October 29, 2009

Toro slams Queensland Government Over Uranium Mining Ban

TORO Energy has attacked the Queensland Government for its continued rejection of uranium mining in the sunshine state.

Managing director Greg Hall told the Brisbane Mining Conference today that the government’s list of reasons for continuing its ban on uranium mining didn’t stand up.

The Queensland Labor government has continually said it has no plans to lift its ban on uranium mining.

“There have been multiple reasons why the Queensland Government has decided that uranium mining is not suitable for this state,” he said.

“It started sometime ago, with the government saying that it didn’t want competition for coal and there was an expensive report done that proved that uranium was not competition for coal."

Mr Hall added that another concern was competition for funds during the global financial crisis, which he said had not been an issue as many uranium companies had recently raised capital.

“The people of Queensland have to rethink why is the government against uranium mining?” he said.

“Is it a throw back to old 1970s rhetoric or is it something that is genuinely there.”

Western Australia is now full steam ahead with uranium activity after Premier Colin Barnett’s Liberal party lifted the ban on mining the yellowcake last year.

South Australia, with BHP's massive Olympic Dam mine and the Northern Territory, with ERA's Ranger mine, are both pro-uranium states. Victoria and NSW have blanket bans on both exploring and mining uranium.

Geological survey of Western Australia executive director Tim Griffin said the industry got excited when Barnett won government and lifted the uranium ban.

“There is a lot of new work going on in Western Australia on the exploration side, but more particularly, in trying to get a mine up and running in the next fours years and the industry is confident it can do that,” he said.

“The government is definitely supporting that target and focussed on trying to make the changes to allow that to happen.”


Paladin Lowers Production Guidance

Paladin Energy has lowered its production guidance for 2009/10 as the ramp up of its two uranium mines in Namibia and Malawi was slower than anticipated.

In its production report released today, the miner said production reached 744,188 pounds of uranium in the September quarter for both the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia and the Kayelekera operation in Malawi.

Despite the slight production increase on the previous quarter (727,716lbs), Paladin said both mines, separately, had not achieved production targets.

For Langer Heinrich, a number of interruptions from the Stage 2 expansion operation caused production to be lower than the previous quarter at 654,516lbs of uranium oxide.

Sales from Langer Heinrich reached $US38.8 million from the sale of 703,000lbs of uranium oxide at $US54.48 for each pound.

A slower than expected ramp-up in July and August hampered production at Kayelekera, which produced 89,672lbs for the quarter.

Paladin said the September month production results improved, and the upward trend should continue towards the anticipated nameplate production rates in the March 2010 quarter.

Paladin is aiming for a throughput rate of between 2.2mlbs and 2.6mlbs for Kayelekera.

"Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera continued ramp-up activities during the quarter and, although ramp up was slower than anticipated, results continue to trend positively," Paladin said.

"Overall, considerable progress has been made towards removing identified production bottlenecks and achieving nameplate production levels as evidenced by the recent Langer Heinrich production figures.

"Previous guidance forecasting annual production rates for Paladin had been based on a faster ramp up of production than has been realised to date.

"Significant progress has been made during the quarter and management is confident the main delays have been absorbed into this period."

Paladin added that as Kayelekera is a new mine, production is more difficult to forecast.

As a result of the slower than anticipated ramp-up, Paladin has forecast a production range of 5.6mlbs to 6.1mlbs, down from the previous guidance of 6.6mlbs.

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