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(last updated 22 Jul 2017)

This page provides information on recently published rules or rules under development, covering the operation and decommissioning of uranium mines and mills and the management of uranium mine wastes and mill tailings.

Contents:

> see also:


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Decommissioning Projects
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Federal

Australian Conservation Foundation warns against weakening of scrutiny of uranium industry by delegating uranium mine licensing to states

Moves to weaken environmental protection by passing federal responsibility for projects and issues of environmental significance to state governments would leave the uranium industry inadequately scrutinised, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today. In a submission on proposed bilateral arrangements between the Federal and Queensland governments, ACF expressed particular concern about plans by Queensland to take the lead role in assessing and approving uranium mining applications.
> View ACF release Dec. 6, 2013
> Download ACF Submission on Draft assessment bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of Queensland (400k PDF)

Australia plans to delegate uranium mine licensing to states

The Queensland government could be given power to assess the impact of uranium mines in the state under proposed federal changes to environmental approvals. The revelation emerged on Monday (Nov. 18) as the Environment Department was grilled by opposition and Greens senators about the federal government's plan to create a "one-stop shop" for environmental approvals. The Queensland and NSW governments have signed a memorandum of understanding with the [federal] Abbott government over the plan, which aims to deliver faster approvals and eliminate regulatory duplication. (Sydney Morning Herald Nov. 18, 2013)

Australia launches National Radiation Dose Register

The Federal Government has created a central database to track radiation dose histories of miners. Approximately 6000 miners in the uranium mining and processing industries will be tracked in the new 'Australian National Radiation Dose Register'.
The uranium register is funded by the Department of Resources and Energy, and will be managed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). It has been providing records from mining companies since 2010. To date South Australia and Western Australia have begun collecting the radiation dose data. The Northern Territory is scheduled to join the register by the end the year. (Mining Australia Jun. 14, 2011)

> See also: Ranger mine workers not covered by Australia's Radiation Dose Register

Review of regulatory efficiency in uranium mining

The Australian Government has released the government response to the Review of Regulatory Efficiency in Uranium Mining. The Review, undertaken by Deloittes, contains some challenging recommendations and the Government has provided a response on each of these recommendations to simplify the regulatory regime for uranium mining in Australia.

> Download Australian Government Response to the Review of Regulatory Efficiency in Uranium Mining , May 2010 (220k PDF)
> Download Review of regulatory efficiency in Uranium Mining , Dec. 2008 (948k PDF)

> View comment by law firm Clayton Utz: Streamlining Commonwealth controls of uranium mining (June 2, 2010)

"Implications: If the recommendations of the Deloitte Review to eliminate the uranium mining trigger from the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and consolidate environmental regulation of uranium are accepted, this would mean: (Clayton Utz June 2, 2010)

 

Australia's government releases Best Practice Guide for In Situ Recovery Uranium Mining

The Federal Government says it has released the first best practice guide for extracting uranium with the method called "in-situ recovery". It involves dissolving uranium ore by pumping acid underground and bringing the solution to the surface. Resources Minister Martin Ferguson says the guidelines developed by Geoscience Australia draw on the use of the in-situ technique at the Beverley and Honeymoon uranium mines in South Australia's north-east. (ABC May 29, 2010)

> Download Australia's In Situ Recovery Uranium Mining Best Practice Guide: Groundwaters, Residues and Radiation

 

Australian Labor Party scraps ban on new uranium mines

On Apr. 28, 2007, opposition Leader Kevin Rudd narrowly carried a vote to overturn the ALP's 25-year policy ban on new uranium mines. Delegates to Labor's national conference voted 205 to 190 to allow the expansion of uranium mining, in a vote that was much tighter than most observers expected. Under amendments to Labor policy moved by Mr Rudd and South Australian Premier Mike Rann, individual states will be able to authorise the development of new uranium mines. Uranium exports will be allowed only to countries that have signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (The Age April 29, 2007)

 

Australian Government compiles uranium industry's Christmas list

On Nov. 13, 2006, a "high-level Steering Group" appointed by Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane presented a report including 20 recommendations demanding any imaginable concessions for the Australian uranium industry.

Uranium Industry Framework, Report of the Uranium Industry Framework Steering Group, September 2006

 

Prime Minister's taskforce reviews Australian uranium mining and nuclear energy policy

On 29 Dec. 2006, John Howard's nuclear energy taskforce released its final report "Uranium mining, processing and nuclear energy - opportunities for Australia?" , proposing the expansion of uranium mining and uranium exports, establishment of a uranium enrichment industry, and construction of 25 power reactors.
The draft report had been released on 21 Nov. 2006.
The Taskforce moreover commissioned special studies, in particular:

John Howard's hand-picked nuclear energy taskforce will find that a nuclear industry could be commercially viable within 15 years, giving the green light to the Prime Minister to radically shake up Australia's energy market. (Australian Nov. 4, 2006)

On 6 June 2006, the Prime Minister announced the appointment of a Taskforce to undertake an objective, scientific and comprehensive review into uranium mining, processing and the contribution of nuclear energy in Australia in the longer term.
The Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review (UMPNER) Taskforce invited interested individuals and organisations to lodge submissions addressing the terms of reference by 18 August 2006. The submissions were published on 31 August 2006.

> View Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review · Submissions · Report

 

Australia conducts inquiry into future role of its uranium industry

A proposed inquiry into Australia's non-fossil fuel energy industry has been approved by Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane.
The inquiry, to be conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry and Resources chaired by Geoff Prosser MP, will begin with a case study on Australia's uranium resources, looking into global demand for and strategic importance of Australia's uranium resources, potential implications for global greenhouse gas emission reductions, and current structure and regulatory environment of the uranium mining sector. (Ian Macfarlane release, March 17, 2005)

> Inquiry into developing Australia's non-fossil fuel energy industry

The committee report was tabled on Dec. 4, 2006: Australia's uranium: Greenhouse friendly fuel for an energy hungry world .
The report recommends the removal of all impediments to the Australian uranium industry, but it also includes recommendations calling for a stronger global non-proliferation scheme and for rehabilitation of mine sites.

> See also: Areva/Cogema sees "moral obligation" for uranium mining countries to take back spent fuel

 

Senate Inquiry into the uranium industry regulations

On June 20, 2002, the Australian Senate decided to hold an inquiry into the uranium mining industry. The move follows a series of leaks, spills and reporting failures at operations in both the Northern Territory and South Australia. The Senate inquiry should report by December this year on the regulatory, monitoring and reporting regimes that govern environmental performance at the mines. The inquiry is to focus on the role of the Commonwealth in ensuring adequate health and environmental standards. (ACF June 20, 2002, Canberra Times June 21, 2002)

"The Senate agreed to the following new inquiry:
Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts References Committee - the regulatory, monitoring and reporting regimes that govern environmental performance at the Ranger and Jabiluka uranium operations in the Northern Territory and the Beverley and Honeymoon in situ leach operations in South Australia - to report by 5 December 2002"
(Senate Daily Summary Thursday 20 June 2002)

Submissions from interested individuals and organisations had to be lodged by 9 August 2002.

