Australian Uranium Market Overview
Australia is well described in the global uranium industry as the “lucky country” with vast low-cost uranium resources.
Since its beginnings in the 1930s, the Australian uranium industry has developed substantially, making Australia one of the world’s major producers and exporters of uranium. With12% of world annual production in 2013, Australia is the world’s third largest producer behind Kazakhstan and Canada.
In terms of resource abundance, it ranks first of any nation with approximately 1,347,877 tons of known recoverable resources. This is in comparison to Kazakhstan and Canada, of which Australia has 1.4 times and 2.6 times the quantity of recoverable resources, respectively.
Australia’s uranium resources are also known for having a low cost of extraction compared to other nations. Of Australia’s recoverable resources, 37% are expected to cost less than $US 40 to extract and 27% less than $US 80.
The resources are distributed in a fairly clustered manner throughout Australia with three quarters of the known and inferred resources found in South Australia and more specifically at the Olympic Dam – the world’s largest deposit. Other significant resources have also been found in Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia. Despite all of this abundant resource, Australia has no significant internal demand for uranium.
As of April 2015 Australia has three mines currently in operation: Ranger (ERA), Four Mile (Quasar Resources Pty Ltd, 75 per cent of the project and 25% Alliance Resources Ltd) and Olympic Dam (BHP).
Calendar year 2014 U3O8 production: 1165 t from Ranger, 3952 t from Olympic Dam, 24.7 t from Beverley*, 755 t from Four Mile, total Australian uranium production 5897 tonnes (5000 tU)
*Beverley mine care and maintenance 2015
Locations:The green dots on the map below.
Importantly Australia's ASX listed companies have several of the world's largest deposits both developed and undeveloped outside of Australia. This has become increasingly important in the face of Australia's local anti-uranium, vehement, vociferous "Green" movement that will delay or disrupt the developement of new Australian uranium mines.
Uranium mined in Australia is only exported to countries that have committed to nuclear safeguard agreements.
Much more information re Australia's Uranium Mines: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/Appendices/Australia-s-Uranium-Mines and Australia's Uranium: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-A-F/Australia/(Updated 20 March 2015)