Published on Tuesday March 12 2013 (AEST)
The WA uranium industry has welcomed the re-election of Colin Barnett's Liberal Party, saying the results ended months of nervousness over Mark McGowan and Labor's commitment to stop any new uranium mines in the State.
In what was in many ways a forgotten element of the Saturday's State election, the Liberals' re-election ensures the viability of WA's fledgling uranium sector as a number of projects push towards development. There are no operating uranium mines in WA and proponents continue to face substantial headwinds, not least from a weak uranium price.
The spot price for the nuclear fuel is at $US42 a pound levels, having failed to recover since being devastated by Japan's Fukushima disaster two years ago. Toro Energy's Wiluna project - the most advanced in the State - would have survived Saturday's election after receiving government approval in October. Toro managing director Vanessa Guthrie said although her company's project was safe, there was a general sense of nervousness among investors regarding the WA election. Dr Guthrie said the re-election of the Barnett Government provided a sense of reassurance in an already testing market.
"It gives predictability and more certainty for projects that are in the pipeline and coming after Wiluna," Dr Guthrie said. "You've always got to look at the future markets. And as Cameco and Paladin (Energy) have said the uranium price doesn't meet the incentives for new production. So this signal to the international market - that WA is ready and open for business - is very significant." Toro is awaiting a decision on the Wiluna project from Federal Environment Minster Tony Burke, due by the end of this month.
The sentiment surrounding Mr Barnett's victory was echoed by the Australian Uranium Association. Chief executive Michael Angwin said uranium companies could now get on with the business of developing their projects.