> Inquiry into Environmental Regulation of Uranium Mining
> View/Download submissions filed
> Download hearings transcripts : Darwin (30 Sep 2002) · Jabiru (1 Oct 2002) · Adelaide (4 Oct 2002) · Canberra (18 Oct 2002) · Canberra (22 Oct 2002) · Canberra (24 Oct 2002) (PDF format)

On 14 Oct 2003, the Committee released its report. The key findings include:

> Download Committee Report: Regulating the Ranger, Jabiluka, Beverly and Honeymoon uranium mines, 14 October 2003

 

Uranium industry regulations revised

The Nuclear Codes have been revised by a commonwealth/states Nuclear Codes Committee:

 


Northern Territory


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Decommissioning Projects
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Ranger mine workers not covered by Australia's Radiation Dose Register

Half of Australia's uranium mine workers have been left off the National Radiation Dose Register, a Senate hearing has heard. Australian Greens senator Scott Ludlam said it was revealed in Senate estimates that workers at uranium mines in the Northern Territory had not been included on the register. The workers account for half of those working in the uranium industry, he said.
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency representatives fronting Senate estimates hearings on Tuesday said the loophole was because there was inadequate legislation in the NT, he said. (Sydney Morning Herald May 31, 2011)

> See also: Australia launches National Radiation Dose Register

Uranium royalty changes in the Northern Territory 'will exploit Aboriginals'

Anti-nuclear activists in Alice Springs say changes to uranium royalties in the Northern Territory will make way for the exploitation of Aboriginal communities. The Uranium Royalty (Northern Territory) Bill 2008 extends the royalty system so miners pay a fixed rate only if they are making profits, rather than basing the rate on production. The bill was passed in the federal Senate on Sep. 9, 2009. Jimmy Cocking from the Arid Lands Environment Centre says the Federal Government has bowed to industry pressure and Aboriginal people will suffer. (ABC Sep. 11, 2009)

 


Queensland


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Decommissioning Projects
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

New Queensland Government plans to reinstate uranium mining ban

Fairfax Media revealed on Saturday (Mar. 14) that Labor [after winning the 31 January state election] intended on sticking to its long-held policy on uranium mining and would reverse the 2012 decision by the [previous] Newman [Liberal National Party] government to lift it. (Brisbane Times Mar. 15, 2015)

Queensland Government releases framework for uranium mining

"Mines Minister Andrew Cripps today released a modern and robust framework to ensure Queensland's future uranium mines will adhere to the world's best environmental protection and safety standards." (Qld government Aug. 1, 2014)

Queensland Government releases plan to re-establish uranium mining

The Queensland Government has released a plan to re-establish uranium mining in the state as early as next year. Uranium was last mined in Queensland in 1982 near Mount Isa. It was banned by a Labor state government seven years later. Now, the State Government wants guidelines in place to begin assessing applications from mid-July 2014.
Mines Minister Andrew Cripps says the Government has accepted the findings of an independent committee that, with some adaptations, uranium mining could resume under existing industry regulation and radiation safety systems. "An action plan has been released and an oversight committee established," he said. Mr Cripps says the action plan covers all aspects of the approvals process, environmental and health and safety standards, Indigenous opportunities and native title. (ABC Sep. 12, 2013)
> Download action plan and related documents (Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines)

Committee delivers report for the development of a "best-practice" uranium mining industry in Queensland; NGOs release alternative report

"An independent committee has today (March 18, 2013) delivered a comprehensive report outlining how a uranium industry should be re-established in Queensland. Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps received 40 recommendations from the Uranium Mining Implementation Committee, which was established to examine the responsible development and operation of uranium mining in Queensland."
> Download Recommencement of uranium mining in Queensland - A best practice framework , Report of the Uranium Mining Implementation Committee, Councillor Paul Bell AM Chairman, March 2013

NGOs released an alternative report to the Uranium Implementation Committee:
> View Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance release , March 18, 2013
> Download: High Risk – Low Return: the case against uranium mining in Queensland , Australian Conservation Foundation, et al., March 2013 (1.8MB PDF)

Protests in three cities against lifting of uranium mining ban in Queensland

The first of several staged protests against Premier Campbell Newman's support for uranium mining was held along Cairns Esplanade with more than 30 people dressed in mock chemical suits yesterday (Nov 29). The protesters held placards and banners to raise awareness of Mr Newman's decision to lift a 30-year ban on uranium mining across Queensland in October. Cairns and Far North Environment Co-ordinator Anna McGuire said rallies were also held in Townsville and Brisbane yesterday to coincide with the last sitting of Parliament. (The Cairns Post Nov. 30, 2012)

Protesters unite against Queensland government decision to lift ban on uranium mining

Anti-uranium chants "export Newman, not uranium" outside the Queensland Government's executive building on Monday (Oct. 29) morning went unheard by the people they wished would hear them most. The Newman Government's Cabinet, which usually meets at the George St building, met in Kedron for a disaster management briefing instead.
Wilderness Society campaign manager Tim Seelig said Cabinet's decision last week to allow uranium mining in Queensland had united environmentalists, Aboriginal advocates, social justice groups, unions and many other groups in the state. He said groups had joined forces to "greet them with a very clear message that Queenslanders are strongly opposed to uranium mining". Overnight, vandals [huh?] spraypainted the word "tyrant" and nuclear radiation symbols on Premier Campbell Newman's Brisbane electoral office.
Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance campaigner Robin Taubenfeld said the protestors wanted to send a firm signal to the Newman Government. "We will be a force to reckon with every step of the way as the state and industry attempts to open uranium mines in this state," she said. (The Satellite Oct. 29, 2012)

Queensland lifts ban on uranium mining

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced he is ending the state's decades-long ban on uranium mining. The State Government decision reverses the position Mr Newman's Liberal National Party took to the election in March.
Uranium has not been mined in Queensland since the closure of the Mary Kathleen mine in the state's north-west in 1982. The Queensland Resources Council says the state holds about $18 billion worth of known uranium reserves, mostly in the north-west. Mr Newman says the decision to lift the ban was partially prompted by Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent support for uranium sales to India. (ABC Oct. 22, 2012)
> View Queensland Government media statement, Oct. 22, 2012


Western Australia


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Decommissioning Projects
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

Western Australia announces uranium mining royalties

The West Australian Government has announced it will levy a 5 per cent royalty on uranium and magnetite iron ore. By 2014-15 the State Government expects to reap more than $160 million a year from magnetite royalties and $28 million from uranium. Several uranium mines are being developed in WA but so far none are operational. (ABC July 20, 2011)

 

Uranium Advisory Group review of Western Australia's uranium mining regulations

Western Australia's uranium tailings laws fall short, independent review finds

Western Australia needs to completely revise its ageing laws governing the storage of uranium tailings and update its regulations to allow greater transparency of the uranium approvals process, an independent review into the state's uranium regulations has found.
The Uranium Advisory Group led by University of Western Australia and CSIRO researchers, made nine recommendations to the Department of Mines and Petroleum targeted at ensuring more transparent and safer guidelines for the fledgling industry in a report. "...the current framework, albeit robust and subject to regular updating with national guidelines, does not fully deliver World Best Practice," the review found. "This is primarily due to the overlap between the various agencies operating within the integrated regulatory framework, the uneven adherence to risk-based assessments, the lack of legislative and policy support for an open publication of regulatory compliance data, and the lack of required quality management systems in some agencies."
The Department conceded there were issues with transparency in a response released today, and stated it would release a work program with focus areas for, among other things, transparency in DMP's regulatory processes. The report is expected next month. (The Sydney Morning Herald May 14, 2012)
> Download Uranium Advisory Group Report and DMP response , April 2012 (WA DMP)

West Australia State Government appoints independent group of experts for legal advice on uranium sector

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore has appointed 10 independent experts to provide high-level legal advice on the implementation of a world's best [!] uranium sector regulatory framework. The tender was awarded to the Australian Centre for Geomechanics , a joint venture of the University of WA, Curtin University and CSIRO.
The new group comes as several resources companies including BHP Billiton and Toro Energy are vying to develop the state's first uranium mine, which could be as early as 2013. Mr Moore said the group of experts would provide advice to the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) on its regulatory framework for uranium mining. The experts will also provide the DMP with third-party 'peer review' and assessment of uranium mining proposals during the assessment stage of the development. (PerthNow Aug. 23, 2010)

 


South Australia


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Decommissioning Projects
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

New South Wales and South Australia sign agreement on uranium exploration in border area

