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(last updated 16 May 2013)
Uranium Exploration Australia Ltd has signed an agreement with India's Reliance Industries Ltd to explore for uranium in South Australia and the Northern Territory. Reliance is the largest private sector company in India. The eight tenements involved include four near the Olympic Dam mine in northern South Australia. UXA managing director Patrick Mutz said while Australia could not currently export uranium to India, Reliance were likely to be taking a broader view of the strength of the uranium sector than simply securing supply for the Indian market. (Adelaide Now Dec. 10, 2007)
The Senate Select Committee on Uranium Mining and Milling has supported the 1977 Fox Inquiry principal findings that there should be no unreasonable impediment to developing Australia's uranium mining. It concludes that those findings have been "vindicated by two decades' experience". Chairman, Grant Chapman, said that the report "recognises the industry's achievements in being responsive to public interest. It deserves more recognition for its conscientious approach than it receives". "Australia's cautious, careful policy has resulted in mining with minimal impact on the environment. This should continue", he said.
The Office of the Supervising Scientist was commended and encouraged to develop "a broad expertise in environmental aspects of uranium mining and milling." But the report recommends establishment of a new Commonwealth Uranium Authority which would duplicate present state and federal arrangements for environmental and health supervision. This should be complemented at each mine by a consultative committee representative of local interests. Government Senators recorded their disagreement with the proposed Authority but support for the consultative committees. Senate 15/5/97
[UIC Weekly News Summary 16 May 1997]
View Select Committee Report
View Minority Report by Senator Dee Margetts and Senator Meg Lees
Select and download Committee Hearings Transcripts.
View Australian Government response to the Select Committee report (May 1998)
> Search Sydney Morning Herald
Cameco finds "significant" uranium deposit in Arnhem Land:
Cameco Australia has announced it has discovered a significant uranium deposit near the Cobourg Peninsula in Arnhem Land.
(ABC Mar. 28, 2012)
The announcement was made on March 27, 2012, by Mark King of Cameco Australia during his presentation titled "Exploration for unconformity-style uranium deposits geology and mineralisation of the Angularli Prospect Wellington Range Project, West Arnhem Land" at the 13th Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) in Alice Springs.
"Although the area has not been explored in the detail necessary for resource definition and modelling, intersections of 20.2 m at 5.2% U3O8 (including 0.5 m at 27.8% U3O8) not only confirms the exploration methodology, but ensures that the Angularli prospect, the Angularli trend, and parallel structures will remain a focus in Arnhem Land for Cameco through the foreseeable future." (from the abstract of Mark King's presentation)
Pre Feasibility Study for mining of Bigrlyi uranium deposit produces shaky result:
On June 17, 2011, Energy Metals Ltd announced that "the recently completed Pre Feasibility Study (PFS) identifies on a conditional basis, technical viability of the Bigrlyi project". "However on a discounted cash basis the project is marginal".
The study assumed a uranium price of US$ 80/lb U3O8 and an exchange rate of 0.85 US$/AU$, while current market conditions are much worse.
The project would involve the mining of Anomaly 4, 15, and 2 deposits using a combination of open pit and underground mining with acid leach processing for a mine life of approx. 8 years. Tailings would be stored in pit.
> Calculate Bigrlyi mine feasibility
China state-owned energy group CGNPC Uranium Resources hopes to acquire up to 70 per cent of Perth-based uranium explorer Energy Metals Ltd (the company which holds 53.7% of the Bigrlyi deposit). (Sydney Morning Herald Sep 8, 2009)
On May 4, 2010, Toro Energy Limited announced that it will not be proceeding to exercise its option to acquire the Napperby uranium project in the Northern Territory. Toro has determined from the results of its Scoping Study and follow-up alternative development options that the current economics of the project, based on current long term uranium prices, do not warrant taking up the Napperby purchase option under the current terms with Deep Yellow.
On Dec. 16, 2008, Toro Energy Limited announced that URS Australia Pty Ltd has been commissioned to undertake a scoping study to determine viable development options for the Napperby Uranium Project, 175 kilometres northwest of Alice Springs in the Northerrn Territory. The scoping study is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2009.
Jiangsu Eastern China Non-Ferrous Metals Investment Holding Company has entered an equity investment agreement with Arafura Resources. Under the proposal, the Chinese investment firm will inject more than $8 million into Arafura by acquiring up to 25 per cent of its final shares on issue. Jiangsu Eastern China Non-Ferrous Metals Investment Holding Company is a subsidiary of the East China Exploration and Development Bureau, a major mineral exploration, development and mining group based in the Jiangsu province of China. (Northern Territory News Feb. 25, 2009)
The draft guidelines for the Nolan's Bore environmental impact statement are open for public comment until November 17, 2008.
> View NT Govt. Nolan's Bore page
On April 8, 2008, Arafura Resources Ltd announed that it has commissioned a definitive feasibility study for its Nolans rare earth project. The project is being developed to produce co-products of 20,000 tonnes of rare earths and 150,000 tonnes of phosphoric acid. The project will also produce by-products of calcium chloride and a small amount of uranium.
The project is being opposed by the Alice Springs Angela Pamela (ASAP) Alliance , Stop Angela Pamela .
The campaign song "WIYA! Angela Pamela" (NO! Angela Pamela) is available from Super Raelene Brothers .
> View deposit info
ERA has been
granted final approval to mine the Ranger 3 orebody.
Development can now begin at the orebody, which has proven and
probable reserves of 56,615 t U3O8. ERA
plans to commence production from Ranger 3 in 1997. [UI News
Ranger mill capacity is to be increased 50% to handle almost 2 million tonnes of ore per year, corresponding to 5000t/yr U3O8 production from Ranger ore (stockpiled from No.1 orebody and to be mined from No.3). This will cost some $38 million and be completed in mid 1997. [UIC Weekly News Summary 28 June 1996]
> For opponents view see Ranger-3 Uranium Mining Project.
Bill introduced to reverse exclusion of Koongarra uranium deposit from Kakadu National Park:
Today the federal government introduced a bill to repeal a law (the Koongarra Project Area Act) that could have led to uranium mining in Koongarra, effectively incorporating the area into the park.
Koongarra is within the boundaries of Kakadu but was excluded from the park in 1979 because of its potential uranium resources.
(The Australian Feb. 6, 2013)
The Senate on Thursday (March 14) passed a bill adding Koongarra to Kakadu National Park and protecting it from mining forever. (AAP Mar. 14, 2013)
Northern Land Council agrees to incorporate site of Koongarra uranium deposit into Kakadu National Park:
Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory is set to be expanded, with the inclusion of land previously earmarked for uranium mining.
The Northern Land Council (NLC) has agreed for a 1,200 hectare parcel of land containing rich reserves of uranium to be incorporated in to the park.
