Expression Of Interest Process Finalised For Uranium Exploration Licences

Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts today said six companies have been invited to apply for a Uranium Exploration Licence in NSW following a thorough Expression of Interest (EOI) process.

Mr Roberts said the EOI process involved the Division of Resources and Energy (DRE) analysing the applicants’ environmental performance, technical expertise and financial capacity.

“Uranium is a naturally occurring mineral that is found in rock, soil and water, yet at present, we have very little knowledge about the extent and distribution of the uranium reserves in NSW,” Mr Roberts said.

“Laws to allow uranium exploration were passed by the NSW Parliament and came into effect in September 2012. The ban on uranium mining remains in place.

“Exploration will allow the NSW Government to better understand the extent of the State’s resources and any potential economic benefits.

“Companies that apply for and are granted an exploration licence will only be allowed to perform low impact exploration and environmental monitoring, any other activities will require further approvals.

“The six companies will be invited to apply for exploration licences in one of three NSW locations with possible uranium deposits-around Broken Hill, near Cobar and south of Dubbo.

“Further assessments will be made once the companies lodge their applications.”

The companies invited to apply for a Uranium Exploration Licence are:

  • Australian Zirconia Ltd (South of Dubbo);
  • Callabonna Resources Ltd and HNFL Holdings Pty Ltd (North of Broken Hill);
  • EJ Resources Pty Ltd (North of Broken Hill);
  • Hartz Rare Earths Pty Ltd (South of Cobar, North of Broken Hill);
  • Iluka Resources Ltd (South of Broken Hill); and
  • Marmota Energy Ltd (North of Broken Hill).

Mr Roberts said uranium exploration is regulated by 13 State Acts and three Commonwealth Acts.

“Uranium exploration is controlled by strict environmental, health and safety standards,” he said.

“Safety systems are required to be in place to address specific circumstances associated with uranium exploration, including the identification, monitoring and management of material, dust management through reverse circulation drilling and occupational hygiene.

“Uranium exploration and mining is approved in South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

“There are five uranium mines in Australia. The Northern Territory has one operating mine, Ranger and South Australia has four uranium mines Olympic Dam, Beverley, Honeymoon and the Four Mile mine was opened in June.

“Australia has the largest deposits of uranium globally with 33 per cent of the world’s reasonably assured resources and is the world’s third largest producer of uranium concentrates behind Kazakhstan and Canada.

“Any uranium that is exported must be for peaceful purposes under Australia’s network of bilateral safeguard agreements including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

“Australia’s exported uranium is used in nuclear power reactors in the U.S, France, United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, South Korea, China, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Japan and Taiwan.

“There are more than 60 NSW DRE inspectors available to enforce compliance of any exploration activities. Fines of up to $1.1 million apply to companies that perform illegal exploration activities.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has demonstrated its commitment to the responsible management of the State’s resources, which provide for our quality of life and are used to build and help fund our hospitals, schools and roads,” Mr Roberts said.

For more information visit the Division of Resources & Energy’s website: www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au