> See here

Arkaroola mining ban

> See also Mount Gee uranium mine project

Marathon Resources receives A$ 5 million compensation over Arkaroola mining ban

Mining company Marathon Resources will be paid $5 million in compensation over a decision to stop it exploring in the Flinders Ranges. Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Marathon Resources had accepted the State Government's offer of compensation in relation to its exploration leases at Arkaroola. Settlement of the action follows about seven months of negotiations.
Mr Koutsantonis said the $5 million ex gratia payment to Marathon Resources acknowledges the costs incurred by the company in exploring on its leases. "Arkaroola will be protected for all time due to the decision taken by this Government to exclude future exploration and mining in the most significant areas of this unique and environmentally sensitive part of the State," he said. Mr Koutsantonis said there was absolutely no legal obligation to make a payment to Marathon or its subsidiaries as a result of the decision to protect the Arkaroola region. Marathon chairman Peter Williams said that as a consequence the Supreme Court action brought by Marathon against the Government would be discontinued. (Adelaide Now Feb. 13, 2012)

Marathon Resources commences court action over Arkaroola mining ban

On Nov. 11, 2011, Marathon Resources Ltd announced that it has commenced legal action against the South Australian Government in relation to the Government's proposed ban on mining at Arkaroola in the Northern Flinders Ranges. The proposed Arkaroola ban includes Exploration Licence 4355 granted to Marathon.

Traditional owners split over Arkaroola mining ban

Traditional owners have split over the South Australian government's plan to ban mining in the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. The Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) has described the proposed ban as a "political stunt" and voted recently in favour of mining. The group said its key issue with the government was a lack of consultation.
But a rival group known as the Anggumathanha Adnyamathanha Elders, also known as the Camp Law Mob, has urged the government to push ahead with the mining ban. Spokeswoman Enice Marsh said the group fully supported the ban in view of their cultural knowledge as traditional owners. She said future management of the area must include protection under the SA Aboriginal Heritage Act. "We are the ones in our community who have fought for this and we will keep on fighting to save our spiritual sites," Ms Marsh said in a statement on Tuesday. (ninemsn Aug 16, 2011)

Mining ban proclaimed for Arkaroola region of the Flinders Ranges

The Mining (Reservation from Act) Proclamation 2011 under section 8 of the Mining Act 1971 came into operation on 29 July 2011. Under the proclamations the Arkaroola protection area is reserved from prospecting, exploration, and mining of minerals.
> Arkaroola protection area (PIRSA)
> Mining (Reservation from Act) Proclamation 2011 , The South Australian Government Gazette 29 July 2011 (38k PDF)
> Mining Act 1971 (596k PDF)

Mining ban planned for Arkaroola region of the Flinders Ranges

Premier Mike Rann and ministers have flown to the region to announce the SA Government will change the Mining Act as an interim measure, then introduce specific legislation to ban any mining in the area. Mr Rann says an application also will be made to put Arkaroola on the National Heritage list, with a longer-term aim of gaining World Heritage listing. "We have decided to give the region unprecedented protection," Mr Rann said. (ABC July 22, 2011)

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary still not protected from uranium exploration activities (South Australia)

Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary is still under threat from miners despite new laws aimed at penalising those who breach exploration and mining licences, the sanctuary's director says.
Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary director Marg Sprigg says the overhaul of the state's mining laws has done little to beef up environmental protection. "Unless further conditions are imposed in any licence to explore for uranium within Arkaroola, bulldozers can again move in, carving tracks through fragile environments and flattening steep slopes to create closely spaced drilling pads," she said.
The laws provide new conditions and imposes new penalties for those who breach them. Mining exploration company Marathon Resources has been exploring the Mt Gee area in Arkaroola in the northern Flinders Ranges where it hopes to develop a uranium deposit. Marathon had its exploration rights in the area suspended in 2008, when it was found to have dumped uranium drilling waste illegally, but resumed in August.
Ms Sprigg said the Mining Act still needed further amendments. "South Australia still has a long way to go before it recognises the permanent values it has in its rare and spectacular arid mountain range land," she said. (Adelaide Now Nov. 22, 2010)

Bill introduced to protect Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary from uranium mining

Greens Upper House member Mark Parnell has introduced a Bill into State Parliament to say sanctuaries should be protected from mining, the same way National Parks are protected from mining. Marathon Resources Ltd's Mount Gee uranium mine project is located right in the centre of the Arkaroola Wilderness Sanctuary. (ABC Oct. 24, 2007)

 

Public consultation on the new Mining Regulations 2011

The Mining (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2010 (the Bill) passed through both houses of Parliament on 9 November 2010, and is currently awaiting assent by the Governor. PIRSA is now releasing the draft Mining Regulations 2011 for consultation with stakeholders. Comments and submissions on the draft Regulations will be accepted up until 5:00pm on 11 March 2011 (deadline extended).
> View PIRSA Mining Act Amendments

 

South Australia issues proposed Mining Act amendments for comment

Public Consultation on the Mining (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2009

Comments and submissions will be accepted up until 5pm on 30 July 2009.

> View PIRSA Public Notice: Mining Act amendments

 


New South Wales


> See also Issues for: New Mining Projects · Operating Mines · Decommissioning Projects
> See also Data for: Deposits, Proposed and Active Mines · Old Mines and Decommissioning

New South Wales and South Australia sign agreement on uranium exploration in border area

The New South Wales and South Australian governments have signed an agreement to encourage mining and exploration along the border of the two states. Uranium exploration has only recently been allowed in NSW, while it is already being mined at Honeymoon and Beverley over the border. NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher says the agreement could make mining easier down the track. (ABC June 12, 2013)

New South Wales parliament repeals ban on uranium exploration

A 26-year-old ban on uranium exploration has been repealed by the NSW parliament, angering environmentalists who say the state government has no mandate for such a change. Legislation overturning the exploration ban passed through the state's upper house unamended on Wednesday (March 28) night, despite opposition from Greens and Labor MPs.
Separate legislation would be required to lift the NSW ban on uranium mining. (Sydney Morning Herald Mar. 28, 2012)

Protesters rally against reversal of New South Wales' uranium ban

Demonstrators in white coats and masks have gathered outside NSW Parliament House to protest against state government plans to allow uranium exploration. Images of destruction from Japan's tsunami and "No-nuclear" signs were held outside the gates as about 50 people took to Macquarie Street during the lunch hour, chanting: "Shame Barry Shame". NSW Deputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney told the crowd Premier Barry O'Farrell couldn't be trusted, after he revealed plans to reverse a 25-year ban on uranium exploration in the state. The state government's bill to overturn the ban on uranium exploration was introduced into the lower house last week. (The Australian Feb. 22, 2012)

New South Wales cabinet votes to overturn state's uranium ban

Uranium exploration in NSW is one step closer to becoming a reality after Premier Barry O'Farrell's cabinet ticked off on a proposal to overturn a 26-year-old ban. The Seven Network on Tuesday (Feb. 14) reported that cabinet had agreed to reverse the state ban, after Mr O'Farrell flagged the change in December. The NSW parliament will now have to approve legislation repealing the ban. (Sydney Morning Herald Feb. 14, 2012)

New South Wales to review ban on uranium mining

The (NSW) Premier, Barry O'Farrell, has opened the door to uranium exploration in NSW days after federal Labor lifted its ban on exporting the nuclear fuel to India. The state government will review "hangover legislation from the 1970s" prohibiting uranium searches which could pave the way for yellowcake to be mined in NSW. Last weekend the ALP national conference overturned the party's ban on uranium exports to India and the Gillard government will soon negotiate a bilateral safeguards agreement with Delhi as a precursor to sales. (Sydney Morning Herald Dec. 10, 2011)

