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.
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.
Australia's uranium is only exported to countries that have committed to nuclear safeguard agreements.