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Tuesday, 1 May 1984
Page: 1451

(Question No. 750)

Senator Kilgariff asked the Minister for Resources and Energy, upon notice, on 28 March 1984:

(1) Could the low cost uranium producers in the Northern Territory threaten the economic viability of the Roxby Downs project.

(2) Does the Minister for Resources and Energy consider that the Commonwealth Government decision to restrict Territory producers is intended in part to protect a less efficient operation at Roxby Downs.

(3) How does this attitude accord with statements by the Prime Minister regarding the need for structural change to promote efficiency.

Senator Walsh —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) The Government believes that in the short to medium term the market for uranium is likely to remain depressed, and thus the two existing mines, plus the Olympic Dam project will be able to fill the space which is likely to be available in the world market for Australian uranium. The total value of mine production, the total employment generated, and the overall boost to the nation' s economic activity arising from the Olympic Dam project would be very much greater than these would be from any alternative mine producing a similar amount of uranium.

(2) No. The reasons why the Olympic Dam project was granted approval were explained in (1).

(3) See (1).