Uranium

  • Australia is the third largest producer of uranium; all of our production is exported.
  • Australia has three producing uranium operations: Ranger in the Northern Territory, Olympic Dam and Four Mile in South Australia.
  • Olympic Dam is the largest known uranium orebody and fourth largest producing uranium mine in the world. Olympic Dam also produces copper, gold and silver.

Uranium is used as a nuclear reactor fuel to generate low emissions energy. It is a high energy density fuel source—the amount of energy produced relative to its weight is very high.

Uranium is also used in medical and research facilities. There are more than 200 civil research reactors operating around the world. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) operates Australia’s only research reactor at its Lucas Heights facility in southern Sydney.

Australia is the world’s third largest uranium producer and home to the world’s largest uranium deposit at Olympic Dam.

Uranium is a controlled ore and cannot be exported without a permission.

Australian uranium can only be sold to countries that have a nuclear cooperation agreement with Australia to ensure those countries are committed to peaceful uses of nuclear energy. They must also have safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Resources Minister (or their delegate/authorised officer) grants permission to export uranium and other controlled materials. The Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office (ASNO) issues permissions for the possession and transport of nuclear material, and undertakes activities to account for Australia’s nuclear material.

Ranger

The Commonwealth of Australia owns the uranium mined in the Northern Territory.

The Ranger uranium mine operates under an authority issued under the Atomic Energy Act 1953. The Australian Government’s environment protection conditions and rehabilitation objectives for Ranger are set out in the Environmental Requirements attached to the authority. The rehabilitation objectives require that the Ranger Project Area be returned to a state which would allow it to be incorporated into the adjacent Kakadu National Park.

Under the existing institutional arrangements, the department collects and reconciles uranium royalties from the Ranger Project Area on behalf of the Northern Territory and Aboriginals Benefit Account.

Rum Jungle

The Australian and Northern Territory Governments have entered into a new Project Agreement to develop a rehabilitation plan for the former Rum Jungle mine site.

The Project Agreement is the latest in a long standing partnership between the Australian and Northern Territory Governments. This stage of the project will focus on:

  • investigations and trials to finalise the rehabilitation strategy
  • repair works at Rum Jungle Creek South
  • stakeholder engagement, especially with the site’s traditional Aboriginal owners.

Further details are available through the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources project webpage.

Related documents

Related Pages

More information

Contact

For more information please contact uranium.industrysection@industry.gov.au.

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