Australia’s uranium production will double in the next five years, according to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE). The organization predicts the country will produce and export 12 000 t by 2003/4, up from 5,800 t during the 1997/98 financial year. The real value of uranium exports will increase from $185 million to $335 million over the same period.

However, ABARE warned that global consumption of uranium is likely to grow slowly, a reflection of restricted growth in the power industry and limitations on nuclear development, particularly in the west. Global growth is put at around 0.5 per cent per annum over the medium term.

According to the chief executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, George Savell, Australia provided 15 per cent of the world’s uranium in 1996. However, there is political opposition to the Australian mining industry. Savell advised the industry to counter this opposition with strict self-regulation and open admission of mistakes.