New South Wales has no plans to overturn ban on uranium mining

The NSW government has rubbished reports that it may consider overturning a long-term ban on uranium exploration and mining. Australian Uranium Association chief executive Michael Angwin asked energy and resources minister Chris Hartcher to overturn the mining ban after the pair met in mid-June, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Monday (Aug. 1). But Mr Hartcher said there was no plan to change the law. "Contrary to reports in today's Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW government has no plans to overturn the state's ban on uranium mining and exploration," he said in a statement issued by his office on Monday. (Sydney Morning Herald August 1, 2011)

The O'Farrell government may consider overturning a decades-old ban on uranium exploration and mining in NSW after a call from the federal Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson. In May, Mr Ferguson called for the new conservative governments in Victoria and NSW to rethink their long-term bans on uranium mining and exploration because they limited ''knowledge of potential deposits''.
The Herald can reveal that the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher, met the chief executive of the Australian Uranium Association, Michael Angwin, in mid-June to discuss overturning the ban. After the meeting, Mr Angwin wrote to Mr Hartcher ''formally asking him to make any necessary changes to permit uranium exploration and mining to take place in NSW,'' an association spokesman said.
While Mr Hartcher has yet to reply, a spokeswoman for the government said it believed Mr Ferguson's comments ''deserved consideration''. She said the state government was ''aware potential resources may exist around the Broken Hill area given the abundant resources just over the South Australian border''. ''The matter remains under consideration by the minister.''
Uranium exploration and mining are prohibited in NSW under the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act of 1986. (Sydney Morning Herald Aug. 1, 2011)


Australian uranium exports

General · China · European Union · India · Indonesia · Mexico · Pakistan · Russia · Taiwan · Ukraine · United Arab Emirates


Australian uranium exports: General

Australian uranium exports statistics for 2013 highly inconsistent

The figure presented by ASNO in its 2013-14 annual report for the Australian uranium exports total in 2013 is 7% lower than the sum of the individual figures given for the export regions.
> Download ASNO Annual Report 2013-2014 (see Table 11)
> View export statistics
[How can these statistics at all be trusted, if they contain such fundamental mistakes?]

Australia throws cloak of secrecy over uranium exports

For the year 2009, Australia no longer reports the destination of its uranium exports by country; the latest ASNO Annual Report only shows data by continent: "Individual country information is not provided in order protect commercial confidentiality"
> View export statistics

 

Australian uranium exports to China

Australia exported 266 t U to China in 2008

In 2008, Australia delivered 313.37 t U3O8 [266 t U] to customers in China, corresponding to 3.2% of total uranium exports. (ASNO Annual Report 2008/2009)
> See also: Countries to which Australian Uranium was supplied

First shipment of uranium from Olympic Dam mine to China

> View here

First Australian uranium shipped to China

The first Australian uranium has been exported to China, with demand for the fuel likely to increase sharply in coming years, Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said on 21 Nov. 2008. Ferguson didn't provide details of the source of the uranium. The shipment follows the signing of two bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements in April 2006 and their ratification in January 2007, which provide assurance that Australian uranium will be used exclusively in China for peaceful purposes, he said. (Dow Jones Nov. 21, 2008)

ERA signs China uranium export deal

> See here

BHP considers export of unsmelted Olympic Dam copper / uranium concentrate to China

> View here

Australia and China ratify agreements on nuclear cooperation and uranium exports

Australia and China ratified the Nuclear Cooperation Agreement and the Australia-China Nuclear Transfer Agreement on Jan. 4, 2007. The agreements will come into force in a month. The legal framework for Australia to start exporting uranium to China is expected to be in place early this year. (ABC Jan. 5, 2007)

NGOs issue report on the limitations of safeguards for the proposed export of Australian uranium to China and India

On 5 Nov. 2006, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) launched a report on the limitations of safeguards for the proposed export of Australian uranium to China and India.
"Australian uranium will disappear off the safeguards radar on arrival in China at a military controlled uranium conversion facility that is outside of the IAEA's international nuclear inspection regime," said ACF Nuclear Free Campaigner David Noonan. "Our uranium exports can directly and indirectly fuel the fires of future nuclear weapons and further regional insecurities."

> Download report: ACF · MAPW

Parliament Committee holds hearing on uranium exports to China

On Sep. 4, 2006, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties held a hearing on the agreements between the governments of Australia and the People's Republic of China on the Transfer of Nuclear Material and for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.
On 6 December 2006, the committee released its report, recommending the export of uranium to China.

> For details, see: Joint Standing Committee on Treaties: Treaties tabled on 8 August 2006 · report
> See also: Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Australian Conservation Foundation and Environment Centre criticise China uranium deal

The Northern Territory Environment Centre says a nuclear safeguard agreement signed between China and Australia is not worth the paper it is written on. The environment centre's Peter Robertson says China does not have the systems of transparency in place to be trusted with any Australian uranium. "The only thing that the Australian Government can do, if it's got any concern for the environment or humanity, is to cancel the agreement to supply uranium to China," he said. He says the pact is a grab-the-cash-and-run-style agreement. "China is a serial offender in terms of its irresponsible conduct, in terms of spreading nuclear technology, nuclear weapons and we don't believe Australia has any capacity to regulate the use of uranium once it arrives in China," he said. (ABC Apr 4, 2006)
The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says it remains fundamentally opposed to any deal to export uranium to China. ACF president Ian Lowe says such a move would further regional insecurity and increase nuclear risks. (ABC Apr 2, 2006)

Australia and China sign agreement on uranium exports

On April 3, 2006, Australia and China signed the Australia-China Nuclear Material Transfer Agreement and Nuclear Cooperation Agreement.

Australia and China set to sign agreements on uranium exports and exploration

Australia and China look set to sign agreements on the use of Australian uranium in Chinese nuclear power plants. China's Premier Wen Jiabao arrives in Australia on April 1, 2006. The centrepiece of his four-day trip appears to be a deal over uranium. A Chinese spokesman said two agreements will be signed over China's peaceful use of nuclear energy and the exploration and exploitation of uranium. Previously Australia has said if a deal was struck, up to 10,000 tonnes of uranium could be exported to China every year. (ABC Mar 27, 2006)

Australia to begin formal negotiations on uranium exports to China

Australia was to begin formal negotiations on an agreement allowing it to start exporting uranium to China, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Aug. 9, 2005. Mr Downer said the agreement would establish safeguards to ensure the uranium was used exclusively for peaceful purposes. Australian and Chinese officials had held exploratory talks on the proposed agreement, he said.
"When finalised, in accordance with Australian treaty-making practice, the agreement will be tabled in parliament for review by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties before binding treaty action is taken," he said. (AAP Aug. 9, 2005)

China has refused to commit to IAEA inspections of its nuclear power facilities as a condition of buying uranium from Australia. (The Australian Sep. 2, 2005)

Australia preparing negotiations over uranium sales to China

China is interested in buying Australian uranium for its nuclear power plants under conditions that would ban military use, the Chinese ambassador said on Feb. 17, 2005. Australian officials will visit Beijing this week for informal discussions, continuing talks that began last year aimed at making sure China would abide by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Australia prohibits the sale of uranium for military applications including atomic weapons and nuclear-powered warships. (AP Feb. 17, 2005)

 

Australian uranium exports to the European Union

European Union wants bigger slice of Australia's future uranium sales

The European Union wants a share of Australia's future uranium sales, rather than be closed out of the billion dollar market by China and India. It is arguing that Europe, as a strong supporter of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is a reliable consumer of uranium compared with other countries. EU ambassador Bruno Julien told West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter that while the state's ban on uranium mining was an internal political matter, Europe had to rely on nuclear power for matters of energy security and climate change.
Mr Carpenter reiterated at the meeting there would be no uranium mining in the state while he was Premier. (The Australian Apr. 12, 2007)

 

Australian uranium exports to India

Australia ships first uranium to India for testing

Australia has sent its first uranium shipment to India for testing purposes ahead of possible commercial sales to the nation, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said. (Bloomberg July 21, 2017)

Australian Parliament passes law protecting uranium miners from any challenges over uranium sales to India

The declared intent of the new law is to protect uranium mining companies in Australia from domestic legal action that challenges the consistency of the safeguards applied by the International Atomic Energy Agency in India and Australia's international non-proliferation obligations. It will also protect any future bilateral trade in other nuclear-related material or items for civil use.
A recent truncated review of the new law said the bill "provides the certainty required to give effect to the Australia-India Agreement".
So Australian uranium miners, who supplied the product that directly fuelled Fukushima, are now to be legally covered from any challenge over a highly contested plan to sell to India. (Sydney Morning Herald Nov. 29, 2016)
> Civil Nuclear Transfers to India Bill 2016 (Finally passed both Houses on 1 December 2016)

After finalizing of nuclear cooperation agreement, Australian uranium exports to India can start immediately

On Nov. 25, 2015, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Australia has finalised an agreement on the export of uranium to India. The administrative arrangements have been signed and uranium exports can begin immediately.

