Australian Uranium Resources and Production in a World ContextBOB CLEARYChief Executive, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd,Ground Floor, 120 Christie Street, St Leonards, Sydney NSW 2065
The aim of the paper is to discuss Australian uranium resources and production from the perspective of ERA, the world's third-largest uranium producer, and one of only three producing uranium mining companies in Australia. ERA is a long-term supplier of uranium concentrates for the nuclear power generation industry overseas, a key part of clean global energy supply. ERA's Ranger plant was designed to produce 3,000t U3Og/yr, with expansion of the plant in the early 90s to a 5,700t U3O8/yr capacity. Australia continues to have the worlds' largest reserves of uranium recoverable at costs of US$40 kg or less, but lags behind Canada in primary production of uranium. This paper discusses some of the reasons for the gap between resources and production, with examples from the company's own experience. Political, social and environmental factors have played a big role in the development of the uranium industry - ERA has been in the forefront of these issues as it pursues sustainable development practices.