During the period 1954-71 in Australia approximately 9,000 MT of U3O8 was produced from five separate localities. Of this, 7,000 MTwas exported to the United Kingdom and United States and the balance stockpiled by the Australian Atomic Energy Commission (AAEC).
Australia’s uranium ore reserves occur in eight deposits in three states and the Northern Territory. However, 83% of Australia’s reserves are contained in four deposits in lower Proterozoic rocks in the East Alligator River region of the Northern Territory.
The AAEC has calculated Australia’s recoverable uranium reserves by eliminating estimated losses during the mining and milling of the ores. AAEC has estimated reasonably assured resources of 289,000 MT of uranium and estimated additional resources of 44,000 MT of uranium at a recovery cost of less than US$80 per kilogram uranium.
The companies have collectively announced a larger ore reserve than the Australian Atomic Energy Commission. This difference is a result of the companies adopting different ore reserve categories.
On August 25, 1977, the federal government announced that Australia would develop its uranium resources subject to stringent environmental controls, recognition of Aboriginal Land Rights, and international safeguards.
Australian uranium production should gradually increase from 1981 onward, growing to 10,000 to 15,000 MT by 1985-86. Further increases in capacity may emerge during the second half of the 1980s when expansion plans are implemented.
Exploration for uranium has not been intensive due to delays in developing the existing deposits. It is likely that present reserves can be substantially upgraded if more exploration is carried out.
Figures & Tables
Energy Resources of the Pacific Region
The energy and mineral resources of the vast Pacific basin and its neighboring land areas play a vital role in meeting the ever-growing needs of society worldwide. Building on the foundation of a highly successful conference held in 1978, this volume contains 51 of the 135 papers presented there. Subjects included are general and specific in nature--oil, gas, and coal resources; geothermal fields, uranium; tin; evaporites, trace elements; water resources; magma energy and fuels from magma. Geological and geophysical techniques, and also the new tool of remote sending for petroleum and minerals exploration are represented. Tectonics, structure fundamentals, subsurface hazards, international treaties and the law of the deep sea are discussed. Seventeen countries and regions are represented in these papers: Thailand, Nicaragua, the United States, Japan, Peru, Antarctica, El Salvador, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, New Zealand, China, Chile, Indonesia, Canada, and the Pacific Ocean.