Australian Government dismisses Committee recommendation to defer uranium exports to India

> Download: Australian Government response to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report: Report 151 , Nov. 11, 2015

Australian Committee puts tough condition on uranium sale to India

Australia should not sell uranium to India until it sets up an independent nuclear regulator, separate its civil and military nuclear facilities and allow safety inspections, a multi-party committee recommended today.
The Treaties Committee tabled a report in parliament into the uranium deal with India, carefully favouring it but with few recommendations including that India should be encouraged to become a party to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). (Outlook India Sep. 8, 2015)
> Download Committee report: Report 151, Treaty tabled on 28 October 2014, Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of India on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy , September 2015

Nuclear experts put Australian government on notice over planned uranium deal with India

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's quest for a free trade agreement with India has been dealt a potentially fatal blow after two of the world's most respected nuclear safety experts pilloried the terms of the uranium deal negotiated with the Indian government in 2014.
While the agreement to supply uranium is seen as a prerequisite for bedding down a free trade agreement with Narendra Mohdi's government later in 2015, the Australian parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is still considering whether to support the uranium pact. The committee has heard damning evidence this week that the deal weakens Australia's rights to monitor how India would use locally-mined uranium, amid concerns that it could enter the country's controversial nuclear weapons programs.
John Carlson, the former director-general of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office, warned the Parliamentary Committee on Monday (Feb. 9) that it would be "unthinkable" for Australia to begin exporting uranium to India under the existing agreement, because it would compromise longstanding commitments to nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation standards. India is one of a handful of countries that refuses to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Mr Carlson alerted the committee to India's record of trying to circumvent international safety standards to develop nuclear arms. "A key objective of nuclear cooperation with India is to encourage India to meet international norms," Mr Carlson told the committee. "This is not helped by compromising those norms. Nor is it in Australia's national interest to compromise our long-established safeguards standards in the hope of bilateral benefits." Mr Carlson was head of the nuclear safeguards office for 21 years before he retired from the position in 2010.
Ronald Walker - a former chairman of the global nuclear regulator, the International Atomic Energy Agency - reiterated Mr Carlson's concerns. (The New Daily Feb. 10, 2015)
[The next committee hearing will be held on Feb. 12, 2015.]

Former chief of Australia's nuclear safeguards organisation raises doubts over uranium deal between Australia and India

The treaty to sell uranium to India will face tough scrutiny after the former chief atomic watchdog warned the deal lacked safeguards to ensure Australia did not inadvertently fuel India's nuclear bombs. The treaties committee of Parliament must endorse the deal, signed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in September, before uranium exports can start. But John Carlson, the former chief of Australia's nuclear safeguards organisation, has told the committee India's nuclear weapons program is expanding and has complex links to civilian reactors.
But Mr Carlson said the treaty signed by the Abbott government had a much lower standard of protection than similar deals Australia had signed with China or Russia. In a detailed submission to the committee, Mr Carlson said that under the proposed deal Australia could not definitively track uranium used in India's nuclear program and what happened subsequently to fuel reprocessed into plutonium. Nor would Australia have the right to demand the return of uranium should the agreement be breached, as it can with 41 other countries covered by similar export deals.
Mr Carlson was in charge of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office for more than 20 years until 2010 and was criticised during that time by anti-nuclear campaigners for facilitating uranium exports. (The Age Dec. 8, 2014)
> Access Joint Standing Committee on Treaties : Treaty tabled on 28 October 2014
> Download John Carlson submission (567kB PDF)

Australia signs agreement with India on uranium exports

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott sealed a civil nuclear deal to sell uranium to India on Friday (Sep. 5) and also offered to increase supplies of conventional fuel to help it overcome chronic shortages. The nuclear deal is a further step toward India achieving international acceptability for its nuclear programme despite not ratifying the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and follows similar agreements with the United States and France. (Reuters Sep. 5, 2014)

Warning against Australia's deal with India on uranium exports

Opponents of nuclear power have warned Australia against selling uranium to India amid speculation a long-elusive deal has been struck between the trading partners.
There are reports a nuclear safeguards agreement has finally been reached between the nations after years of negotiations, paving the way for Australia to export uranium to the nuclear-armed state. The move will prove controversial as India hasn't signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Critics have long warned that Australian uranium could help India free up its domestic reserves for use in nuclear weapons, only furthering tensions with neighbouring Pakistan. (Sydney Morning Herald Aug. 18, 2014)

Australia's deal with India on uranium exports may include weaker monitoring safeguards

Australia's agreement to sell uranium to India could include weaker monitoring safeguards than the nuclear deals Australia has with other countries. A third round of nuclear cooperation agreement talks are due to take place later this month and both governments say they want the deal settled quickly. In the past, Australia has required countries to which it sells uranium to track the material more closely than is required by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Speaking in New Delhi, Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, told the ABC she was reluctant to comment on the talks while they were underway. When asked if she could guarantee the agreement would be as strong as Australia's other nuclear cooperation agreements, Ms Bishop said "we will always act in Australia's national interests". (ABC Nov. 19, 2013)

India and Australia agree on start of negotiations on uranium sales to India

India's leader Manmohan Singh and Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard have formally agreed to start negotiations on a nuclear safeguards agreement to allow Australia to start selling uranium to India. (The Age Oct. 18, 2012)

Australia's ruling Labor party ends ban on uranium exports to India

Labor's national conference has voted to overturn a long-standing ban on uranium sales to India. Delegates endorsed Prime Minister Julia Gillard's view that Australia should export uranium to India, with 206 delegates voting in favour and 185 opposing it.
Moving a motion to change the party's policy platform on the issue, Ms Gillard said approving the plan would boost trade and enhance Australia's relationship with India. "We are at the right time in the history of the world to seize a new era of opportunity in this, the Asian century," she said. "We need to make sure that across our regions we have the strongest possible relationships we can, including with the world's largest democracy, India." She said it was not rational that Australia sells uranium to China but not to India. She was supported by Resources Minister Martin Ferguson, Defence Minister Stephen Smith and South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.
But she faced opposition from some of her own ministers, including Stephen Conroy, Tanya Plibersek and Peter Garrett. Speaking before the conference, Mr Garrett said it is too dangerous to sell to India because it has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). (ABC Dec. 4, 2011)

Australian Prime Minister calls to lift ban on uranium sales to India

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants to overturn a ban on sales of uranium to India, removing a diplomatic thorn that has strained relations between the two countries. Australia has refused to sell nuclear material to India because it has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but Gillard's ruling Labor party will debate lifting the ban at its conference next month. (Reuters Nov. 15, 2011)

Australia rejects India's request to lift uranium export ban - for the time being

