Uranium funds heading offshore

Despite recent significant capital raisings by Australian uranium companies, not all of the money is being spent in the domestic industry.

While a recent spate of capital raisings by Australian uranium companies may be an indication of investor confidence, where the money is being spent shows that the country needs to change its industry laws, Australian Uranium Association executive director Michael Angwin told MINING DAILY.

“The raisings are an indicator of investor confidence in uranium,” he said.

“And also confidence in existing deposits.”

Paladin Energy, Extract Resources and Toro Energy have all completed major capital raisings in the last week, raising $429 million, $40 million and $40.3 million, respectively.

Despite all three companies being operated in Australia, only Toro Energy plans to use the money solely at home, saying it will go towards funding approvals and a feasibility study for its Wiluna Uranium project in Western Australia.

Extract Resource’s new funds are part of a larger plan to raise $91 million in order to accelerate activities at its 100% owned Rossing South project in Namibia, according to the company.

Paladin Energy has said it will use its new ‘war chest’ to further works at its Langer Heinrich uranium mine, also in Namibia.

While they have not named specific projects or areas, Paladin has further indicated that it intends to use parts of its money for expansion into the global uranium market, not necessarily Australia’s.

According to Angwin, reluctance to invest more heavily in the Australian uranium market may be because of conflicting laws between states.

“I think it is timely for Australia to demonstrate that we are fully part of the supply chain of uranium around the world and remove the bans on uranium mining in Queensland, as well as in New South Wales and Victoria,” he said.

By dragging its feet on mining laws, Australia risks losing ground to other uranium suppliers, Angwin said.

“Kazakhstan is now the second largest producer, having displaced Australia,” he said.

“Australia needs to play more of a role in the supply of the world’s uranium.”

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