By Paula Doran
The dormant Honeymoon uranium mine just across the South Australian border will go into production again, after vital project approval from the South Australian Government, and a rise in global demand has renewed interest in the sector.
The mine has been mothballed for nine years, but owner Boss Energy estimates it will be back in business in 2023, with geopolitical turmoil and impetus to cut carbon emissions pushing the price of uranium to a 10 year high.
Those conditions have meant viability is strong and an updated feasibility study on the project expects an 11-year mine-life at the site, 80 kilometres north-west of Broken Hill.
The relative ease of restarting a dormant mine, rather than starting from scratch, have proven advantageous for Boss, which this month announced State Government approval for its updated Program for Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation (PEPR).
Boss has been working closely with the South Australian Government over the past 12 months to ensure they meet key regulatory requirements. The company can now make project improvements to meet the forecast earnings outlined in their feasibility study.
Improvements include expanding the mine footprint and implementing processing plant upgrades.
Boss managing director, Duncan Craib, said the company was well on the path to becoming Australia’s next uranium producer.
“We are making rapid progress on-site, we are fully funded through to production, and the outlook for uranium demand is extremely strong as the world prepares to meet its energy needs and carbon emission targets at the same time.”
Industry expert, and self-described mining ‘elder,’ Professor Ian Plimer said interest in uranium had been steadily rising and was reflected in the current price, spurred on by global unrest in Russia and Ukraine.
“Uranium is a good commodity and it’s a good time to get into the market. Of course it’s always easier if you have the approvals already ready to go and you can avoid the red tape of starting from scratch,” he said.
“The global market demand for uranium prefers that it comes from a politically stable country where there is no risk of terrorism, and in that light Australia is in an ideal position,” Professor Plimer said.
Broken Hill City Council Mayor Tom Kennedy said the revival of Honeymoon and the onflow of economic benefits possible to the Silver City, added to the news last week of the compressed energy project, created further confidence in the future viability of the region.
“These projects give us confidence that we are here for a long time to come,” Cllr Kennedy said.
“We now have to attract people who want to migrate from the cities to fill the roles that will be coming up from these, and other major projects,” he said.
“It gives me a lot of pride to be mayor in such a period of positive growth, but we need to get things right with housing and show people the advantages of living in Broken Hill.”