Uranium Politics in Australia


"It seems the industry is getting nowhere with politicians. . ."

While the forecast for increasing demand is having an impact on Australia's uranium mining industry, the touchy politics associated with the rare earth resource remain in play at the state and federal level. From the disputed ban in Queensland to the Australian government's steadfast reluctance to deal with India, and now Russia, the future of nation's uranium sector will be defined by the politics of today.

Queensland Uranium Mining Ban

Two of Australia's six states and one territory allow for uranium mining. Both South Australia and the Northern Territory are home to uranium producers like BHP's Olympic Dam and ERA's Ranger mine. Western Australia joined the fold last year after the Liberal government lifted its state's ban and miners like Mega Uranium [TSX: MGA] are already advancing projects. However, Victoria and New South Wales both ban uranium exploration and mining.

Queensland, interestingly, allows uranium exploration but not mining and the Labor government has repeatedly rejected calls to end the ban. Those in the industry are pushing for the state's government to reconsider.

Geologist and managing director of Summit Resources [ASX: SMM], Alan Eggers has said the ban doesn't make any sense. "It is a political ban that has no basis of science, health or safety or commercial or any other area." Eggers has tried appealing to the public by pointing to advantages of the uranium industry in the state, such as job creation and royalties.

Greg Hall, managing director of Toro Energy said the government has made many excuses that just don't hold up, such as the uranium industry could out-compete the vital coal industry, a fear that Hall says has been proven wrong by "an expensive report."

It seems the industry is getting nowhere with politicians, so it may need to bring its case before the public.

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