It is considered the final step in a long battle that Aboriginal traditional owner Jeffrey Lee has waged to protect his land from mining. The council and land trust will now move to enter an agreement with national parks to incorporate Koongarra into Kakadu. It is not known if Areva will attempt to take any action over the decisions. (ABC June 1, 2012)
UNESCO includes site of Koongarra uranium deposit into Kakadu National Park's World Heritage listing:
After more than 30 years, the Koongarra area at the heart of Kakadu has made the world heritage list.
The World Heritage Committee announced on Monday (June 27) it had decided to include Koongarra - a 1228 hectare site with important indigenous links - as part of the Kakadu World Heritage Area.
Koongarra was originally excluded from the park in 1979 because of its potential uranium resources.
(The Age June 27, 2011)
> Download Mirarr release June 27, 2011 (PDF)
Areva tried to prevent nomination of Koongarra uranium deposit site for inclusion into Kakadu National Park:
A French government-owned company attempted to block countries discussing an Australian request to expand the World heritage-listed Kakadu National Park to include land that contains uranium worth billions of dollars.
Paris-based Areva, the world's largest nuclear energy company, wants to extract 14,000 tonnes of uranium from its mineral lease in the Koongarra area, which is surrounded by the park. But federal Labor made an election promise last year to incorporate Koongarra into Kakadu, removing the possibility of future uranium mining there.
Areva formally requested Australia to withdraw its nomination for heritage listing from the agenda of the 35th World Heritage Committee meeting, which will be held in Paris this week, The Age has learnt. But the government rejected the request and has sent a six-member delegation to Paris to push the nomination. (The Age June 20, 2011)
Labor government commits to protect Koongarra from uranium mining, if re-elected:
A re-elected Labor government would sign a deal that would prevent uranium mining from ever taking place on a parcel of Aboriginal land that is to be incorporated into Kakadu National Park, Environment Minister Peter Garrett says.
Mr Garrett visited the marginal Darwin-based seat of Solomon on Tuesday (Aug. 10), where he unveiled the Labor government's plan to expand Kakadu National Park to include a 1200-hectare parcel of land, situated to the east of Nourlangie Rock.
He said the decision had been made following a request by traditional owner, Jeffrey Lee.
(Sydney Morning Herald Aug. 10, 2010)
[A federal election is to be held on Aug. 21]
Traditional Owner wants land containing Koongarra uranium deposit to be added to Kakadu National Park: The world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park will be expanded to include thousands of hectares of ecologically sensitive land that contains uranium worth billions of dollars. In a generous act, the Aboriginal traditional owner, Jeffrey Lee, has offered the land to the federal government so that it can become part of Kakadu, where he works as a ranger. Mr Lee, the shy sole member of the Djok clan and senior custodian of the land known as Koongarra, could have become one of Australia's richest men if he had allowed the French energy giant Areva to extract 14,000 tonnes of uranium from its mineral lease in the area. (Sydney Morning Herald May 29, 2010)
Traditional owners in the NT's Kakadu region have decided to continue a ban on mining at the $5 billion Koongarra uranium deposit. Representatives of traditional owners, the Northern Land Council, Areva and the Territory and Federal governments met in Jabiru and Cooinda this week to discuss the future of the deposit. Traditional owners decided mining should not go ahead at the site. (ABC Feb. 28, 2009)
Environmentalists have launched a campaign to have the $5 billion Koongarra uranium deposit formally incorporated into Kakadu National Park. Koongarra is just three kilometres from the sacred rock art at Nourlangie, but despite being surrounded by Kakadu National Park, the deposit is not part of the park. The French company Areva has asked to mine 14,000 tonnes of uranium at the site, only to be frustrated by its traditional owner. Jeffrey Lee wants Koongarra incorporated into Kakadu, and the Australian Conservation Foundation says it is high time that happened. "It's in a most beautiful part of Kakadu, it just shouldn't go ahead," he says. Under Commonwealth laws, the Northern Land Council must ask Mr Lee if he wants the site mined by next June. After that has happened, the Commonwealth can consider absorbing it into Kakadu. (ABC June 3, 2008)
Jeffrey Lee, sole member of the Djok clan and senior custodian of the Koongarra uranium deposit, has decided never to allow the ecologically sensitive land to be mined. He rather wants to see the land that is surrounded by the Kakadu National Park to become incorporated into the park.
"There are sacred sites, there are burial sites and there are other special places out there which are my responsibility to look after," Mr Lee told The Age.
Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (Northern Territory), Areva must get Mr Lee's approval at a meeting called by the Northern Land Council before it can start extracting the uranium. In August 2005, the Government seized control of uranium mining from the Northern Territory, declaring the territory open for new mines. But the Howard Government has always maintained that no new mine would be approved in the territory unless it had the approval of traditional owners.
The Government has told UNESCO, the world body under which Kakadu is listed as a heritage site, that it would agree in principle for Koongarra to be incorporated into the park if the traditional owners requested it. (The Age July 14, 2007)
French mining company Areva has ruled out mining of the Koongarra deposit in the near future. Areva has been negotiating with the traditional owners through the Northern Land Council, but a spokesman at the company's Paris office says Areva has no plans to mine the site. By Australian law, every five years the company can ask the traditional owners if it can mine. So far the traditional owners have said no, and last year the moratorium was extended for another year. That has now lapsed, but a statement from Areva's head office says there are no plans to develop Koongarra in the near future because it is concentrating on new projects in Canada and Kazakhstan. (ABC May 9, 2006)
On May 27, 2005, Northern Territory Mines and Energy Minister Kon Vatskalis said he would not approve any application for a mining lease at the Koongarra site. He said the decision was based on the proximity of the deposit to the "iconic" Nourlangie Rock. The Federal Government could overrule the decision, however. (Northern Territory News, May 28, 2005)
On April 26, 2005, the day the moratorium on the development of the Koongarra uranium deposit ends, environmentalists called on the French government to abandon attempts to develop a second uranium mine in Kakadu National Park. French nuclear power company Cogema has said it will revive efforts to mine the multi-million-dollar Koongarra deposit. The environmentalists consist of the Environment Centre of the Northern Territory, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and The Wilderness Society. (Australian Apr. 26, 2005)
Cogéma will revive efforts to mine its Koongarra deposit once a moratorium ends in April 2005. Traditional owners, through the Northern Land Council (NLC), imposed the five year moratorium on mining the deposit. The deposit contains approx. 14000 t U3O8, and it is located 250km east of Darwin in world heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. (Australian Feb. 16, 2005)
The Aboriginal traditional owners of the proposed Koongarra uranium mine site in the Northern Territory have vetoed the development. The Northern Land Council says a full council meeting today resolved to refuse consent for Koongarra. (ABC News 4 April 2000)
> See also:
Uranium Exploration in West Arnhem Land , A Report for the Environment Centre Northern Territory and the Australian Conservation Foundation, by Gary Scott & Mark Wakeham, November 2001 (1.5MB PDF)
Uranium mining in Queensland is being opposed by: Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance
> View deposit details: Ben Lomond · Maureen
"The agreements relating to the purchases of the Ben Lomond Project and the Maureen Project in Queensland, Australia will be terminated effective November 4, 1998 and December 3, 1998 respectively. The Company does not intend to pursue these projects further because of a number of factors relating to the poor short-term uranium market, the difficulty in raising money for junior resource companies and the political environment in Queensland. This has changed, following an election, and is now not conducive to mining uranium. Accordingly, the Ben Lomond Project has been written off for accounting purposes as of August 31, 1998. The Maureen Project was similarly written off as of May 31, 1998." (Anaconda Uranium Corp., Oct 30, 1998)
Positive Scoping Study announced for Milo multi-element mine project:
On Nov. 22, 2012, GBM Resources Ltd announced a positive Scoping Study confirming a "strong commercial opportunity" at its Milo IOCG-REE Project: "The in-depth study highlighted that Milo has the potential to become a mid-tier producer of rare earth oxide products with key credits for copper, phosphate and uranium."
