Consistency key in uranium: Young
VIMY Resources managing director Mike Young has called for change in Australia’s approach to the uranium during a presentation at the Diggers & Dealers Mining Forum in Kalgoorlie.
Drilling at Mulga Rock.
After opening remarks comparing uranium to the Collingwood Football Club as a symbol which he said evoked irrational emotion in people, Young challenged Australian governments to get serious about uranium.
“We all know there are myths out there, and Australia needs to get off its arse and embrace uranium as an industry,” he said.
“We lost out to the Canadians in the ‘80s and ‘90s, we lost out to the Namibians in the ‘90s and the 2000s and we lost out to the Kazakhs.
“There’s a lot of demand coming up from China, Asia and Europe, and we need to get on board.”
Uranium has been a contentious issue across jurisdictions in Australia in recent times, with mixed stances taken by the states on its mining.
Queensland imposed a ban on uranium mining in March, and South Australia began a royal commission into mining the controversial element in February.
Young said the key to making the most of Australia’s ample uranium reserves was ensuring consistency of policy.
“When the Premier of Queensland made that announcement, after they won, we had two groups who were looking at us who said ‘we’re done with Australia’ because of the risk,” he said.
“Then you’ve got the WA state Labor party, where half of them are against uranium mining and half of them aren’t.
“I find it amazing when you look at the statistics – you have to realise that wind isn’t going to provide base-load power and it’s not the answer to carbon dioxide emissions. Uranium is.
“You’ve got a lot of prominent scientists who were once anti-nuclear activists and are now becoming pro-nuclear because of the safety record.
“It’s just this asymmetric approach towards nuclear energy and it needs to change here because we’ve got the biggest resources in the world and Australia is really well-placed to play a really vital role in lowering those gas emissions.”
Part of that uranium future is Vimy’s Mulga Rock project, where a prefeasibility study is expected in September and an investment decision will be made in the second half of next year.
Young said despite the uncertainty in the uranium project landscape as a result of sustained low prices, Mulga Rock was well-placed at the moment.
“Mulga Rock has scale, which is really important,” he said.
“We’re looking at targeting a plus-20-year mine life and that’s really important for offtake. Reactors are looking at five and 10 year projects – they want to make sure they have security of supply.
“The actual contribution of uranium fuel to the price of electricity is very low, so unlike other commodities where the price of the commodity is a big part of its cost with electricity it’s very low.
“Because of that they’re not sensitive to cost, but they are sensitive to supply.”
Mulga Rock has a total resource of 59.7 million tonnes at 550 parts per million for 72.7 million pounds of uranium oxide.
First production at the project is targeted for 2018.
Shares in Vimy fell 1.4% to A34.5c.
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