Against a backdrop of fading social license, failing operations and falling value, Australia’s troubled uranium industry gathers today in Perth for its annual conference.
“While nuclear true believers will no doubt try to talk up the sector, the reality is very different,” said Dave Sweeney, Nuclear Free Campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“Energy Resources of Australia has abandoned its plans to move to underground mining at Ranger in Kakadu due to high operating costs and the continued low uranium price.”
These same poor market conditions have caused the Honeymoon project in SA and Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera mine in Malawi, Africa, to remain in ‘extended care and maintenance’.
“The sector’s social license has been actively contested for more than 40 years,” Dave Sweeney said.
“Uranium projects face community opposition across Australia, including Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie proposals and Toro’s Wiluna and Lake Maitland proposals in WA.”
The uranium industry provides less than .02 per cent of Australian jobs and .029 per cent of export revenue.
The uranium commodity price remains depressed with no credible prospects of any significant short to medium improvement in price.
“The vital signs of the industry are weak and losing political support, the Queensland Labor government has introduced a state wide prohibition on uranium mining and processing and we hope to see the same in WA in 2017,” said Mia Pepper, Nuclear Free Campaigner with the Conservation Council of WA.
“Australian uranium miners continue to pin hopes on a nuclear renaissance, ignoring proliferation risks, global trends away from nuclear power, community opposition and the growth in the renewable energy sector. Our future is renewable not radioactive,” she said.
The Australian Uranium Conference takes place on Wednesday and Thursday this week.