[The uranium concentration in the ore is just 60 ppm...]
> View deposit details
On Sep. 7, 2006, Paladin Resources Ltd became a majority shareholder of Valhalla Uranium Ltd.
Recent drilling at the Valhalla uranium deposit
in north-west Queensland has produced positive results. Owned
jointly by Summit Resources NL and project manager Resolute , the drilling
intersected U3O8 with grades exceeding 1.0% and indicated a
possible increase in the length of the mineralised zone to 600
meters from the 240 meters previously assessed. (UI News
The latest outcome from renewed exploration effort for uranium is that Summit Resources NL and Resolute Ltd have doubled the size of the Valhalla deposit, near Mount Isa. The overall resource now comprises 29,000 tonnes U3O8, including measured, indicated and inferred resources of 14 Mt of ore at 0.157% containing 22,000 tonnes U3O8. (UIC Weekly News Summary 27 March 1998)
> View deposit details
On Apr. 17, 2007, Laramide Resources Ltd announced the completion of the scoping study. In the study, the mine is planned as an entirely open cut operation using conventional acid leaching and solvent extraction technology in the process plant. A mining and milling rate of 1.5 million tonnes per year at an average grade of 0.10% U3O8 for average annual production of 3 million pounds of U3O8 [1154 t U] was used in the scoping study. Production costs for a pound of U3O8 average US$ 19.02 for the first 6 years of the mine life, during which time the strip ratio will be 2.3 to 1. From year 7 onwards, the average production costs of U3O8 will increase to US$ 25.17 per pound as the strip ratio increases during the mining of the smaller Junnagunna and Huarabagoo deposits. Life of the mine will be greater than 11 years.
On Nov. 24, 2006, Laramide Resources Ltd announced that they have commissioned GRD Minproc Limited to complete a Scoping Study of its Westmoreland uranium deposit located in Queensland Australia. CEO Marc Henderson stated that "The Scoping Study will allow us to evaluate the economic potential of Westmoreland and should provide a development path forward for the project when the necessary policy changes are made in Queensland to permit mining of uranium." It is anticipated that the study will be completed in the first quarter of 2007.
Positive Scoping Study results announced for Carley Bore uranium deposit:
On May 16, 2013, Energia Minerals Ltd announced "strong results" of the Scoping Study for its Carley Bore uranium project.
> Calculate Mine Feasibility
Scoping Study commissioned on Carley Bore uranium deposit: On April 29, 2013, Energia Minerals Ltd announced that it has commissioned a Scoping Study on the potential to develop an In Situ Recovery (ISR) operation based on the Carley Bore uranium deposit.
On Oct. 19, 2010, Toro Energy Ltd announced that it has executed a Memorandum of Understanding with U3O8 Ltd to acquire for A$6.2 million, 100% of the Dawson-Hinkler Well Uranium Project near Wiluna in Western Australia. On Dec. 10, 2010, U3O8 Ltd announced that the sale has been finalised.
On Oct. 19, 2009, U3O8 Limited announced that it has lodged an application for a Mining Lease over its Dawson-Hinkler uranium deposit near Wiluna in Western Australia.
> View deposit details
> View Lake Maitland Project (Mega Uranium Ltd.)
On June 21, 2011, Mega Uranium Ltd. announced that it is postponing completion of the Project Feasibility Study.
On Oct. 25, 2010, Mega Uranium Ltd. announced that it has received approval from the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia for the Environmental Scoping Document for the Lake Maitland project. Mega is targeting the third quarter of 2011 to have the Environmental Review and Management Programme released for public review.
On Sept. 29, 2010, Mega Uranium Ltd. announced that it has received approval from the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum to undertake a Test Pit Program at Lake Maitland. The Program will involve the excavation of two test pits, approximately 40 m long by 25 m wide and 5 m deep, and will take approximately 6 weeks to complete. On completion of the excavation work, the test pits will be backfilled and the site rehabilitated.
On June 21, 2010, the Project Scoping Document for the Lake Maitland Uranium Project was released for public comment.
Summary: Mega Lake Maitland Pty Ltd proposes to develop the Lake Maitland Uranium Deposit in the Eastern Goldfields Region of WA. The anticipated mine life is 10 years producing the equivalent of about 1000 tonnes per annum of uranium peroxide concentrate In accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1986, a draft Environmental Scoping Document has been prepared which describes the proposal and the investigations which are proposed by Mega Lake Maitland to investigate the likely effects of the project on the environment.Comments have to be filed by July 5, 2010.
On Nov. 19, 2009, Mega Uranium Ltd. reported that it has lodged formal referral documents with the Western Australian and Australian governments for the environmental assessment of its Lake Maitland uranium project in Western Australia.
"Following the granting of our Mining Lease in October, the lodgement of the referrals documents is another major step in the approvals process for Lake Maitland, which is on schedule to commence uranium production in 2012," Mega's President, Stewart Taylor said.
> View EPBC referral Reference Number: 2009/5220
On Oct. 19, 2009, Mega Uranium Ltd. reported that the Western Australia Department of Mines and Petroleum has granted its subsidiary, Redport Exploration Pty. Ltd., a Mining Lease ("ML") for its Lake Maitland uranium project. The ML is the first mining lease to be granted for a uranium project in Western Australia since the newly elected State Government announced in November 2008 that it had removed the ban on uranium mine development in Western Australia.
New West Australia government isses first uranium lease for Lake Maitland project: Canadian miner Mega Uranium has been granted the first uranium-specific mining lease to be approved by the Barnett government. Mega executive vice-president project development, Peter McNally, told The Australian the company hoped to start construction at its Lake Maitland prospect in the eastern goldfields by mid-2011. While numerous approvals are still needed, Mr McNally said Mega was well-advanced in the design phase to build a small uranium processing plant to export about 750 tonnes a year from early 2012. The project, which is a joint venture with Japan's JAURD and Itochu Corporation, is worth up to $3 billion in exports over its 10 to 12-year life. (The Australian Sep. 29, 2009)
On Oct. 21, 2008, Mega Uranium Ltd. reported that it has received a positive preliminary economic assessment (first pass scoping study) of its Lake Maitland uranium resource in Western Australia. Mega "is now focused on advancing the project through to production in 2011".