Australia rejected an Indian government plea on Wednesday (Jan. 19) to reverse its ban on the sale of uranium to New Delhi, but the policy could come up for review at a ruling party conference later this year. India's Minister for External Affairs Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna, visiting Melbourne, asked for the ban to be overturned during a closed-door meeting with Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson. "The policy of the Australian government is clear - we will only supply uranium to countries that are signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and have signed a bilateral agreement with Australia," Ferguson said afterwards. (Reuters Jan. 19, 2011)

Australia's ban on uranium sales to India stays in spite of NSG waiver

The Rudd Government's ban on uranium sales to India will stay in place despite the decision by supplier nations, including Australia, to end the 34-year embargo on nuclear trade with New Delhi. On Sep. 6, 2008, the 45 countries comprising the Nuclear Suppliers Group endorsed a waiver of its rules for India, which refuses to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Trade Minister Simon Crean yesterday confirmed Canberra's ban on yellowcake sales to India would stay in place as long as it refused to sign the NPT. (The Australian Sep. 8, 2008)

Australian Government softens stance on uranium export ban to India

The Rudd Government's resolve not to sell uranium to India is weakening after Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith signalled that country's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty could be overlooked. In a significant softening of Labor's position, Mr Smith told Indian reporters that, although the Government had a "strong policy" of not exporting uranium to non-signatory countries, the ban could be overturned if a long-awaited "123" agreement between India and the United States was finalised.
The comments, reported in The Times Of India last week, effectively leave the door open for sales of uranium to India, despite Labor's clear election promise to ban exports to the booming democracy as long as it refuses to sign the treaty. (The Sydney Morning Herald June 1, 2008)

Australia reverses decision to sell uranium to India

Australia's new Labor Government told India's nuclear envoy Shyam Saran it would not sell uranium to New Delhi unless it signs the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), reversing a decision by the previous government. (Reuters Jan. 15, 2008)

Australian uranium sales to India would breach nuclear treaty

Australia will be in breach of an anti-nuclear treaty approved by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, if it goes ahead with plans to sell uranium to India. Mr Downer, now an advocate of uranium sales, acknowledged 10 years ago in Hansard that, under the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty signed in 1985, Australia could not sell uranium to countries which had not signed up to "full scope safeguards" on their nuclear plants.
Yet Australia's sales to India, which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, will be subject to a regime which experts say falls well short of such safeguards. Under the draft US-India deal signed this month, only the civil nuclear plants will be subject to inspections, while military installations will not. (Sydney Morning Herald, August 28, 2007)

Nonproliferation organization blasts Australian Government move to sell uranium to India

The Arms Control Association (ACA), a leading nuclear nonproliferation research and advocacy organization, strongly criticized the Australian government's decision to pursue the sale of uranium to India.
"This move flagrantly contradicts Australia's long standing international nuclear nonproliferation commitments and should be reconsidered and reversed," said Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of ACA.
"The reported Australian cabinet decision to sell uranium to India - which is not a member of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), has not signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has refused to halt its production of plutonium for weapons - would violate Australia's past political and treaty commitments to the principle of full-scope international safeguards as a condition for supply of nuclear technology and material," said Kimball.
> View Arms Control Association release Aug. 15, 2007

Australian cabinet poised for uranium exports to non-NPT signatory India

The National Security Committee of federal cabinet has decided to start uranium shipments to India with the condition that Australian inspectors be allowed to check on site that the yellowcake is used only for peaceful purposes and electricity generation. John Howard will contact his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, who is also Minister for Atomic Energy, to explain the conditions before formally announcing the agreement. (The Australian Aug. 15, 2007)

Australia moves to sell uranium to India

Australia may sell uranium to India if the federal cabinet approves a submission from Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer. The move would allow the deal despite India not being a signatory to the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. (The Australian July 26, 2007)

India presses Australia to export uranium

On Nov. 16, 2006, India's finance minister pressed Australia's prime minister to give India access to the country's uranium, arguing it needs nuclear power if it is to reduce carbon emissions. India has sought previously to buy Australian uranium, but Canberra earlier this year stood by its policy of not selling to countries, such as India, that have not signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. (Reuters Nov. 16, 2006)

NGOs issue report on the limitations of safeguards for the proposed export of Australian uranium to China and India

> see here

Working group to explore implications of US-India nuclear agreement on possibility of Australian uranium exports to India

Australia and India will set up a working group to explore the detail of a nuclear pact concluded between India and the United States that has put the issue of Australian uranium sales in the spotlight.
Australia at first appeared willing to consider whether the pact could open the door for India to buy its uranium, even though it is not a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT). But Mr Howard backed away from the idea amid widespread concerns in Australia that it could undermine the NPT. Mr Howard and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to let officials from both countries further explore the detail of the US-India agreement.
The United States will allow India access to American technology and fuel despite its refusal to sign the NPT. In return, India has agreed to let 14 of its 22 reactors - those used for its civilian needs - be opened to international inspections. (The Age March 7, 2006)
A high-level Australian official team has undertaken a visit in India to discuss the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Agreement, following up on Prime Minister John Howard's keenness to know more details about the deal before his country could decide whether to supply uranium to India. The team was led by David Ritchy, Deputy Secretary in Australian Foreign Ministry, and included John Kalson, head of the country's nuclear department, sources said. (Outlook India May 5, 2006)
Australia will consider selling uranium to India even if it refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, top level sources say. A move by Australia to change its ban on selling uranium to non-signatories would be considered if India made similar reciprocal moves, such as allowing inspections of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), The Australian newspaper said today. The decision follows meetings in Delhi last week in which India's senior foreign ministry diplomat Shyam Saran asked if Australia would agree to change its stance on exporting uranium to countries that have not signed the non-proliferation treaty. (The Australian May 11, 2006)

 

Australian uranium exports to Indonesia

The security agreement signed by Indonesia and Australia on Nov. 13, 2006, has provided a basis for Indonesia to buy uranium from its neighbor for a planned nuclear power plant. "If Indonesia wants to proceed with a civil nuclear power program, and if Indonesia wants to buy uranium from Australia, then Indonesia and Australia will have to negotiate a separate nuclear safeguard agreement," Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said. Downer said that once a safeguard agreement is in place, Australia would have no objection to selling uranium to Indonesia. Indonesia first signed an international non-proliferation treaty in 1971, and has since committed to a safeguard agreement and other treaties designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. (The Jakarta Post, Nov. 15, 2006)

 

Australian uranium exports to Mexico

Australia may start exporting uranium to Mexico in four or five years time, Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said; Mexico's government is considering ratifying a safeguard agreement within six months, which would enable Australia to start exporting the nuclear fuel for use in Mexico. Mexico is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty yet still needs to ratify the safeguard agreement before Australia can start exports, he said. (Bloomberg Oct. 5, 2006)

 

Australian uranium exports to Pakistan

Pakistan wants Australian uranium, too, if India gets it

Pakistan's Minister for Religious Affairs, Muhammad Ijaz ul-Haq, warned of a possible diplomatic backlash should Australia decide to sell uranium to India. He said because Pakistan and India both had active nuclear weapon and nuclear power programs, and neither was a signatory to the NPT, Australia should now consider supplying uranium to Pakistan. (The Australian July 27, 2007)

 

Australian uranium exports to Russia

Australia halts uranium sales to Russia in view of Ukraine crisis - currently no contracts, though

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would no longer sell uranium to Russia until further notice. "Australia has no intention of selling uranium to a country which is so obviously in breach of international law as Russia currently is." (Sydney Morning Herald Sep. 3, 2014)
Russia stopped all imports of uranium from Australia in 2012 and does not have any obligations to that country, a source at the State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) told ITAR-TASS in a comment on the Australian government's decision to stop the exports of uranium to Russia. (ITAR-TASS Sep. 3, 2014)

