Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ranger Uranium Mine Future On Track

Published on Friday March 30 2012 (AEST)

The company that operates the Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory has taken a major step towards turning the open cut operation into an underground mine.

Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) has awarded a contract to build a tunnel two Kilometres long and 400 metres deep to test the viability of another uranium ore body on the Ranger lease.

Construction of the tunnel by contractor Macmahon is due to start next month.

The mine is located within the boundaries of Kakadu National Park, about 230 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

ERA chief executive Rob Atkinson says the existing open cut mine will run out of ore by the end of this year and the new tunnel will be used to decide whether to build an underground mine.

"Without doing this, essentially we would have no more ore to mine apart from the stockpiles," he said.

"So this really is about the future of ERA as a company, as a business, as a Territory icon for the last 30 years.

"It is a very important first step to determining the potential of an underground mine."

Mr Atkinson says the tunnel will be used to drill samples to.

"The actual tunnel itself will be fairly large," he said.

"It is about six metres across and five metres high.

"That will allow trucks which can carry up to 55 tonnes of dirt to travel up and down the decline.

"So, it is certainly a good size."

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Uranium Sector Review March 30, 2012

Published on Friday March 30 2012 (AEST)

Here's the latest Resource Capital Research Uranium Sector Review Report released for the March Quarter, 2012.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Uranium Ban Lifted By NSW Parliament

March 28, 2012 6:33PM

LEGISLATION to repeal a ban on Uranium Exploration has passed through the NSW Parliament, with MPs in the state's Upper House supporting it by 20 votes to 18.

In February, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said the state would be stupid to turn a blind eye to the revenue that uranium mining could generate, announcing his government wanted to repeal a 26-year-old ban on exploration.

The legislation passed through the Legislative Council unamended Today, despite opposition from Greens and Labor MPs.

"This is great news for NSW. We must look for every opportunity to join the resource boom underway in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia," NSW Resources Minister Chris Hartcher said in a statement.

"This is a new area of exploration and a new opportunity to create an industry which will give the NSW economy a real boost.

"Overturning the ban on uranium exploration brings NSW into line with all other states, excluding Victoria.

"This sends a message to potential investors in NSW that we are supportive of resource investment."

Separate legislation would be required to lift the NSW ban on uranium mining.

The NSW Greens and environment groups condemned the passing of the legislation, saying the Government had no mandate for uranium exploration.

"The community does not support uranium mining and, over the coming months, the Government will hear this loud and clear," Greens MP Jamie Parker said.

"The O'Farrell Government did not take this policy to last year's election and the public will be horrified that it has overturned this important socially and environmentally responsible protection."

The Nature Conservation Council, Australian Conservation Foundation and Beyond Nuclear Initiative called for an independent inquiry into uranium mining in NSW.

"Premier O'Farrell has said this is not about mining, but about exploration and gathering evidence, so we trust he will support a full, robust and independent inquiry to examine the adequacy of NSW's regulatory regimes, the experience of uranium mining in other jurisdictions and the views of relevant stakeholders," Dave Sweeney from the Australian Conservation Foundation said in a statement.

Chief of the NSW Nature Conservation Council Pepe Clarke said thousands of people had signed a petition calling for the exploration ban to be maintained.

"We urge the Government, Opposition and crossbench MPs to support a full, robust and independent inquiry into the ramifications of opening up NSW to uranium exploration and mining," Mr Clarke said.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lynas Corporation (EIA) Pre- Environmental Impact Risk Assessment

Preliminary Environmental Impact Assessment Lamp & Quantitative Risk Assessment - Proposed Lynas Advan...

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Uranium Mining Could Begin In Queensland

Published on Wednesday March 21 2012 (AEST)

The LNP and ALP candidates in Queensland's Mount Isa electorate both say their parties' opposition to uranium mining in the state could change.

The candidates were quizzed about their positions at an election debate held in Mount Isa last night.

Labor member Betty Kiernan says while her party opposes mining the mineral, there's no reason why the policy won't be overturned.

"Uranium's never going to be an easy issue," she said.

"Right now we have both major parties clearly saying they will not introduce uranium mining, but what's to say that won't change?

"If it means the sustainability of our region, governments will change their policy."

Rob Katter, the Katter's Party candidate for the electorate, made his position clear - if that party wins in Saturday's election, uranium mining would be legalized.

"I personally cannot see why we're not mining uranium in this area," he said.

