ERA in the box seat, CEO

Energy Resources Australia chief executive Rob Atkinson has told MINING DAILY his company is well positioned for success in the expanding uranium market.

Uranium producer Energy Resources Australia (ERA) is better positioned than emerging companies as the uranium market continues to grow in global importance, the company’s chief executive told MINING DAILY.

“I think a well established mine like ERA is in a box seat, compared to mines being developed,” Rob Atkinson said.

“Given the demand that is across the world for nuclear power there is going to be a time when the (uranium) demand is going to far outstrip the production in the ground.

“I am looking forward to that.”

Atkinson’s comments came after ERA last week announced a record profit in 2009 on the back of higher contract prices.

The Darwin-based company’s net profit of $272.6 million was a 23% increase on its 2008 figures.

But despite what it calls a bright outlook for the global uranium market, ERA said mine expansion and higher maintenance costs are expected to have and adverse impact on earning in the coming year.

“It is going to be a significant (financial) impact,” Atkinson said.

“We have maintenance that most mines do, such as haul truck engines, power stations to retro-fit, as well as other maintenance across the board.”

The company’s planned expansion involves its ongoing commitment to developing the Ranger 3 Deeps uranium deposit and a proposed heap leach facility at its existing Ranger mine.

“Significant amounts of cash which is going to be needed to fund those (projects),” Atkinson said.

“You do have to spend money to make money.”

Production in 2009 saw ERA produce 5,240 tonnes of ore, which was a modest 2% dip from the 5,339 produced in 2008.

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