$300 million of taxpayers money on uranium and nothing to show

Media Release: Wednesday 10th February 2016

Today Minister Marmion’s promotion of the uranium industry has revealed the allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars to the marginal and underperforming sector that hopes to deliver little more than 170 jobs.  

CCWA Director Piers Verstegen said, “Minister Marmion has revealed that since lifting the ban on uranium the WA Government has spent over $300 million on subsidising and promoting uranium exploration and development. 

“This is an astonishing case of wasteful spending given that the State budget is in deep deficit, the market outlook for uranium is bleak, very few jobs would be created, and there is continuing strong community opposition to uranium mines.

“The Ministers statement has also revealed that the Wiluna project would only employ 170 workers if the project reaches full production.

“Minister Marmion enthusiastically talks up the Wiluna uranium proposal as the state’s first uranium exporter; however this project is years away from reality and has recently been put on hold by Toro Energy due to an ongoing depressed uranium price.

“By comparison, there are over 2,000 solar workers already in WA according to the Solar Council. There are probably more people employed mowing lawns in WA than the Wiluna uranium project would generate in the unlikely case the mine progresses.

Nuclear Free Campaigner Mia Pepper said, “The Minster has been misinformed on the benefits of uranium mining in addressing climate change. In overseas energy markets, new nuclear reactors are competing for market share with new renewable energy installations. Nuclear power is a dangerous, expensive and unpopular alternative.

“While Minister Marmion spends his time and taxpayers money promoting and subsidising uranium mining and gas fracking  – two of the most polluting and unpopular industries on the planet – the state is missing out on direct investment into securing a renewable energy future worth more in jobs and security with less impact on the environment.” 

Fact File:

  • Since the WA Government lifted the ban on uranium seven years ago there is not a single uranium proposal that has final approval to begin construction of a uranium mine.
  • The Australian uranium growth rate is -2%
  • Australian uranium production has been in decline since 2009
  • More uranium mines have been closed and banned in Australian that have been opened over the last 30 years
  • In 2014-2015 the Australian uranium industry employed just 987 people nationally
  • The uranium price is currently $34.75
  • Nuclear energy contributes 4.4% of the global energy mix
  • Renewable contribute 6% of the global energy mix with a growth rate of 12%
  • There are 62 reactors under construction worldwide - of those 47 are suffering delays.
  • There are 130 reactors globally that have operated for over 30 years - nearing their lifespan - 54 of those reactors have operated beyond their designed life span of 40 years. These reactors will need to be decommissioned - the industry will struggle to maintain status quo.