First shipment of Australian uranium arrives in Russia

The first consignment of natural uranium from Australia has arrived in Russia five years after the two nations signed a bilateral agreement enabling such trade to take place.
Russian fuel cycle company Techsnabexport (Tenex) announced the arrival of the trial consignment, transported by sea to St Petersburg. The uranium was delivered under a contract signed by Tenex and Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) in June and will be processed at the Siberian Chemical Combine. After conversion and enrichment, the low-enriched uranium will be supplied by Tenex to an unnamed foreign utility. (WNA Nov. 8, 2012)

First shipment of Australian uranium to be delivered to Russia

The first shipment of Australian natural uranium will be delivered to Russia for enrichment this year. It was announced after Technosnabexport belonging to the ROSATOM State Nuclear Energy Corporation and Australia's Rio Tinto Company signed an agreement within the framework of the ATOMEXPO-2012 forum. Australia's ERA Company, incorporated in the Ria Tinto Group, will be the contractor from the Australian side. According to Rosatom, the first delivery is scheduled for the third quarter of 2012 via the maritime sea port of St. Petersburg. Australian natural uranium will be processed at the Siberian Chemical Works owned by the TVEL fuel company in Seversk. After that, Technosnabexport will supply the low-enriched uranium to one of the foreign companies. (Itar-Tass June 6, 2012)

Russia and Australia adopt safeguarding mechanism for civilian use of Australian uranium exports to Russia

Russia's Rosatom atomic state corporation director-general Sergei Kirienko told reporters that he and Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office head Robert Floyd have exchanged letters that effectively constitute a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in accordance with Article 12 of a bilateral Russian-Australian intergovernmental agreement on civilian use of atomic energy.
While Russia and Australia in 2007 signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in civilian atomic energy use it is only now that they have adopted a mechanism providing safeguards regarding the civilian use of Australian uranium at Russian enterprises. (OilPrice.com Jun. 21, 2011)

Australia ratifies agreement that allows uranium exports to Russia

A nuclear cooperation agreement between Australia and Russia went into force today (Nov. 11, 2010) after their two leaders exchanged notes to ratify the deal. Under the agreement Australia will sell uranium to Russia, against the advice of an Australian parliamentary committee. Legislators had called for the deal to be blocked unless Russia met a number of conditions, including speeding up reforms to separate civilian and military nuclear plants.
The agreement, which allows Australian uranium to be enriched in Russia and used in Russian nuclear reactors, was signed in Sydney in 2007 and ratified by the lower house of Russia's parliament this summer. It will last for 30 years but can remain in force indefinitely if there are no objections from either side. The agreement means uranium supplied to Russia can be used only for peaceful purposes, must meet International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards and can be used only in facilities agreed by Australia. A previous agreement signed in 1990 specified that Australian uranium supplied to Russia could be enriched for use by third countries only. (ABC Nov. 11, 2010)

On June 9, 2010, the Russian State Duma ratified the nuclear agreement that will allow Australian uranium to be exported to Russia. (RIA Novosti June 9, 2010)

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australia and Russia will ratify a nuclear agreement that will allow Australian uranium to be exported to Russia for "civil, peaceful purposes." (Bloomberg April 22, 2010)

Australia has paved the way to sell uranium to Russia, despite conservationists' concerns about environmental damage and military ramifications. Australia does not currently sell uranium to Russia. The former Howard government struck a deal to start exports, but that treaty has not been ratified. A parliamentary committee in 2008 warned against allowing the deal to go ahead.
But the government on Thursday (Mar. 18) brushed aside that warning, saying the treaty was strong enough to prevent problems. In a statement, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith and Resources Minister Martin Ferguson said the treaty "provides appropriate safeguards for the supply of Australian uranium for use in Russia's civil nuclear sector". The treaty would ensure the uranium could only be used for peaceful purposes, and only in facilities approved by Australia, the statement said. The statement said the government was yet to make a final decision about ratifying the treaty. (Brisbane Times Mar. 18, 2010)
That has angered the Australian Conservation Foundation's David Noonan, a nuclear free campaigner. He says under no circumstances should Australia seal the deal. "This treaty allows Australian uranium to be used for facilities that are not covered by the International Atomic Energy Agency. It provides specifically for the substitution of Australian uranium for uranium from other countries and that they would then ignore essentially where our own uranium would go."
There is currently no obligation on Russia to accept safeguards under the IAEA rules. Instead they have voluntary safeguard agreements with the IAEA and they ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty a decade ago. But Mr Noonan says the parliamentary inquiry recommended there should be a complete separation of the military from the civilian nuclear sector in Russia and that there should be independent verification of that separation. He says that has not happened. (ABC Mar. 19, 2010)

Australia should not ratify a treaty to sell uranium to Russia, a Labor-led parliamentary committee has recommended. Former prime minister John Howard and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed the uranium deal worth $1 billion a year at the APEC meeting a year ago. Russia insists it will use the uranium for civilian nuclear power use and not to make nuclear weapons either in Russia or in another country. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith has expressed support for the sales. But on Sep. 18, 2008, parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties tabled a report opposing the sales. Copies of the report, which was tabled in the Senate, have not yet become available. (The Australian Sep. 18, 2008)
> Download Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report

On Aug. 25, 2008, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) say the current conflict in Georgia provides another reason why Australia should scrap plans to sell uranium to Russia. "In the face of Russian military action in Georgia and threats of a possible nuclear strike against Poland, Australia should immediately discontinue plans to sell uranium to Russia. We cannot turn a blind eye to the threat of nuclear war," said Dr Sue Wareham, President of the Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia).

On June 20, 2008, the ecological organisations Ecodefense, Baikal Ecological Wave, Baikal Motion, Bellona and Greenpeace turned to the parliament of Australia with the demand not to ratify the agreement which will open the road for the large-scale export of Australian uranium to Russia. (Ecodefense June 20, 2008)

In a Policy Brief issued on June 18, 2008, the Australian Conservation Foundation opposes uranium exports to Russia:

"The proposed treaty for uranium export to Russia, signed by then Prime Minister Howard and Russian President Putin at APEC in Sydney in 2007, is not in Australia's national interest and Australia should not ratify this flawed nuclear treaty.
ACF believes this treaty will compromise Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's "International Commission on Nuclear Non Proliferation and Disarmament" and unacceptably weaken, rather than strengthen, Australia's policy and practice on nuclear safeguards and nuclear non-proliferation.
Australia should not export uranium to nuclear weapon states - like Russia - that fail to fully comply with their nuclear disarmament obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). [...]"

(Nuclear treaty with Russia would compromise the Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation & Disarmament, ACF Policy Brief 2.6.1, June 2008)

On Sep. 7, 2007, Russia has signed an agreement allowing it to buy Australian uranium for its nuclear reactors. Australia could be exporting its yellowcake to Russia as soon as next year, but today's agreement means Russia could not sell the fuel to any other nation or use it for military purposes. Russia previously said it would sign a nuclear safeguards agreement to allow for the sale of the fuel, to ensure it is used only for domestic civil use.
But the deal has angered Greenpeace, which says it will create a nuclear weapons proliferation risk. Greenpeace says the plan could free up Russia's own uranium supplies for weapons production and export.
Democrats leader Senator Lyn Allison strongly condemned the move in the lead-up to the agreement. She says the safeguards agreement is "generally regarded as joke". "Russia has a very poor history of safety, it routinely flouts its own laws, it won't ratify the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) additional protocol that would have allowed for greater levels of inspection," she said. (ABC Sep. 7, 2007)
Russia expects annual deliveries of 4000 t of uranium from Australia, according to Rosatom chief Sergej Kirijenko. (RIA Novosti Sep. 7, 2007)