> View deposit details
Paladin Resources is planning to exploit the Manyingee uranium deposit using the in-situ leaching technology. Once Paladin has confirmed the resource and carried out metallurgical testwork, it hopes to begin a feasibility study in the middle of 1999. The company is looking at making a development decision by about 2001. (Australian Mining Monthly Oct. 1998 )
On July 20, 2012, Energy and Minerals Australia Limited announced that the WA Department of Mines has granted the mining leases for the Mulga Rock Project.
On May 9, 2011, Energy and Minerals Australia Limited announced that it has lodged two Mining Lease Applications over its Mulga Rock deposits.
On Nov. 4, 2010, Energy and Minerals Australia Limited announced a positive outcome of its scoping study on the Ambassador deposit. The study investigated uranium production by open pit mining and Resin in Pulp (RIP) of the lignite-hosted deposit, concurrent with Insitu Recovery (ISR) of adjacent sandstone-hosted deposits.
On July 12, 2010, Energy and Minerals Australia Ltd reports that ANSTO Minerals has successfully completed scoping study level process development testwork for the recovery of uranium from lignite and sandstone hosted material at the Mulga Rock Deposits. The testwork demonstrated that reasonably high uranium extraction can be achieved using conventional commercially proven processing methods.
> View deposit details
Wiluna uranium mine project obtains approval of federal environment minister:
On April 2, 2013, federal environment minister Tony Burke approved the Wiluna uranium mine project with conditions.
> Download Decision Apr. 2, 2013 (2.7MB PDF)
Mining expert cautions about long-term environmental impacts of proposed Wiluna uranium mine:
An Australian expert on mining sustainability has highlighted some of the key environmental aspects for West Australia, as the state moves closer to its first uranium mine.
Monash University mining expert Gavin Mudd says the primary issues concern the management of tailings and waste rock, as well as water use, contamination and other aspects local to the mine site.
"How the mine will manage tailings -- it's not clear how that will happen effectively. There are some viable strategies in place, such as back filling the pit with tailings as the process occurs," he says. "But there hasn't been any clear, convincing information as to what the chemistry would be, or the fact that it really will be stable for 10,000 years or more."
"Waste rock also is an important issue, as leaching off of waste rock includes low grade uranium so any water that leaches has to be managed and treated. At the Rum Jungle uranium mine for example, there has been massive amounts of acid rock drainage that has leaked uranium and a range of heavy metals and salts directly into nearby river systems."
Dr Mudd also highlighted the use and contamination of ground water sources in the area as a key issue, saying there have been issues at other uranium mines across Australia and it remains unclear where water for this site will come from or what techniques will be used to source it. (ScienceNetwork WA Dec. 23, 2012)
Federal Environment Minister defers decision on Wiluna uranium mine project: Toro Energy was informed by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke today (Dec. 18) that he wanted more information on the project before making a decision. The project has already secured State Government environmental approval. (West Australian Dec. 18, 2012)
Opponents of Wiluna uranium mine project protest at Toro Energy's AGM in Adelaide and in its West Perth office:
Anti-uranium protesters are at a mining company's annual general meeting in Adelaide today to try and change the mind of shareholders.
The Conservation Council of WA says shareholders are being mislead about the true state of the uranium and nuclear industries.
The council's Mia Pepper says the AGM is being targeted to provide balance on the issue.
"Young and new uranium companies promote a rising uranium price and an increase in nuclear power, and all the evidence suggests that's not true," she said.
(ABC Nov. 28, 2012)
Anti-nuclear protesters have been escorted by police from a uranium explorer's West Perth office after they staged a brief demonstration in the company's reception area. Toro Energy, which plans to develop Western Australia's first uranium mine with its Wiluna project, said about half a dozen protesters from the Anti Nuclear Association of WA emptied three bags of dyed yellow sand onto the floor and spread it throughout the office. (Courier Mail Nov. 28, 2012)
Wiluna uranium mine project viable only after significant increase of uranium price:
On Nov. 28, 2012, Toro Energy Ltd issued new details on the expected economics of its Wiluna uranium mine project. Based on forecasts "from various investment bank estimates", the company's economic model assumes a long-term uranium price of US$ 75 per lb U3O8, while the current long-term price is US$ 59.50, and the current spot price even as low as US$ 42.00.
It is, moreover, highly unlikely that a new producer will be able to sell its uranium at the full long-term price. Experience shows that the sales price will more likely end up somewhere between the spot and the long-term price. So, the mine project most likely would not be feasible at current market prices, it rather relies on significant future increases of the uranium price.
> Calculate Mine Feasibility
Protest in Perth against State's environmental approval for Wiluna uranium mine:
A small group of environmentalists has marched to Parliament House in Perth to protest against a State Government decision to approve WA's first uranium mine.
The Government yesterday gave South Australian-based mining company Toro Energy final environmental approval for its uranium mine near Wiluna in the northern Goldfields.
Toro hopes to have the mine operating by 2014.
But a traditional Goldfields Elder says the fight to prevent uranium mining in WA is far from over. Kado Muir says a coalition of opposition groups is mobilising to prevent the mine from receiving Commonwealth approval. Mr Muir says it will be Aboriginal communities that will be most affected. Mr Muir, says several environmental and safety concerns have not been addressed by the Government. (ABC Oct. 11, 2012)
The Anti Nuclear Alliance of WA today said it would fight in court the approval granted by state environment minister Bill Marmion a day prior. ANAWA spokesman Marcus Atkinson labelled Toro "a small, inexperienced company with no proven track record" and the uranium sector "a dying industry which is unsafe, unwanted and unnecessary". The Conservation Council of WA echoed ANAWA's comments, saying the uranium sector was not welcome in WA. (Courier Mail Oct. 11, 2012)
Wiluna uranium mine project obtains State's environmental approval:
Environment Minister Bill Marmion has approved the State's first uranium mine, announcing today he has granted final environmental approval Toro Energy's proposed mine near Wiluna.
In May, the Environmental Protection Authority recommended the approval of the project, which would produce about 820 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate each year over a life of 14 years.
Objections to the plan were largely rejected by the Office of the Appeals Convenor late last month, and Mr Marmion delivered the final State Government Approval early this afternoon, saying the mine would be subject to "a number of strict conditions".
In a statement released by Toro Energy managing director Greg Hall said the company was still awaiting final Federal Government approvals, but welcomed Mr Marmion's decision. Toro is yet to source funding for the estimated $280 million capital costs of the project, but is targeting first production by 2014. (The West Australian Oct. 10, 2012)
Additional conditions imposed on Wiluna uranium mine project:
Environment Minister Bill Marmion on Wednesday (Sep. 19) released his determination of nine appeals against the Environmental Protection Authority's (EPA's) May decision to allow the Wiluna development, as well as the report of the independent appeals committee on the proposed mine.
