Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Introduction | News | Information | Resources | Affiliate | Action | Links | Contact

Fourth Australian Uranium Mine on Brink of Going Ahead

Australia's fourth uranium mine is on the brink of going ahead, with the Federal Government arguing that this intensifies pressure on the Labor government's no-new-mines policy.

Australia has 30 per cent of the world's known recoverable uranium reserves, the bulk of this being in South Australia. Two of the three operating uranium mines are in SA - Olympic Dam and Beverley - with the other being Ranger in the Northern Territory. A green light for Honeymoon's operation, combined with the planned AU$5bn expansion of Olympic Dam, would cement SA's position as a uranium mining hotspot and lead to huge environmental pressures.

With growing expectation of a change in Labor policy next year, resource companies told an Adelaide conference in April that there could be at least another three new uranium mines operating in SA within the next six years. The Honeymoon deposit, discovered in 1972, is about 75km north-west of Broken Hill, 30km inside SA.

An expectation of a growth in nuclear power has meant that the price of uranium oxide, crucial in the production of nuclear power, has shot through the roof. From about $10/lb several years ago, uranium oxide now costs about $38/lb. It is suspected that this will rise beyond $100/lb, in the near future.

Over the next decade, US utilities will on average need to buy 1633 tonnes of uranium oxide per year to keep their nuclear power plants running.

The result of the planned global expansion of nuclear power will be a massive growth in the volume of waste DU being stored across the world - particularly in the US and China. Expensive and hazardous to store, this will increase the pressure to dispose of waste DU through other means, including DU weapons.

Australia is currently examining the possibility of selling uranium to India: a country outside of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Increased sales to China are also on the cards.

Read more articles about Other Countries Affected by Depleted Uranium

Introduction | News | Information | Resources | Affiliate | Action | Links | Contact

Page last updated: January 28, 2003