HOME TO WORLDS BIGGEST URANIUM PROSPECTS
Australia's reputation as the world's richest uranium prospect has been confirmed with the CSIRO upping the nation's resource by more than a third.
The nation's chief geoscientific body this week announced that Australia's uranium resources had increased from 714,000 tonnes to 953,000 tonnes in the year to August. And the report concluded that if areas deemed inaccessible - such as remote Queensland and Western Australia - and inferred resources are factored into the calculation the amount balloons from 1.22 million to 1.53 million tonnes.
According to a report from the CSIRO'S Geoscience Australia, mineable uranium resources increased 33.5 per cent in the eight months to August.
" At the end of 2006, Australia's reasonably assured resources recoverable at costs of less than US$40/ KG were estimated to be 709,000 tonnes, which represents 36 per cent of the world resources in this category," the GA report says.
Australia also had an additional 502,000 tonnes in inferred resources that are able to be recoverable for less than US$80/KG, which it says " is the world's largest resources in this category"
" These inferred resources are mainly in the south eastern part of the Olympic Dam deposits. where current drilling is defining large tonnages of additional resources," the report states.
Olympic Dam is a jewel in BHP's crown - worth more than $6 billion. GA and Olympic Dam alone contained almost 18 per cent of the world's total uranium resources recoverable at less than $US80.00 per kg. "Other countries with large resources include Kazakhstan with 14 per cent , Canada with 13 per cent, Niger with 7 per cent and South Africa with 7 per cent," it says.
Australian mineral exploration spending in 2006 rose by 29 per cent to a record $1463.9 million. "While gold remained the predominant target in calender year 2006 its share of total spending fell again to 29 per cent," the report states. " Gold exploration spending totalled $429.8 million in the year, an increase of almost $45 million."
Base metals also enjoyed strong growth, investment rising by $105.7 million to $426.1 million. " The growth in base metals was driven by substantial increases in zinc-lead-silver exploration which more than doubled to $100.7 million and copper which rose by 68 per cent to $177.5 million," according to the report.