AUSTRALIA is sitting on a figurative gold mine of literal uranium, with a massive untapped opportunity to unlock an export boom and add thousands of jobs to the economy, a new report has argued.
The study, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia and conducted by RMIT University economists Sinclair Davidson and Ashton de Silva, found that under the right conditions, Australian uranium could generate as much as 5 per cent of the world’s electricity.
“This would be an outstanding contribution to global low-emissions electricity generation,” Minerals Council uranium executive director Daniel Zavattiero said.
Australia is sitting on about 30 per cent of the world’s uranium reserves but produces only 10 per cent of global production, making us the world’s third-largest exporter behind Kazakhstan and Canada.
The authors argue that, under the right policy settings, Australia’s could bring its share of global supply closer to 30 per cent.
That would grow the local industry from an estimated 3000 direct and indirect jobs and $600 million per annum in value to more than 20,000 jobs and $9.5 billion in value by 2040.
The authors said for that to happen the country needed policy reform to make it a more attractive uranium investment destination and a more competitive supplier.
“State and federal regulation need to be harmonised and simplified to ensure that uranium production and supply decisions are commercial decisions and not quasi-political decisions,” the authors write.
“Ensuring that the Australian uranium regulatory environment is world’s best practice and a commitment to grow Australia’s share of the global market to at least 30 per cent will maximise the value of the country’s uranium resource endowment to the Australian people.
“Having Australia play a larger role in the global nuclear economy will see greater economic benefit to both Australia and its trading partners.”
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