and less than 0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia. Those underwhelming figures are likely to become even less whelming with the end of mining and the winding down of processing at the Ranger mine in the NT.
Uranium on the rocks http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=18236&page=0
|By Jim Green , 17 May 2016 Indicative of the uranium industry’s worldwide malaise, mining giant Cameco recently announced the suspension of production at Rabbit Lake and reduced production at McArthur River/Key Lake in Canada. Cameco is also curtailing production at its two U.S. uranium mines. About 500 jobs will be lost at Rabbit Lake and 85 at the U.S. mines. A Cameco statement said that “with today’s oversupplied market and uncertainty as to how long these market conditions will persist, we need to focus our resources on our lowest cost assets and maintain a strong balance sheet.”Christopher Ecclestone, mining strategist at Hallgarten & Company, offered this glum assessment of the uranium market: “The long-held theory during the prolonged mining sector slump was that Uranium as an energy metal could potentially break away irrespective of the rest of the metals space. How true they were, but not in the way they intended, for just as the mining space has broken out of its swoon the Uranium price has not only been left behind but has gone into reverse. This is truly dismaying for the trigger for a uranium rebound was supposed to be the Japanese nuclear restart and yet it has had zero effect and indeed maybe has somehow (though the logic escapes us) resulted in a lower price.”
Ecclestone adds that uranium has “made fools and liars of many in recent years, including ourselves” and that “uranium bulls know how Moses felt when he was destined to wander forty years in the desert and never get to see the Promised Land.” He states that uranium exploration “is for the birds” because “the market won’t fund it and investors won’t give credit for whatever you find”. Continue reading
Environment groups have slammed attempts by the NSW government to talk up the potential for uranium exploration as well as coal seam gas to international investors.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that at a conference held in Toronto in March, Department of NSW Trade and Investment spruiked NSW as a ‘greenfields’ opportunity for uranium, citing areas in the central west around Broken Hill and the New England region as possible hotspots.
Beyond Nuclear Initiative coordinator Natalie Wasley said “Minister Roberts is going head first down a radioactive rabbit hole. The uranium industry is outdated and unsafe and it is flat lining economically.”
“When the uranium exploration moratorium was overturned in 2012, environment groups were joined by trade unions and medical organisations, as well as the state ALP and Greens parties to launch the NSW Uranium Free Charter. There has historically been strong opposition to uranium exploration and mining in NSW and this has not waned over time.”
“Attempts to open a uranium mining industry here will be challenged head on.”
Kerry Laws from Uranium Free NSW added: “NSW has the potential to be a leader in renewables, but the government is instead trying to drag the state back into the dirty dark ages of the uranium trade.”
“Minister Roberts and Premier Baird could give some substance to Turnbull’s innovation bandwagon, by exploring and mapping out renewable options, rather than resorting to an industry that both damages our land and creates by-products that remain toxic for 100,000 years.”
“The future is in regional, renewable industries.”
https://nuclearfree.wordpress.com/media/ , 11 May 16 Traditional Owners from the regions around the proposed Yeelirrie and Kintyre uranium operations in WA have today sent Cameco shareholders and stakeholders a clear message of opposition to any mining plans. The groups have released a joint statement to coincide with Cameco’s Annual General Meeting being held in Saskatoon, Canada.
Both communities have a long history of opposition to uranium mining plans at Yeelirrie and Kintyre, dating back to early uranium exploration in WA during the 1980’s. Both communities have also attracted the support of environment, social justice, union and health organisations and the state Labor and state and federal Greens parties in their fight against uranium mining.
“You can’t reverse what the old people have said before. We’re going to stop it” said Desmond Taylor, Karlamilyi Traditional Owner. “This is my spiritual birthplace, my dreaming place. Warturarra (the proposed Kintyre mine site) became my spiritual home; the bush food there became my totem. To mine there would take away my spirit and the totem, it will destroy the living things around it, that place would become empty.”
The joint statement is going to the Cameco Board, shareholders and major Canadian investors. It conveys the depth of the contest that company will face should it seek to advance uranium mining.
