Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis has backed enrichment of uranium in South Australia.
Mr Koutsantonis said he was keen for a debate on the merits of enriching uranium.
“One day down the track we’re going to have to start enriching uranium in South Australia, whether that’s in the next 10 years, 20 years or 50 years I don’t know,” he said.
The Minister says demand for uranium is growing and the state must look at more than just mining it.
“The old adage of digging something out of the ground, sending it offshore has got to change, we’ve got to value-add here in South Australia,” he said.
Greg Hall from uranium explorer Toro Energy says there is no urgency.
“I don’t think it’s a high priority for the Government. I think the priority for the Government is new resource development such as new uranium mines and value-adding their energy strategy going forward,” he said.
The SA Government says it does not expect the Japanese nuclear plant crisis to affect SA’s uranium industry.
At a uranium industry conference in Adelaide, industry consultant Greg Rudd said now was not the time to debate Australia’s nuclear future.
“No-one now is going to go out and back, for example, a nuclear power industry in Australia in this political cycle,” he said.
“They’d be stupid to do it.” Ends…