Friday, 21 December 2012 09:07
Uranium hopeful Toro Energy has said the decision by the Federal Government to delay its environmental assessment of the company’s Wiluna Uranium Project in Western Australia will not impact the project’s proposed schedule, which expects first uranium sales in 2015.
Toro was advised on 18 December by the Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that the department wanted more information on specific aspects of the project before it gave its decision, which has now been extended to 31 March 2013.
The company said it has written to the minister to seek a meeting with his department in the New Year to discuss the information requirements needed to get the project approved, with Toro confident it could respond to the issues raised by the minister promptly.
“Toro is confident that it can adequately respond to the three issues raised by the minister to allow him to make a decision on the project well before the stated timeframe,” Toro managing director Greg Hall said.
Toro was continuing to engage with potential joint venture partner groups interested in buying into the project and assisting to finance the mine’s construction, in return for a long term uranium offtake arrangement.
The number of groups so far engaged has increased since the Western Australian Government approval for Wiluna on 10 October, with confidentiality agreements in place and data room access granted. However these discussions were still anticipated to take at least until mid year.
Toro still believed that the potential timing of its Wiluna project to production was ideally suited to the global shortfall in uranium supply emerging during 2015-16, as forecast by a growing number of industry analysts.
The establishment of the new independent Japanese nuclear safety authority, and the pro-nuclear Japanese election result, has dramatically increased the likelihood of planned reactor re-starts in the country.
Japan’s new Liberal Democratic Party Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, known to favour idled reactor re-starts to help improve the Japanese economy, still reeling after the 2011 Great East Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
“The increasing confidence in China and Japan demonstrated by the ongoing construction and re-start schedules, as well as the opening of negotiations between Australia and India for future uranium sales means that the Wiluna Uranium Project is well placed as the most advanced uranium project in Australia to help fill the anticipated supply gap,” Mr Hall said.
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