"We've got a resource here that can generate wealth for our area, and I'm yet to see some solid rationale as to why we're not mining it."

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paladin Receives Approval For Canadian Exploration

Published on Tuesday March 13 2012 (AEST)

UPDATE 11.30am: Paladin Energy has enjoyed some rare good news with the uranium miner announcing it has secured clearance to begin exploring its Canadian assets.

The company announced this morning a three-year moratorium on uranium mining had been lifted by indigenous landowners.

The Africa-focused uranium miner said the work ban on uranium projects in Inuit-administered lands in Labrador had been removed, as was flagged in December.

Five of the Perth-based company's six deposits in Canada, acquired through the takeover of Aurora Energy, lie within this area.

Paladin said in a statement that drilling was expected to start in the September quarter, focusing on the Michelin deposit.

Paladin shares have been battered in recent months on falling prices for uranium prompted by the Fukushima nuclear plant emergency in Japan and underperformance at its two African uranium mines.
Shares in Paladin were up 6.5 cents, or 3.64 per cent, at $1.85 at 11.30am, compared to losses in the broader market of about 0.2 per cent.

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Kingsnorth: Molycorp Move Will Ignite Rare Earths Demand

Published on Saturday March 10 2012 (AEST)

The Molycorp-Neo Materials deal means back to the drawing board for Dudley Kingsnorth. RareMetalBlog publisher Tracy Weslosky was on the nail to call the takeover by Molycorp of Neo Materials a game changer.

So far as Dudley Kingsnorth, Australia’s leading rare earths expert is concerned, it is just that, and has certainly guaranteed that all the future outlook for REE demand will have to be recalibrated. So much so, in fact, that he says that his next demand outlook projections will be dramatically different from the ones issued just last month.

There’s still be a shortage of heavy rare earths, but he feels it is going to be a much harder hill to climb for competing light rare earth hopefuls once the combined-Molycorp-Neo operation hits its stride. He says Molycorp will now be moving to its 40,000 tonnes a year target much more quickly than expected - perhaps it might be just over three years away.

But Dudley sees a far more important consequence of the takeover which means a true mines-to-magnets operation. That is, a kick-start to demand and rising use of rare earths.

The reason? End users have spent considerable sums of money on finding ways to lighten their dependence on REE - what Dudley has termed “replace, reduce or recycle”. They won’t need to do that now: they know that the rare earth supplies will be available from a non-China source, so they can forge ahead with developing new applications.

(This is the same concept that is driving Australia’s Metallica Minerals with its scandium project. The world uses only a few tonnes a year of scandium mainly because it is in such short supply; guarantee plentiful supply, Metallica reckons, and new applications will emerge.)

Just this week we heard of Japan’s new Sendai Material Valley project. This is an effort to turn the Tohoku region into a world-class centre for material industries, with a focus on the development of next-generation automotive materials, including emission catalysts that do not need rare earths or critical metals. [My emphasis]

Dudley thinks that Molycorp will not only be in a position to guarantee supply, but to guarantee prices (perhaps for up to five years). No one has yet been able to do either, and certainly not both.

He thinks the Molycorp move will be widely welcomed.

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Northern Minerals - Browns Range Trial Processing By Nagrom

Published on Monday March 05 2012 (AEST)

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Extract Resources Directors Back $2.38bn Chinese Takeover Bid

Published on Thursday March 01 2012 (AEST)

The independent directors of Extract Resources, owner of one of the world's largest uranium mines, have backed a takeover offer from China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC) that values it at A$2.2 billion ($2.38 billion).

The recommendation for the A$8.65 a share offer, was made after Extract failed to uncover any rival bidders and takes CGNPC a step closer to winning control of the giant Husab uranium project in Namibia.

"After a lengthy and exhaustive process, as at today, no alternative and superior proposal has been received, nor are there any discussions underway with third parties," Extract said in a statement.

In a complex deal, CGNPC -- which is bidding with the China-Africa Development Fund -- initially offered $990 million for Kalahari Minerals, which owns 42.7 percent of Extract. It launched a bid for Extract last month after winning control of Kalahari.

Rio Tinto, which owns a 14 percent stake in Extract, had no immediate comment on whether it would accept the offer. The gobal miner had previously accepted the Chinese offer for a stake it held in Kalahari.

Husab is potentially the second-largest uranium mine in the world, and Rio Tinto has been in talks with Extract to combine its neighbouring Rossing mine, the world's longest-running open pit uranium mine, with Husab.

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