Australian state Queensland is soliciting investments from Indian corporates for mining uranium and coal to enhance economic ties between the two sides.
Few Indian private sector players have expressed interest in taking mining licences in Queensland, which have one of the largest coal and uranium reserves in the world, Queensland Trade and Investment Commissioner (South Asia) Parag Shirname told reporters here.
He said that uranium mining in Queensland was banned for the last 25 years due to issues related with environment. However, the sector was opened recently in July after putting in place strict regulatory and environmental framework for mining, transportation and packaging of the yellow cake.
“This is the right time to explore (business opportunities in Queensland). We are open for businesses. We have opened up uranium mining. Regulatory frame work has been put in place. Couple of groups (Indian companies) have expressed interest in uranium mining,” he said.
Queensland has a significant uranium potential estimated at 165.95 million tonnes. Energy-starved India is looking to nuclear power to supplement its existing options to fuel economic growth. India has already concluded civil nuclear cooperation agreements with countries like Argentina and Kazakhstan.
“Uranium mining is on the table again in the Australian state of Queensland. It has re-opened its uranium industry for mining development applications. It has also invested heavily in new geophysical data, catchment baseline geochemistry and geologic and mineral mapping to support greenfield explorations,” Shirname said.
India and Australia are expected to have deliberations on uranium during the G-20 Finance Ministers meeting next month as well as Summit to be held in November, he added.
Shirname said his office would facilitate Indian companies in getting faster clearances.
He added that lot of Australian companies have expertise in mining activities and Indian firms can join hands with them for coal and uranium mining.
He said that Indian firms can also get coal mines which is abundantly available in the Australian state.
When asked about the Supreme Court’s judgement on coal mines, Shirname said enquiries about coal mines have witnessed a spurt. However, whether this would turn into exact deal is yet to be seen.
Queensland is also rich in resources including thermal and coking coal.
Further he said the Australian state can provide modern technologies to enhance agri production as both the regions have similar climatic conditions.
In 2012-13, Queensland exported 264 million Australian dollar worth of food and live stock to India.
The Economic Times