“Our country is special to us” said Kado Muir, a Yeelirrie Traditional Owner and Senate candidate for the National Party. “I’m not anti-mining I am speaking as a Traditional Owner communicating our view that Cameco and uranium mining are not welcome on our country. Uranium is different to other mining, because the risks remain for thousands of years. It is our responsibility to look after the land for future generations. We will continue to challenge the proposal to mine uranium at Yeelirrie.”
Members of the Parnngurr and Martu community will be walking from through the Karlamilyi National Park to the proposed uranium mine at Kintyre from the 4th – 12th of June in protest to Cameco and Mitsubishi’s uranium mine plans. See community interviews here.
The Walkatjurra Rangers and Yeelirrie Traditional Owners will also be walking in protest to the Yeelirrie uranium mine from the 7th of August – 7th September. This will be the sixth annual walk against uranium mining in the region. See community interviews here.
Pro-uranium social media campaign’s #epicfail Why are some still championing nuclear power when renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade? Jim Green, SBS, 25 Apr 2016 www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/04/25/comment-pro-uranium-social-media-campaigns-epicfail
The Minerals Council of Australia launched a pro-uranium social media campaign on Wednesday. By that afternoon the twitter hashtag #untappedpotential was trending but ‒ as an AAP piece picked up by SBS and others noted ‒ contributors were overwhelmingly critical.
Nearly all contributors offered thoughts such as these: “A week away from the #Chernobyl 30-year anniversary and Minerals Council begins propaganda trip on the #untappedpotential of uranium. Huh?!” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.
“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.
“#untappedpotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said.
“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential … for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.
No doubt the Minerals Council anticipated the negative publicity and is working on the basis that all publicity is good publicity. But what the MCA didn’t anticipate is that in recent days the uranium price has fallen to an 11-year low. Mining.com noted in an April 20 article that the current low price hasn’t been seen since May 2005. The current price, under US26/lb, is well under half the price just before the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and under one-fifth of the 2007 peak of a bubble.
Mining.com quotes a Haywood Securities research note which points out that the spot uranium price “saw three years of back-to-back double-digit percentage losses from 2011-13, but none worse than what we’ve seen thus far in 2016, and at no point since Fukushima, did the average weekly spot price dip below $28 a pound.”
Mining.com notes that five years after the Fukushima disaster only two of Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors are back on line, and that in other developed markets nuclear power is also in retreat. The last reactor start-up in the U.S. was 20 years ago. The French Parliament legislated last year to reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear power by one-third. Germany is phasing out nuclear power. The European Commission recently released a report predicting that the EU’s nuclear power retreat ‒ down 14% over the past decade ‒ will continue.
China is a growth market but has amassed a “staggering” stockpile of yellowcake according to Macquarie Bank. India’s nuclear power program is in a “deep freeze” according to the Hindustan Times (unfortunately the same cannot be said about its nuclear weapons program), while India’s energy minister Piyush Goyal said on April 20 that India is not in a “tearing hurry” to expand nuclear power since there are unresolved questions about pricing, safety and liability waivers sought by foreign companies.
Even if all of Japan’s 50 reactors are included in the count, the number of power reactors operating worldwide is the same now as it was a decade ago. Zero growth despite the endless rhetoric about a nuclear renaissance.
A decision on two planned reactors in the UK could be announced in the next fortnight and the price-tag for the reactors explains why nuclear power is stagnant worldwide and why the Minerals Council is talking about uranium’s ‘potential’ rather than its current contribution to export revenue and employment. The total price-tag for the two planned reactors is A$45 billion. If the project proceeds, the industry will be hoping it doesn’t go three times over budget, as reactor projects in France and Finland have.
South Australian academic Richard Leaver has neatly summed up the uranium industry’s tiresome rhetoric: “‘Potential’ is one of the most powerful chemicals available to the political alchemist. Any individual, firm or sector deemed to have potential is relieved of a massive and perpetual burden − the need to account for past and present achievements (or, more probably, the lack of them). The history of Australian involvement in the civil uranium industry offers an excellent example of this alchemy at work.”
Whatever the future potential of the uranium industry, it contributes next to nothing to the economy at the moment: <0.2 percent of national export revenue and <0.01 percent of all jobs in Australia. And those figures will fade further into irrelevance with the end of mining and the gradual winding down of processing at the Ranger uranium mine in the NT.
