Deteriorating and left for dead, Australia’s mining sector has seen better days. The ripple effect from China’s economic slowdown, in combination with declining commodity prices, has shoved the mining industry into a significant downturn, forcing companies to cut staff, costs or close shop. That could be changing, according to a new report.
A study, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), revealed that under high-growth scenarios for local uranium production and nuclear power in a carbon-constrained world, the economic benefit from the industry could swell to $9.5 billion.
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MCA’s Executive Director for uranium, Daniel Zavattiero, said Australian uranium could fuel as much as five percent of the world’s electricity generation capacity: “This would be an outstanding contribution to global low-emissions electricity generation,’’ Zavattiero said.
“Australia’s uranium industry holds enormous opportunity for jobs and export revenue growth as governments around the world continue to adopt policies to deal with climate constraints.’’
The report, Realizing Australia’s Uranium Potential, examines the reasoning why Australia only supplies 10 percent of the global market for the nuclear fuel, despite owning 30 percent of the world’s economic resources. It reveals the Australian uranium industry could enjoy a job and export growth boom given the right policy settings.
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The report outlines three priority reforms required to make Australia a more attractive uranium investment destination: removing exploration and mining bans in those states where the bans exist; removing the federal government from the current dual state/federal environmental assessment process; and increasing the number of ports through which uranium can be exported.
As the third-largest supplier behind Kazakhstan and Canada, Australia is in a position to control its share of global production.
“With vision, policy reform and state and federal commitments to increase competitiveness and investment attractiveness, Australia could target a share of global production closer to its resource endowment,’’ Zavattiero said.
The report comes as uranium prices recovered from their post-Fukushima lows in the 2015 financial year to approximately $37.75 a pound.
(Source: The Australian)