The committee considered 21 grounds of appeal and recommended a number of changes to the EPA's draft conditions. Marmion said that these conditions would strengthen protection of stygofauna [fauna living within groundwater systems] and groundwater-dependent vegetation, including Tecticornia samphires, and better address surface water flows, dust management and rehabilitation. Toro would also be required to research the water requirements of groundwater-dependent vegetation and more closely monitor stygofauna in the three calcrete ecosystems to be partially impacted by the proposal. (Mining Weekly 19 Sep 2012)
Decision on Wiluna uranium mine project deferred: The timeline for WA's planned first uranium mine has slipped following a rigorous environmental assessment phase. Toro Energy today announced a revised target date for a final board decision on whether to proceed with its Wiluna project in central WA, moving it back to the first half of 2013. The company had previously expected to make a final decision by the end of 2012. (West Australian July 19, 2012)
Appeals lodged against environmental approval for Wiluna uranium mine project:
Two separate court appeals have been lodged against environmental approval for WA's first uranium mine, potentially delaying the controversial project.
Last night, the Conservation Council of WA lodged an appeal in the WA Environment Court.
Aboriginal elder and Wiluna resident Glen Cooke also lodged a separate challenge.
CCWA director Piers Verstegen said there were numerous "critical deficiencies" in the ERA's decision. "Importantly, the state government has made commitments to 'world's best practice' regulation of uranium mining in WA, but their own independent report has found that the current system fails that test," Mr Verstegen said. "We do not believe that the EPA assessment adequately deals with critical environmental risks including the management of radioactive mine tailings, contamination of groundwater and the transport of radioactive material through WA communities." CCWA also claims there was a denial of procedural fairness and the EPA failured to comply with their own procedures during the assessment process. (Sydney Morning Herald June 7, 2012)
Protest against Wiluna uranium mine project outside state EPA offices: A group of anti-uranium mine protesters have gathered outside the Environmental Protection Authority head offices. The group of about 25 people are opposed to the development of a proposed uranium mine outside Wiluna. The mine, near Lake Way in the mid-west, was granted approval by the EPA on Monday. The group waved placards and handed out pamphlets outside the offices for more than an hour outside the offices. (West Australian May 23, 2012)
Collect specimens and clone later: West Australian approach to protection of endangered species facing extinction by proposed Wiluna uranium mine...(!)
New species of native succulent plants appear to have been discovered at the site of a planned uranium mine in Western Australia, the state's independent environment watchdog says. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) chairman Paul Vogel said it appeared new species of tecticornia were present at Toro Energy's Wiluna uranium project in the Mid-West region.
"They will need to take specimens from inside and outside the mine footprint ... to ensure that if there are new species, the genetic material is preserved. Then, when the mine is rehabilitated, you can clone those species potentially and put them back into the environment." (Trading Room May 22, 2012)
On May 21, 2012, the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommended approval for the Wiluna Uranium Project.
EPA Chairman Paul Vogel said the main ecological issues were about the protection of a local plant species called Tecticornia and the protection of underground stygofauna species. While stygofauna were unlikely to be impacted significantly, the EPA recommended strict conditions, including offsets, to ensure the protection of the Tecticornia.
The appeals period for this decision closes on June 5, 2012.
> View WA EPA release May 21, 2012 .
> View WA EPA Wiluna EIA page
On July 25, 2011, Toro Energy Ltd released its Environmental Review and Management Programme (ERMP - elsewhere in Australia known as an Environmental Impact Statement) and associated documentation for Wiluna, including a range of environmental management strategies and detailed technical study reports.
"MAJOR PROJECT COMPONENTSThe closing date for submissions is 31 October 2011.
Mining: The mineralisation for the Centipede and Lake Way deposits is between 1 metre and 15 metres below the land surface with the ore body varying in thickness up to about 6.5 m. Because of the shallow nature of the deposits, the open pit mining would be undertaken by surface miners and conventional excavators. Surface miners are tracked vehicles with cutting drums which can break up very thin layers of material. It is unlikely drilling and blasting would be required. As the uranium resource occurs at or below the water table in both deposits, dewatering of the open pits would be required. Water barriers would be installed to minimise the amount of water that would have to be pumped from the pits. When mining is undertaken at Lake Way, the ore would be transported by a dedicated haul road to the processing plant close to the Centipede deposit.
Processing: The ore would be processed to extract uranium by the conventional agitated leach method. The process plant would have a grinding mill, mechanically agitated leach tanks and solution thickeners. Tailings, the material left after the uranium is extracted, would be stored in mined out voids of the Centipede pit. [...]"
On Mar. 3, 2011, Toro Energy Limited announced that it has submitted an Environmental Management Review Programme/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (ERMP/Draft EIS) for its Wiluna project. The ERMP/Draft EIS has been submitted to the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia which is leading the Government assessment of the Project under a bilateral agreement between the Western Australian and Federal Governments.
On Sep. 20, 2010, Toro Energy Ltd announced that the Environmental Protection Authority of Western Australia (EPA) has approved the Environmental Scoping Document (ESD) for Toro Energy's 100%-owned Wiluna Uranium Project.
The EPA's approval of the ESD allows Toro to proceed with the preparation of an Environmental Review and Management Programme (ERMP) on which final Government decisions about the Project will be based. The ESD identifies the further environmental studies Toro will be required to undertake to complete its ERMP. Toro is working to have the ERMP on public exhibition in the second quarter of 2011.
On June 21, 2010, the Environmental Scoping Document for the Wiluna Uranium Project was released for public comment.
Comments have to filed by July 5, 2010.
Summary: Toro Energy Limited proposes to develop the Wiluna Uranium Project located near Wiluna, Western Australia. The project would involve mining and processing of up to about 2 million tonnes (Mt) of mineralised ore per year over an anticipated mine life of up to 14 years, producing the equivalent of about 1200 tonnes per annum of uranium oxide concentrate. In accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1986, a draft Environmental Scoping Document has been prepared which describes the proposal and the investigations which are proposed by Toro to investigate the likely effects of the project on the environment.> Download Environmental Scoping Document (2M PDF): Toro Energy Ltd · WA EPA
West Australia Environment Minister dismisses appeal aiming at higher level of assessment for Wiluna uranium mine project: The Environment Minister Donna Faragher has dismissed an appeal against the level of assessment set for a uranium project in the Mid West. The Environmental Protection Authority recommended an Environmental Review and Management Program assessment be applied to Toro Energy's proposed yellow cake project, near Wiluna. The Government made a similar determination in relation to BHP's nearby Yeelirrie mine. Ms Faragher dismissed an appeal by WA Greens MP Robin Chapple, saying she was satisfied with the level of assessment applied. Mr Chapple says he is disappointed but not surprised. "The reason for the appeal was that in that particular area we're going to have a large number of uranium mines with all the prospects that are going on in that area and there is going to be cumulative impact," he said. (ABC Feb. 3, 2010)
On Oct. 28, 2009, Toro Energy Limited announced that it has lodged an environmental application for its Wiluna Uranium Project. The Wiluna referral will allow the Western Australian and Federal Governments to determine the form of environmental assessment to apply to development of the uranium resource.
