PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) has welcomed the federal government’s agreement with India, under which Australian uranium would be exported and used for nuclear power generation in that country.
In a trip to Delhi last week, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott settled the terms for uranium trade between the two countries, stipulating its use as an energy resource only.
“The agreement with India will enable Western Australia to enjoy long-term benefit from additional royalties, expanded employment opportunities, whilst expanding our position as a key supplier of low-emissions fuels in the international fight against climate change,” CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith said over the weekend.
“Companies in Western Australia are well positioned to become significant global players in the uranium industry with enormous quantities of known resources of uranium oxide across many potential projects.”
“The strong long-term international demand for uranium for power generation is forecast to continue from India, China and several European countries,” said Howard-Smith.
India is currently operating 21 nuclear power reactors, with a further six under construction and another 57 being considered.
In 2008, the West Australian government formally lifted the ban on uranium mining in Western Australia, and while some projects have received environmental approval, no Western Australian projects are yet to begin production.
“Like the mining of other energy and mineral commodities in Western Australia, the mining of uranium is subject to strict safety, environmental and security regulations,” said Howard-Smith.
Meanwhile, federal Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb said that the Australian government was committed to broadening its trade and investment relationship with India.
“In January, I will lead a 300-strong business mission to India to explore new export and other commercial opportunities,” Robb said.
Australian exports to India rose over 10% to A$707-million during the month of July.
Australia’s merchandise exports to East Asia rose 3.9% from a year ago to A$17-billion while exports to the US were up 25.6% to A$1.0-billion and to the European Union, up 29.3% to A$1.3-billion. In East Asia a modest fall in exports to China was more than offset by increases in exports to Japan, up 6.3% to A$4.4-billion, and to ASEAN-10, up 42.6% to A$2.6-billion.
Metals and mineral exports during July increased by 3.6%, to A$7.2-billion.