Report: uranium could provide $9.5 billion in economic benefits to Australia
Deteriorating and left for dead, Australia’s mining sector has seen better days. The ripple effect from China’s economic slowdown, in combination with declining commodity prices, has shoved the mining industry into a significant downturn, forcing companies to cut staff, costs or close shop. That could be changing, according to a new report.
A study, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), revealed that under high-growth scenarios for local uranium production and nuclear power in a carbon-constrained world, the economic benefit from the industry could swell to $9.5 billion.
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MCA’s Executive Director for uranium, Daniel Zavattiero, said Australian uranium could fuel as much as five percent of the world’s electricity generation capacity: “This would be an outstanding contribution to global low-emissions electricity generation,’’ Zavattiero said.
“Australia’s uranium industry holds enormous opportunity for jobs and export revenue growth as governments around the world continue to adopt policies to deal with climate constraints.’’
The report, Realizing Australia’s Uranium Potential, examines the reasoning why Australia only supplies 10 percent of the global market for the nuclear fuel, despite owning 30 percent of the world’s economic resources. It reveals the Australian uranium industry could enjoy a job and export growth boom given the right policy settings.
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The report outlines three priority reforms required to make Australia a more attractive uranium investment destination: removing exploration and mining bans in those states where the bans exist; removing the federal government from the current dual state/federal environmental assessment process; and increasing the number of ports through which uranium can be exported.
As the third-largest supplier behind Kazakhstan and Canada, Australia is in a position to control its share of global production.
“With vision, policy reform and state and federal commitments to increase competitiveness and investment attractiveness, Australia could target a share of global production closer to its resource endowment,’’ Zavattiero said.
The report comes as uranium prices recovered from their post-Fukushima lows in the 2015 financial year to approximately $37.75 a pound.
(Source: The Australian)
DRC selects Fortescue to develop giant hydro project
Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC's) government said on Tuesday Fortescue Metals Group would develop the Grand Inga hydroelectric power project, including a 4,800-megawatt dam that has already been committed to Chinese and Spanish developers.
Fortescue to develop dams for world's largest hydroelectric project
Australia's Fortescue confirmed it was in talks with Congo to develop a series of dams that could become the world's largest hydroelectric project, but it said no formal binding agreement had been concluded.
Fortescue's involvement is the latest twist in Congo's decades-long quest to expand Inga, whose two existing dams - completed in 1972 and 1982 - have a combined installed capacity of nearly 1,800 MW.
The proposed expansion of six more dams would bring capacity to over 40,000 MW, roughly double the size of China's Three Gorges dam, currently the world's largest. Total development costs have been estimated at up to $80bn.
In 2018, a Chinese consortium that includes China Three Gorges Corporation and a Spanish consortium that includes AEE Power signed a deal with Congo's government to develop the third dam, known as Inga 3.
Ground has yet to be broken on Inga 3 because of questions over its financial viability. Alexy Kayembe De Bampende, President Felix Tshisekedi's top infrastructure advisor, said the project would now be led by Fortescue.
"Fortescue will be the sole operator for the entire Grand Inga (3 to 8). Chinese & co are welcome to join Fortescue," he told Reuters."There has been discussion between Chinese (Three Gorges) & AEE and (Fortescue) since last year to work together."
Three Gorges and AEE Power did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
DRC's Grand Inga green energy project will create hundreds of thousands of jobs
In a memorandum of understanding signed between Fortescue and Congo in September 2020, Fortescue "acknowledges the existing potential rights held on Inga 3 by third parties".
"In the event that, for any reason, such rights to develop Inga 3 become available, the government of the DRC undertakes to secure for Fortescue Future Industries an exclusive first option to develop Inga 3," it said.
A senior official at the government's Agency for the Development and Promotion of Grand Inga (ADPI), speaking on condition of anonymity, said the ADPI had not been involved in the talks with Fortescue.
Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest met Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Sunday to discuss the project. Forrest said Fortescue would use the energy from Inga to produce hydrogen to export around the world.
"The capital cost of this will be many many tens of billions of dollars and direct and indirect employment will be in the hundreds of thousands," he told reporters.
Fortescue has said it plans to fund the majority of its green energy projects off its balance sheet, investing about $1bn a year of its own money.
Fortescue's statement was made in response to an article in the Australian Financial Review.
Meanwhile, Fortescue has teamed up with Hatch, Anglo American and BHP, to form a Green Hydrogen Consortium focused on ways of using green hydrogen to accelerate decarbonisation within their operations globally.