Toro Managing Director, Mr Greg Hall, said:
"Our preferred process route currently is an alkaline heap leach operation based on open pit mining of the shallow mineralisation, at an annual rate of approximately 1.6 million tonnes, generating an average 730 tonnes p.a. of uranium oxide."
> Download Referral 2009/5174
On Apr. 9, 2009, Toro Energy Limited lodged an application for a Mining Lease over its Lake Way uranium deposit near Wiluna in WA. The Lake Way deposit, along with the Centipede deposit 15kms to the south, comprise the 100% owned Wiluna Uranium Project for Toro. The Mining Lease application at Lake Way will provide certainty regarding tenure of the deposit, however, the tenement grant would not provide any approvals for mining or operations. A mining lease has previously been granted over the Centipede uranium deposit.
On Sep. 23, 2008, Toro Energy Ltd announced that mining and processing of the Lakeway-Centipede uranium deposits would be economic at current long-term uranium prices of around US$80 per pound U3O8, according to results of a pre-feasibility study.
> View deposit details
Cameco completes acquisition of Yeelirrie uranium deposit: On Dec. 18, 2012, Cameco announced that it has completed the acquisition of the Yeelirrie uranium project in Western Australia for US $430 million.
Rio Tinto and Paladin Energy oppose sale of Yeelirrie uranium deposit to Cameco: Rio Tinto and Paladin Energy have tried to scupper BHP Billiton's $430 million sale of the Yeelirrie uranium deposit to Canadian giant Cameco by asking the Federal Government to block the deal. It is understood Rio and Paladin made separate submissions to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to express their opposition to the proposed sale of WA's biggest uranium deposit. However, Rio and Paladin's opposition appears to have failed, with FIRB thought to have recommended that Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan approve the deal. Rio, Paladin and Cameco did not comment. (The West Australian Nov. 22, 2012)
Traditional owner opposes Yeelirrie development: A traditional owner is planning to step up protests against uranium mining at Yeelirrie, near Wiluna. Kado Muir says the new owners of the Yeelirrie deposit in the Goldfields will have a tough time trying to develop a mine at the site. BHP Billiton has announced it is selling the deposit to Canadian-based Cameco. The Minister for Mines, Norman Moore, has welcomed the deal saying Cameco is more likely to develop a mine at the site. Mr Muir says he is concerned about the change of ownership. "With Cameco in place, it does cause quite a bit of concern for us because they are a company who will seek to develop the mine as quickly and as soon as they can," he said. "That just adds impetus to our campaign to ensure that WA remains a uranium-free state." (ABC Aug. 28, 2012)
BHP sells Yeelirrie uranium deposit to Cameco: On Aug. 27, 2012, BHP Billiton announced that it has signed an agreement to sell its wholly owned Yeelirrie uranium deposit in Western Australia to Cameco Corporation for US$430 million. The sale is subject to relevant approvals from the Australian Foreign Investment Review Board and the Government of Western Australia.
BHP's commitment for Yeelirrie uranium mine project questioned, after environmental approval process put on hold: A fortnight after admitting it had put the Yeelirrie environmental approvals process on hold, BHP Billiton is understood to have begun dismantling the senior management team charged with overseeing WA's biggest uranium development. The management changes have increased speculation that BHP is considering severing ties with Yeelirrie, south of Wiluna, because it does not fit the miner's focus on tier-one assets. Yeelirrie was slated to enter production in 2014 at a rate of 3500 tonnes of uranium oxide a year. (West Australian June 20, 2011)
Protests at BHP Billiton AGM against Yeelirrie uranium mine project:
BHP Billiton has met with opposition from traditional owners over the development of the proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine at its annual general meeting in Perth today (Nov. 16).
About 60 people armed with posters, banners and a live band protested the mining giant's proposed uranium project outside of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The Conservation Council of WA, UnionsWA and Indigenous representatives reiterated community opposition to BHP's Australian uranium mining plans amid highlighting BHP's failure to meet its own human and environmental standards overseas.
Traditional owner Kado Muir told PerthNow that many questions still needed to be answered. "We want to know what the landscape will be like at the end of the Yeelirrie mine," Muir said. "We don't want to be left with a toxic, radioactive outback." Traditional owners emphasised that they don't want uranium mining in their backyard. (PerthNow Nov. 16, 2010)
Kalgoorlie residents protest against uranium industry: Traditional owners from across WA have joined residents and politicians in an anti-uranium protest in Kalgoorlie. The protesters are opposed to development in WA's emerging uranium industry. There are also concerns about BHP Billiton's plans to transport yellow cake from its proposed Yeelirrie mine near Wiluna to Kalgoorlie where it will be loaded on to freight trains bound for Adelaide or Darwin. About 50 people are taking part in the rally. (ABC Mar. 27, 2010)
Children accessing old uranium site: BHP Billiton says it will step up security at an old uranium testing site in Kalgoorlie after concerns children are accessing the area. Labor's candidate for the federal seat of O'Connor, Ian Bishop, says damage to a security gate has allowed children to enter the site at Hannan's north on dirt bikes. More than 5,000 tonnes of tailings from the Yeelirrie uranium deposit, near Wiluna, were buried in the area after BHP stopped testing ore-processing there in the 1980s. The company says the site has been rehabilitated and an independent study conducted last year cleared it of any dangerous radiation levels. Meanwhile, a BHP spokeswoman says the damage to the fence is being fixed and security in the area will be improved. (ABC Mar. 3, 2010)
Draft Environmental Scoping Document for downsized Yeelirrie uranium mine project available for public review:
BHP Billiton has cut projections for its proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia by nearly a third, ruling out a heap acid leach component at the site as uneconomic.
Instead of a 5000 tonne a year mine that would rival the Rio Tinto-controlled Ranger in the Northern Territory as the nation's biggest, BHP is seeking approval for a 3500 tonne a year operation, according to an environmental scoping document on the project.
(Australian Feb. 9, 2010)
The draft Environmental Scoping Document is available for a public review period of 2 weeks, closing on 22 February 2010.
> View BHP Base Metals
> Download Draft Environmental Scoping Document, Yeelirrie Uranium Project, Feb. 2010 (13.5MB PDF)
Indigenous leader maintains protest against Yeelirrie uranium project: A Goldfields Aboriginal leader has vowed to continue opposing plans to establish uranium mining in the region. Geoffrey Stokes was among a group of elders and conservationists protesting outside BHP Billiton's annual general meeting in Brisbane yesterday (Nov. 26). Mr Stokes is opposed to the development of the company's Yeelirrie uranium project near Wiluna. He has accused the State Government of failing to listen to the concerns of local Aboriginal people. (ABC Nov. 27, 2009)
West Australia government denies possibility of public inquiry into Yeelirrie uranium mine project; extends consultation period:
Environment Minister Donna Faragher has today ruled out holding a public inquiry into BHP Billiton's proposal for a $17 billion uranium mine in WA.
WA Labor, conservation groups, Greens, indigenous communities and the Unions WA have been calling for a 30-year-old act governing uranium mining in the state to be overhauled.