Australian Government officials confirmed that a new agreement to sell uranium to Russia could be signed in September 2007 during the visit of President Vladimir Putin to Australia. The deal will pave the way for Australian uranium to fuel Russian reactors for the first time. Under a 1990 agreement, Russia has processed Australian uranium for other countries but not for its own use. The new agreement follows Russia's decision to separate its civil and military nuclear programs last year. This includes putting its civil facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement. (The Age Aug. 17, 2007)

Negotiations have started which could allow Australian uranium to be exported to Russia for its nuclear power industry. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Russia's move to clearly separate its military and civil nuclear programs is one reason Australia agreed to take part in the discussions. (ABC Apr. 27, 2007)

Techsnabexport , Russia's state-owned nuclear fuel maker, will meet BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto executives as part of an attempt to import uranium from Australia. The company, known as Tenex, supplies reactor operators worldwide, many of which buy Australian uranium. The lack of an export agreement between Australia and Russia barred those customers from having the material enriched and converted to fuel in Russia, Tenex director-general Vladimir Smirnov said. Tenex is seeking new supplies of uranium to help fuel new power plants Russia plans to build by 2015, and to supply customers it has in Europe, Japan and South Korea. (The Age, Oct. 18, 2006)

 

Australian uranium exports to Taiwan

Controversy on first Australian uranium shipment to Taiwan

The controversial first shipment of Australian uranium to Taiwan is scheduled to leave on Dec. 19, 2006, amid debate about potential for the move to help clear the way for future exports to nuclear-armed India. BHP Billiton refused to confirm the timing of the shipment to Taiwan via the United States, but the buyer, the electricity generator Taipower, was less constrained. The shipment to Taiwan employs an indirect sale arrangement through the US, which will first convert and enrich the ore under a bilateral agreement between Canberra and Washington. (Sydney Morning Herald Dec. 18, 2006)

Australian miners have signed deals to export uranium to NPT-non-signatory Taiwan

Two Australian mining companies have quietly signed contracts for the supply of uranium to Taiwan, raising fears that it could undermine efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
Taiwan is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty (NPT) on nuclear arms, but it has confirmed the uranium deals to the Sydney Morning Herald on April 3, 2006. Taiwanese officials said the deal had been signed by the electricity producer Taipower with BHP Billiton and ERA during the past 12 months, and the arrangement provided for indirect trade through the US.
ERA said that as yet no uranium had been shipped to Taiwan because all available production had already been pre-sold to other customers. BHP Billiton refused to say when the first shipments to Taiwan would take place.
In 2002 little attention was paid to an "exchange of notes" between Australia and the US allowing "re-transfer" of Australian uranium. (Sydney Morning Herald, April 4, 2006)

 

Australian uranium exports to Ukraine

Australian Parliamentary Committee recommends approval of uranium exports to Ukraine

An agreement to send Australian uranium to Ukraine for "peaceful purposes", including electricity generation, has secured the tick of approval from a parliamentary committee. However, the group of Liberal, Labor and Greens MPs has urged the government to develop a contingency plan for removing the nuclear material. "The committee is concerned about the impact of recent instability in Ukraine and the risk that regulatory control of the material may be lost," committee chairman Stuart Robert said on Tuesday. (AAP Feb. 7, 2017)
> Download Joint Standing Committee on Treaties media release Feb. 7, 2017

The Australian Conservation Foundation again has called on the federal government not to advance uranium sales to Ukraine. (ACF Feb. 7, 2017)

Australian Parliamentary Committee cautious about proposed uranium exports to Ukraine, demands contingency plan for repatriation of nuclear material

In its review of the agreement on proposed uranium exports to Ukraine, the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties identifies serious safety and security issues and demands a contingency plan:
"The Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Ukraine on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy was tabled in the Parliament on 12 September 2016.
The Ukraine is dependent on nuclear power and is endeavouring to source nuclear materials from countries other than its traditional supplier, Russia. While the Ukrainian Government is attempting to improve the safety and security of its nuclear energy program, Australian nuclear material in Urkraine faces serious risks from war, civil unrest, and corruption.
Therefore the Committee has recommended ratification of the treaty action only if Australia has a suitable contingency plan for the removal of Australian nuclear material if the material is at risk of a loss of regulatory control." [emphasis added]
> View: Nuclear Cooperation - Ukraine (Joint Standing Committee on Treaties)
> Download: Report 167, Nuclear Cooperation-Ukraine; Extradition-China , Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, December 2016

In view of the Committee's findings, the Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the federal government not to advance uranium sales to Ukraine. (ACF Dec. 16, 2016)

Australia to possibly start supplying uranium to Ukraine in early 2017

Australia is expected to begin supplying uranium to Ukraine at the beginning of 2017. The supplies are made possible after Kyiv and Canberra signed a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement on March 30. However, additional deals are required to finalize the procedure, Ukraine's Ambassador to Australia Mykola Kulinich says in an interview with Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform. (Ukraine Today Aug. 6, 2016)

Ukraine, Australia sign agreement on uranium supply

Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Volodymyr Demchyshyn and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop have signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes. According to an Interfax-Ukraine correspondent, the agreement was signed in Washington on March 31 as part of the working visit of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to the United States. (Interfax Mar. 31, 2016)

Australian Conservation Foundation opposes Australia's plan to supply uranium to Ukraine

The Foreign Minister's plan to sell Australian uranium to Ukraine is a dangerous retreat from responsibility, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today (Mar. 30). Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has announced she will sign an agreement this week with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to supply Australian uranium to Ukraine.
"Australia, the country that directly fuelled Fukushima plans to sell uranium to Ukraine, the country that gave the world Chernobyl - this is hardly a match made in heaven," said ACF nuclear free campaigner Dave Sweeney. "Thirty years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster five million people still live in contaminated areas in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.  There remain serious containment and waste management issues at Chernobyl and there are very real security concerns about Ukrainian nuclear facilities being targeted in the current conflict with Russia." (Australian Conservation Foundation Mar. 30, 2016)

Ukraine, Australia to sign agreement on uranium supply

Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Volodymyr Demchyshyn will sign an agreement between the governments of Ukraine and Australia on cooperation in the field of nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes. "In particular, the agreement concerns uranium supplies from Australia to Ukraine for the nuclear energy sector," reads a report by the ministry. (Interfax Mar. 30, 2016)

 

Australian uranium exports to United Arab Emirates

After finalizing of nuclear cooperation agreement, Australian uranium exports to United Arab Emirates can start immediately

On Nov. 25, 2015, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced Australia has finalised an agreement on the export of uranium to the United Arab Emirates. The administrative arrangements have been signed and uranium exports can begin immediately.

Australia - United Arab Emirates agreement on uranium sales entering into force

United Arab Emirates has become the first Middle Eastern nation to take Australian uranium. Trade Minister Andrew Robb met with UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah in Abu Dhabi to witness a 2012 agreement entering into force. The UAE aims to set up four nuclear power plants by 2020. From 2020, the UAE aims to import about 800 tonnes a year. (The Telegraph Apr. 15, 2014)

Australia and United Arab Emirates sign agreement paving way for uranium sales

Australia and the United Arab Emirates signed an agreement paving the way for sales of Australian uranium to the UAE's fledgling nuclear power programme, officials said on Tuesday (July 31). "It is a commitment by the Australian government setting up conditions under which nuclear material will be supplied to the UAE," Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told a news conference. (Reuters July 31, 2012)
However, the Greens' nuclear policy spokesperson Scott Ludlam has lambasted the government's decision to sell uranium to what he labelled a "dictatorship". (Mining Weekly Aug. 3, 2012)

Australia paving way for uranium sales to United Arab Emirates

The Federal Government is taking the first steps towards selling uranium to the United Arab Emirates, which is planning a nuclear energy program. Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd says Australia has begun negotiations on a bilateral agreement with the UAE that would specify the peaceful use of nuclear energy, a precursor to uranium sales. (ABC March 9, 2011)

 

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