Uranium mining in Queensland set to ignite after
32 years . . . but which port will export?
Darwin and Adelaide tipped as major uranium export centres
Queensland uranium mining is taking off again, with Darwin and Adelaide tipped as major export centres.
Uranium mining in the state of Queensland has been halted for many years, however the Queensland government is changing its tune.
Queensland has announced it’s ready to receive applications from mining companies who can operate mines in the state. Mining uranium in Queensland has not been in favour for 32 years – so the resurgence is being treated with caution.
“where will uranium be transported to and how will it be handled?”
One of the biggest questions raised is exactly where the uranium will be exported from (which location) and how it will be transported.
Queensland has no licenced ports to export uranium from, which has led the state government to look to its northern cousins Darwin, or perhaps its southern friends in South Australia.
“Townsville has been pegged as possible uranium port”
At this point in time the Queensland Government has had a number of opportunities to negate exporting from Queensland, although it hasn`t actually said it wouldn’t in the future. The port of Townsville has been pegged as a possible future export destination for uranium . . . we shall see!
As other Queensland mining operations targeting coal and nickel scale back in Queensland, this new uranium mining opportunity could signal another round of mining jobs for the region.
Although the Queensland government has expressed an interest in kick-starting uranium mining again, there are still a few issues to be ironed out. Is uranium mining commercially viable? If mining goes ahead, then as we mentioned before, the real issue is where will the raw material be transported to for export and under what conditions?
Northern Territory not fazed about uranium exports
The Northern Territory government is keen to do as much as it can to stimulate their economy. Mines Minister, Willem Westra van Holthe, was in favour of supporting the transportation of uranium oxide from The Sunshine State (Queensland) up into the Northern Territory.
Uranium oxide is already transported on a regular basis through the Northern Territory road network, so it seems the NT government are quite happy to add more traffic. Uranium is already mined at the Ranger Uranium Mine, transported in barrels and exported via the Port of Darwin.
“an economic boost for Darwin”
Exporting uranium from the Territory would provide an economic boost for Darwin, which has suffered port traffic drops since the Territory’s iron ore industry slowed, due to the recent fall in the price of the raw material.
Westra van Holthe seems to already be planning the routes for the uranium to head up to Darwin with recent recommendations of how and where the uranium will travel. The logistics of the operation involve the use of existing infrastructure in Queensland, which includes road and rail networks.
Uranium exploration highly active in Queensland
There is uranium exploration happening right now with a French-owned mining company spending millions of dollars exploring close to remote towns in north-west Queensland. There are plans to keep exploring around Cloncurry, which is west of Mt Isa.
AREVA Resources has drilled over 90 test holes since late 2012, with future plans to continue searching for uranium deposits. There is also the Ben Lomond site, which Canadian miner Mega Uranium has shown a keen interest in reopening, although the gates remain firmly shut at this stage.
“Queensland mining is quietly getting on with the job”
Mining is not expected to start anytime soon, however, this is yet another example of how Queensland mining is quietly getting on with the job. This type of low-level news does not reach mainstream media such as TV and newspapers.
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