Home' Australian Resources and Investment : September 2015 Contents 106 • Australian Resources and Investment • VOLUME 9 NUMBER 3
enough uranium to fuel 26 one-
gigawatt reactors -- capable of
delivering enough power for 20
million homes in a year.
3 South Australia hosts 25 per cent of the
world's uranium resource and 81 per
cent of Australia's uranium resource.
3 South Australia is home to two of
Australia's three operating uranium
mines -- Olympic Dam and Four Mile.
3 Many companies, including global
majors, are attracted to the state to
explore, develop and mine uranium;
77 companies are currently exploring
3 Uranium oxide concentrate from
the state's operating uranium
mines is exported exclusively for
the generation of electricity in civil
nuclear reactors. During the last
decade, contracts have been in place
with the United Kingdom, France,
China, Sweden, Finland, Belgium,
Japan, South Korea, Taiwan,
Canada, the United States and Spain.
Potential for growth
The state offers plenty of scope for
uranium expansion. Three million tonnes
of uranium oxide resource are identi ed
in major mines or advanced projects.
Of the 769 tenements held, 214
(28 per cent) list uranium as the
commodity sought in an area covering
about 92,000 square kilometres.
Despite South Australia hosting
25 per cent of the world's uranium
resources, the state's annual production
is sitting at around eight per cent of the
world's uranium output. The signi cant
potential to scale up production is
underlined by this gap between assets
and current production.
The long-life nature of uranium
resources is illustrated by the multi-
commodity ore body, Olympic Dam. It is
the world's largest known single deposit
of uranium, containing more than two
million tonnes of uranium oxide, and is
a reserve that can be mined for at least
50 years at the current rates of mining.
Last year, the resilience of South
Australia's position in uranium mining
was further reinforced with the opening
of Australia's newest uranium mine --
the rst stage of the Four Mile Uranium
Mine, a sandstone-hosted deposit, in-
situ recovery mining operation. This
follows 15 years of successful mining
in the area that rst began with the
Beverley deposit and, later, mining of
the Beverley North deposit. Con rmation
of the ongoing signi cance of the area
as a sandstone-hosted uranium region
is the release of an Inferred Mineral
Resource of 22,680 tonnes of uranium
oxide for the nearby Four Mile Northeast
deposit (June 2015). The more that
explorers look, the more they nd, and
a network of deposits in the nearby
vicinity has identi ed the occurrence of
uranium mineralisation in thick bands
at relatively shallow depths.
mineral systems have also been
identi ed in the Curnamona
Province and Mount Painter region.
targets continue to be investigated in
the Cariewerloo Basin of the highly
prospective Gawler Craton by the State
Access to precompetitive geoscience
knowledge is an essential resource
that supports explorers. South
Australia's PACE initiative has achieved
great success in this sphere, and
has established numerous effective
international partnerships focused on
identifying new uranium targets.
The sharing of knowledge on uranium
geoscience between researchers is
critical in the ongoing effort to identify
new uranium resources.
A key component of the South
Australian Government's internationally
renowned PACE initiative has been
the development of the world-leading
online data delivery system, the South
Australian Resource Information
Geoserver (SARIG). It is just one
example of the support the government
offers that makes South Australia an
attractive place to explore developments.
With this type of backing, it is little
wonder that South Australian explorers
continue to beat a proven path to
successful exploration and discovery,
with a swag of prospects that will bene t
with further investment.
Policy continuity and coordination
at all levels of government
A key discriminator that has enabled
South Australia to become a leading
jurisdiction is the continuity and
consistency of government's approach to
policy in sector development, regulation
and environmental controls.
The state has embraced opportunities
in the uranium sector, and has been
steadfast in its commitment to fully
engage the community through an open
and transparent regulatory framework.
The state adheres to Australia's
stringent regulatory frameworks and
stewardship protocols, which are widely
recognised as world's best practice.
A signi cant body of work by state
and Commonwealth regulators is aimed
at diligently and stringently assessing
mining lease conditions and approvals,
as well as the ongoing oversight of
operations to monitor and ensure that
set environmental outcomes continue to
National uniformity in radiation
protection from the mining to the
transport of export uranium provides
effective safeguards for the environment,
worker safety and the community.
It is worth emphasising that export
licences and practices for the mining,
transport and export of uranium
are granted under strict state and
Commonwealth controls, aligned with
international protocols and the United
Nations' Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty. Australian uranium is solely
used for generating electricity.
South Australia has further
bolstered its best practice regulatory
approach through a strong working
relationship with the Canadian
province of Saskatchewan, a leading
uranium mining province that is known
for regulatory leadership. Through
collaboration, teams share knowledge
on the regulation of uranium approvals,
production, monitoring, environmental
controls, and uranium mineral systems
and exploration technology.
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