23 Oct 2012

Qld uranium not likely soon

10:01 am on 23 October 2012

Uranium explorers in Queensland are unlikely to begin producing yellowcake for several years, despite the overturning of a ban on uranium by the state government.

Premier Campbell Newman on Monday reopened uranium mining in the state, citing Prime Minister Julia Gillard's recent support for uranium sales to India as a primary reason.

AAP reports the price of uranium has languished in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March last year.

Fat Prophets analyst David Lennox told AAP it would be a number of years before any significant yellowcake came out of Queensland.

He said the Summit Resources project near Mount Isa would be the most likely deposit to be developed, from four major exploration projects. Summit Resources is 82% owned by Paladin Energy.

Mr Lennox said many companies had ignored uranium due to the ban and the weak spot price.

"The pricing's just not there to engender a massive rush," he said.

He predicts the New South Wales state will soon overturn its ban on uranium mining also.

The decision was applauded by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies which said it put Queensland on an equal playing field to other states.

Australian Uranium Association chief executive Michael Angwin said new uranium mines would be needed to supply Indian nuclear reactors.

However, AAP reports the association is not aware of any plans by larger miners, such as Energy Resources Australia, Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton, to mine uranium in Queensland.

BHP recently cancelled a uranium project in Western Australia and halted the expansion of its Olympic Dam project, which has a substantial uranium deposit.