They say a tougher assessment process for proposed uranium mines needs to be established.
But Mrs Faragher said the level of assessment had been set at the highest level under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 and a public inquiry was not possible.
"I have, however, considered the issues raised in the appeals and believe there is merit in extending the public consultation period." Ms Faragher has now extended consultation period for the public from the usual 10 weeks to 14. (Perth Now Oct. 9, 2009)
Aboriginal ecology to be included in assessments:
Aborigines are claiming a landmark victory after the West Australian government told BHP Billiton to incorporate their ecological knowledge into future land clearing at its giant Yeelirrie uranium prospect.
The Ngalia people of the state's eastern goldfields, who use the land for food gathering and tribal ceremonies, lost an appeal to stop a small 10ha site being cleared, but won government support for their knowledge to be part of any future decisions. Ngalia spokesman Kado Muir said it was a significant step. "We see it as a victory because it establishes, for the first time that I know of, an indigenous ecological perspective in the land clearing process. To date its only ever really taken into account scientific-based flora and fauna studies," he said. "We are concerned about the plants which would have medicinal value, food value, and also provide an ecosystem for animals that we rely on; from honey ants to fauna like kangaroos and other animals." (The Australian Sep. 24, 2009)
Protesters have descended on BHP Billiton's head office to demand a public inquiry into its $17 billion uranium mine proposed for WA. More than 130 people protested outside BHP's Melbourne office today (July 8) calling for a 30-year-old agreement act governing uranium mining in WA to be overhauled. "The Yeelirrie agreement was ratified in 1978, which means we are working under a legal framework that is over 30 years old," nuclear free campaigner, Dave Sweeney, from the Australia Conservation Council, said. (Perth Now July 8, 2009)
Green groups and unions are pushing for an unprecedented level of environmental scrutiny over plans for WA's first uranium mine, calling for a public inquiry with the powers of a royal commission to assess BHP Billiton's proposed Yeelirrie project in the Goldfields.
The WA Conservation Council lodged an appeal yesterday against the level of assessment set for the project by the Environmental Protection Authority, saying the watchdog needed to invoke previously unused powers under its legislation to ensure all possible impacts of the controversial proposal were subjected to an effective investigation.
The EPA assigned an assessment level to BHP's proposal less than two weeks ago, recommending an environmental review and management program (ERMP) be used to evaluate the project.
(The West Australian June 26, 2009)
> Download Conservation Council of WA release June 26, 2009 (PDF)
BHP Billiton has submitted documents to the federal Environment Department signalling plans to start development at Yeelirrie in two years and to begin mining by 2014.
BHP Billiton said it planned to produce an average of 5000 tonnes of uranium a year from the deposit for more than 30 years.
The mine is yet to be approved by the board of BHP Billiton.
The documents lodged with the Environment Department are part of the environmental impact statement process, the first steps in obtaining government approval for the Yeelirrie project.
The Yeelirrie deposit is shallow - less than 5m below the surface - and easy to mine as an open pit but it will be massive. The deposit is 9km long and 1.5km wide.
(The Australian May 22, 2009)
> View Invitation to Comment: EPBC Notices : BHP Billiton Yeelirrie Development Company Pty Ltd/Mining/Shire of Wiluna/WA/Yeelirrie Uranium Mine, Reference Number: 2009/4906
Deadline Date: June 4, 2009
On 18 November 2008, BHP Billiton announced that it has formally advised the West Australian Government of its decision to reactivate the Yeelirrie Uranium Project. In a letter to the State Minister for Mines and Petroleum, The Hon Norman Moore, BHP Billiton has indicated it will first undertake a drilling program to confirm the resource. BHP Billiton is assembling a Project team to be based in Perth to evaluate mining and processing options and to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. The company will also commence community consultation. (WMC Nov. 18, 2008)
WMC has commenced remediation works at its Yeelirrie mine site in the North of Western Australia. The rehabilitiation plan has been developed with the approval of the State Mining Engineer and Radiological Council. Earthworks commenced on June 10th, 2004, and are expected to be completed in time for the revegetation work which will be completed by year-end to coincide with seasonal rains. (WMC June 18, 2004)
The Western Australia State Government has announced plans to terminate the Yeelirrie State Agreement that covers tenements 500 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie. WA State Development Minister Clive Brown says the holder of the tenements, WMC Resources, has agreed to stop mining uranium in the area and rehabilitate the land. The rehabilitation work will take place over the next six months, and WMC expects to complete its rehabilitation work by the end of the year 2004. (ABC Mar 31, 2004)
WMC said on 8 Feb. 2000 it would hand back the Yeelirrie uranium deposit to the WA Government if it failed to find a buyer in two years.
The company said it had spent $35 million at Yeelirrie, 75km south-west of Wiluna. But weak uranium prices in the past year had made it difficult for any new uranium project to get off the ground. (The West Australian 9 Feb. 2000)
The Western Mining Corporation has admitted leaving the contaminated trial uranium mine of Yeelirree exposed to the public, with inadequate fencing and warning signs, for more
than 10 years. People used a dam at the site for swimming, which
was found to be about 30 times above World Health Organisation
radiation safety standards. (The Age, 10 July 1997)
> View related page of WMC Environment Progress Report 1996
> View deposit details
> View Kintyre uranium project (Cameco)
Cameco puts Kintyre uranium mine project on ice: Cameco president Timothy Gitzel has declared the company's Kintyre uranium deposit is officially "in the bull pen", indicating a uranium spot price of up to $90 a pound was needed before the mine came into consideration. The uranium spot price last hit $90/lb in January 2008. It was trading at $43.75/lb yesterday. (The West Australian Feb. 13, 2013)
C$168 million write-down on Kintyre uranium mine project In its quarterly report for the fourth quarter 2012, Cameco recorded a CDN $168 million write-down on the Kintyre project.
Cameco not proceeding with detailed feasibility study on Kintyre uranium deposit: In its Third Quarter Financial Report, Cameco announced on Oct. 31, 2012, that it is "completing the value engineering and the environmental permitting at Kintyre, but not proceeding with the detailed feasibility study".
Cameco secures support of Traditional Owners for development of Kintyre uranium deposit: On October 11, 2012, Cameco announced the signing of an agreement between Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC) (Jamukurnu-Yapalikunu). The agreement secures the support of the Martu people for development of the Kintyre uranium deposits in the Western Desert region of Australia. Cameco is carrying out further work to advance the Kintyre project toward a development decision.
Development of Kintyre uranium deposit deferred for poor economics:
The Kintyre project has fallen victim to sluggish demand and prices for the nuclear fuel, and WA's "hot" construction market for resource projects.
Project operator and 70 per cent owner, Canada's Cameco, has revealed that the economics of the project are "challenging" in that a development would not be profitable at current uranium prices. Prices are 34 per cent below where they need to be for a viable project.
Cameco chief executive Tim Gitzel told analysts that Cameco was "not going to develop Kintyre at any cost." An eventual development of the mine is dependent on improved uranium prices, or a substantial increase in the project's resource base.
