Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion says Western Australia should build on its world-leading resources technology to take a major role in the global uranium industry.
“We have seen competitor nations expand their energy mining sectors and now, with Australia home to one-third of the world’s known reserves, it’s time we embraced a leadership role as well,” Mr Marmion said.
Addressing the 10th annual Australian Uranium and Rare Earths Conference in Perth today, the Minister said Australia was well-placed to supply new and expanding markets.
“An increasing number of rational people across the world are seeing nuclear energy, with its low carbon emissions and base-load power capacity, as a fundamental part of the response to climate change,” he said.
“Our biggest trading partner, China, is set to lead the charge for a cleaner, lower-carbon emission future – and we are in the box seat to ride the rising market for uranium.”
China already has 20 reactors on line, with 29 more under construction, and plans to triple its nuclear power generation by 2020, then triple it again by 2030.
Australia recently signed a supply agreement with the United Arab Emirates and negotiations continue with India, which has 21 reactors in operation, six under construction and 35 planned.
Mr Marmion acknowledged recent challenges faced by the industry but urged conference participants to take advantage of opportunities.
“Now is the time for consolidation,” he said. “Over the next 18 months get all of your Commonwealth and State approvals in place so that you are best placed to capitalise on the next phase of market expansion.”
“No State dominates gas energy exports like WA, and our Government certainly shares the vision for a dominant role in uranium, too.”
– Western Australia ideally located to supply emerging energy markets
– 73 reactors under construction worldwide, 172 on order or planned
– Nuclear generation is planned to supply 25% of India’s electricity by 2050
– The Liberal National Government’s Exploration Incentive Scheme has just funded two new uranium drilling programs and the recent Theseus and Yalgoo discoveries