South Australia Will Expand Its Key Global Uranium Supply Role

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"It is estimated that the global nuclear industry today needs about 181 million pounds of uranium a year to supply reactor feed requirements."

South Australia's Resources Minister Paul Holloway is confident that BHP Billiton's planned expansion of the big Olympic Dam copper-uranium-gold project will proceed and that new uranium projects in the state will begin making their mark.

In his opening address to Paydirt's Uranium Conference Monday, Holloway said a comprehensive environmental impact statement is due to be made available to the public for two months from early May.

"You may hear some doomsayers complain that the ongoing expansion of the mining sector in this state has somehow stalled. However, such talk denies the increase in operating mines to 11 from four since this government came into office, and the expectation that two more mines at least will go into production in the next 12 months," he said.

Holloway said the PACE drilling initiative, where the state government provides funds to assist grass roots exploration programs, has had an enormous impact and this year the Rann Labor Government will allocate an additional $A14.1 million ($US9.28 M) to assist exploration for new mines and energy projects.

At the recent PDAC Convention forum in Toronto regarding the long-term growth prospects for the nuclear industry, it was predicted that the global industry of 436 nuclear reactors will rise to more than 606 reactors with the potential for even more rapid expansion. That is a 40% increase in the number of reactors in the space of two decades, with a consequent surge in the expected demand for uranium.

"It is estimated that the global nuclear industry today needs about 181 million pounds of uranium a year to supply reactor feed requirements. Primary production provides about two thirds of this annual requirement, while the remainder is drawn from secondary supply, which is basically stockpiles of previously produced uranium," Holloway said.

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