A recently completed prefeasibility study in to a development confirmed the challenging economics. It means that Cameco and its 30 per cent partner, Japan's Mitsubishi Development, will not begin development of what would have been WA's first uranium mine in early 2014 as first planned.
Cameco said that despite Kintyre being one of the world's biggest undeveloped uranium deposits (59.7 million pounds [23,000 t U]), a planned 7-year mine life that would recover 40 million pounds [15,400 t U] of uranium faced challenging economics "current uranium prices" and because of "continued cost escalation" in WA. "To break even, the prefeasibility study indicates the project would require an average realised price of about $US67 or about 62 million pounds [23,800 t U] of packaged production using a uranium price similar to today's spot price ($US50 a pound)," Cameco said. Cameco said it would now set out to improve overall project economics by stepping up exploration to increase the resource base. (The Australian July 29, 2012)
Construction of Kintyre uranium project to start after 2015: Cameco Corp. plans to start construction of its Kintyre uranium project in Australia after 2015, according to a copy of the miner's presentation at a conference in Perth today. (Bloomberg July 21, 2001)
Pre-feasibility study on mining of Kintyre uranium deposit started: Cameco president Tim Gitzel said the miner had started a pre-feasibility study on Kintyre that it hoped to complete in the first quarter of 2012. A Cameco spokeswoman said the company was still targeting a 2013 start-up of the mine and 2015 first production, which it has previously flagged at between 2700 tonnes and 3600 tonnes of uranium a year. (The Australian June 23, 2011)
Cameco releases Environmental Scoping Document on Kintyre uranium project:
Cameco Australia and Mitsubishi Corporation are seeking public comment on the environmental review proposed for the Kintyre uranium project. The companies' Environmental Scoping Document (ESD) identifies key environmental aspects of the project and sets out the new studies needed to confirm that the project is safe for people and the environment. The two-week public comment period on the ESD ends on April 11, 2011.
> View Cameco Australia - Kintytre - Community Information
> Download Kintyre Uranium Project Environmental Scoping Document, March 2011 (6.8M PDF - Cameco)
Cameco plans construction of Kintyre uranium mine from 2013:
Canada's Cameco Corp. said Wednesday (Sep. 8) that it may start construction of its Kintyre uranium venture in Western Australia by 2013, pitting it against several other companies aiming to become the state's first uranium mine.
"Construction is proposed to commence sometime after 2013 and operations after 2015," Cameco said in its invitation for public comment document lodged Tuesday with the Australian government's Department of the Environment.
The operation would aim to produce between 6 million to 8 million pounds per year of uranium oxide concentrate [2,308 to 3,077 t U] over an anticipated mine life of 15 years, the company said.
(Dow Jones Sep. 8, 2010)
> View Cameco Australia Pty Ltd Referral No. 2010/5637, Kintyre Uranium Project (Environment Australia)
Cameco has unveiled plans to speed up the development of the Kintyre uranium project in Western Australia. The company will restart an exploration program to confirm the resource and verify previous work and re-establish an exploration camp and infrastructure, the company said in a statement. (The Australian April 6, 2009)
On Aug. 11, 2008, Cameco announced that it has completed the acquisition of a 70% interest in the Kintyre uranium exploration project in Western Australia for $346.5 million (US). A joint venture comprised of Cameco (70%) and Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd (30%) purchased the Kintyre project from Rio Tinto for $495.0 million (US) through a bidding process. Cameco will operate the project and is funding its share of the purchase price through existing credit facilities.
Aboriginal landowners are set to secure equity involvement in development of the Kintyre uranium deposit in Western Australia (WA) after its sale by Rio Tinto to Canada's Cameco and Japan's Mitsubishi Development in a ground-breaking deal worth $US495 million ($A515 million). Kintyre is one of the world's biggest undeveloped uranium deposits (80 million pounds of uranium now worth $4.8 billion in its finished form) but its development has been held up by WA's continuing ban on uranium mine developments. But the traditional landowners, the Martu people, will join the new owners to pressure the WA Labor Government to lift the ban. (The Age July 11, 2008)
On July 9, 2008, Cameco Corporation announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire a 70% interest in the Kintyre uranium exploration project in Western Australia for US$ 346.5 million. A joint venture comprised of Cameco (70%) and Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd (30%) purchased the Kintyre project from Rio Tinto for US$ 495.0 million through a bidding process. Cameco will operate the project and is funding its share of the purchase price through existing credit facilities. The transaction is expected to close in August 2008 subject to ministerial approval in Western Australia and execution of certain agreements with the Martu people who are the traditional owners of the land.
Rio Tinto has lost critical Aboriginal support for the proposed sale of its high-grade Kintyre uranium deposit in Western Australia, raising the prospect that it could face a legal challenge to its rights to sell the $600 million property to one of the uranium groups it is lining up as a buyer. Undisclosed offers made by Rio to the Martu people, the traditional owners, to win their support for the sale process are said to have been "embarrassingly low" given that Martu support is crucial to Kintyre, one of Australia's biggest undeveloped uranium deposits, becoming a mine. (The Age March 19, 2008)
Rio Tinto has begun work on a new pre-feasibility study - the first move towards reviving the project which stalled in the late 1990s. The pre-feasibility study, which will include drilling to develop a new resource estimate, is expected to take two years. It will build on a previous study carried out in 1991. (Herald Sun May 12, 2007)
Kintyre put on back burner. After being "slowed down" last year, the Kintyre project is being placed under care and maintenance. The project team will be disbanded at the end of the year and administration of the site facilities will be returned to Rio Tinto Exploration pending increased uranium prices. The project is at an advanced stage of development and with improvement in the market Rio Tinto could quickly bring it into production. Resources of some 36,000 tonnes U3O8 would provide about 2000 t/yr from a very small plant after radiometric beneficiation. Rio Tinto. [UIC Weekly News Summary 16 October 1998]
Canning Resources, a Rio Tinto subsidiary, has referred the
Kintyre uranium project to the West Australian environmental authorities
and has notified its intention to seek export approvals from the
The scoping document proposes a 1200 t/yr U3O8 production with the potential to increase to 2000 t/yr. It envisages a capital investment of $120 million and annual revenue of $60-70 million. The total area disturbed, including up to five small open cuts, will be about three square kilometres (300 ha), with the treatment plant occupying about six hectares. An additional 100 ha will be required for infrastructure.
Tailings will be in two streams, both as filter cake which is buried in mine workings. The first is a conventional residue from acid leaching, containing most of the ore's radioactivity. The second is mixed gypsum and iron hydroxide from an iron precipitation stage. The other eventual waste will be some evaporite from process liquors which cannot be recycled. There will be no tailings dam. [UIC Weekly News Summary 21 June 1996]
For details of the environmental assessment process, see the Australian Environmental Protection Agency Environment Assessment Branch notifications on the Kintyre project .
For opponents view, see Anti-Nuclear Alliance of Western Australia .
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