The stagnation and cost escalation of nuclear power contrast sharply with the trajectory of renewables. Driven by sharp cost reductions, renewable energy generation has doubled worldwide over the past decade and renewables now produce more than twice the amount of electricity as nuclear power. The gap is widening every day. Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia.
The Minerals Council of Australia launched the Uranium: Untapped Potential campaign on Wednesday, using social media content including videos and posters to highlight the benefits of uranium.
“The material is designed to showcase facts on the table about the uranium industry and the benefits it can provide to the Australian community, including the creation of hundreds of jobs,” the council’s executive director Daniel Zavattiero said in a statement.
It also aims to reassure the public on safety, while pointing out opportunities in nuclear medicine and the environmental upside of nuclear energy.
“A lifetime’s use of electricity from nuclear power plants produces the spent fuel equivalent of one soft drink can,” a poster says.
But the hashtag #UntappedPotential, which was trending by Wednesday afternoon, has attracted a large amount of undesired banter by environmentalists who have instead used it to express their concerns around the practice and advocate for alternative energy.
“#UntappedPotential for meltdowns and nuclear disaster?” said Twitter user Jemila Rushton.
“We need to better harness the #untappedpotential of solar power”, tweeted Upulie Divisekera.
“#UntappedPotential to put more communities at risk of nuclear waste dumps,” Ace Collective said on Twitter.
“We concur that uranium has much #untappedpotential – for disaster, cost and time blowouts and proliferation,” Anglesea After Coal said.
The Minerals Council is running the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
ERA to unveil strategy as Ranger mining ends BARRY FITZGERALD, RESOURCES EDITOR, THE AUSTRALIAN APRIL 12, 2016 MELBOURNE BARRY FITZGERALD HAS COVERED THE RESOURCES INDUSTRY FOR 30 YEARS. THE INAUGURAL WINNER OF THE DIGGERS & DEALERS MEDIA AWARD IN 2003, BARRY IS A COMMITTEE MEMBER OF THE MELBOURNE MINING CLUB, A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION FORMED TO FOSTER INDUSTRY DEBATE.
Energy Resources of Australia is close to releasing the outcome of its strategic review into its future. The review was forced upon the company after Rio Tinto and Ranger’s traditional owners rejected its plan to extend the life of its uranium mining and processing operations inside Kakadu by developing the Ranger Deeps deposit.
Its pending release comes as ERA continues to narrow the gap between its cash balance and the $509 million needed to complete the rehabilitation of Ranger. At last report, ERA was holding cash of $433m and had no debt after adding $72m to its cash balance during 2015.
While mining operations have stopped, ERA continues to produce from stockpiled material, and has said previously it could possibly continue to do so until late 2020.
The rate of cash accumulation over the past five years suggests ERA could end up with cash surplus to the rehabilitation costs, raising the prospect of an eventual capital return to shareholders, depending on what plans for ERA’s future emerge from the strategic review. Continue reading
The Zaporizhia nuclear facility is Europe’s largest and is only 200 kilometres from the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine. Some commentators have described nuclear plants in the region as pre-deployed nuclear targets and there have already been armed incursions during the recent conflict period.
Australia shouldn’t sell its uranium to Ukraine http://www.smh.com.au/comment/australia-shouldnt-sell-its-uranium-to-ukraine-20160331-gnv0no.html, Dave Sweeney, 31 Mar 16 Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop’s announcement this week to sell Australian uranium to Ukraine is an ill-advised and dangerous retreat from responsibility.
With timing and placement that a satirist could only dream of emulating – April Fool’s Day, the month of the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl meltdown and while attending a nuclear security summit – Bishop is set to sign a uranium supply agreement this week with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Australia, the country that directly fuelled Fukushima now plans to sell uranium to Ukraine, the country that gave the world Chernobyl – hardly a match made in heaven.
Thirty years ago the Chernobyl nuclear disaster spread fallout over large swathes of eastern and western Europe and five million people still live in contaminated areas in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
Serious containment and waste management issues remain at Chernobyl with a massive concrete shield now under construction in an attempt to enclose the stricken reactor complex and reduce the chances of further radioactive releases.
Against this backdrop there are deep concerns over those parts of the Ukrainian nuclear sector that are not yet infamous names, including very real security concerns about nuclear facilities being targeted in the current conflict with Russia. Continue reading