Australia Needs to End Uranium Discrimination: Mineral Council

Australia could assert itself as a hub for uranium exploration and mining if the government would ease some of the stringent guidelines unique to that sector, a new report from the Mineral Council of Australia says.

The 44-page report outlines how current regulations specific to mining the energy metal are biased and unwarranted.

The sector-wide analysis comes as uranium prices are starting to rebound and demand is set to increase due to more nuclear reactors coming online around the globe.

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Like a number of jurisdictions around the world, Australia has numerous protocols in place to govern the mining sector, even more when it comes to uranium mining.

However, the report, penned by environmental assessment expert Lachlan Wilkinson of JBS&G Australia, stresses that uranium mining shouldn’t be subject to a unique set of regulations, and in fact should be embraced by the country as potential revenue enhancer.

“Australia is missing out on jobs, investment and regional prosperity because of unfair and discriminatory treatment of uranium mining projects in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) act,” wrote Wilkinson.

Under the current EPBC act, all uranium projects must obtain federal environmental approval, regardless of size or impact.

Concern over environmental tolls and safety had been the reason for the implementation of uranium specific guidelines.

The Mineral Council believes these regulations could be done away with, without any additional environmental cost, allowing the industry to thrive and create more jobs, while producing fuel for zero emissions power generation and green grids around the world.

“Australia has almost a third of the world’s uranium – the largest share of any nation – yet produces just 10 percent of world production,” noted the Mineral Council of Australia. “We are missing out on future investment, jobs and exports while countries like Kazakhstan and Canada exploit continued expansion in the global nuclear industry.”

Next year the mandatory 10-year review of the EPBC Act will take place, and if all goes accordingly, the uranium portion will be overhauled, making it more conducive to establish exploration, development and mining projects.

Nuclear power generation is expected to double by 2040, as there are 40+ reactors slated to come online in the coming years, and new smaller modular reactors are expected to revolutionize power generation in remote communities over the next decade.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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