How nuclear power could ease our reliance on Chinese manufacturing

Australia’s trade relationship with China continues to deteriorate, but investing in nuclear power could reinvigorate the domestic manufacturing industry, an energy industry insider has said.

Australia’s trade relationship with China continues to deteriorate, but investing in nuclear power could reinvigorate the domestic manufacturing industry, an energy industry insider has said.

Marenica Energy Managing Director Murray Hill said the low cost of nuclear power could help grow Australia’s manufacturing sector.

But the country is yet to see those energy cost savings due to current legislation against the use of low emission uranium-based energy.

Speaking on a Stockhead webcast last week, Mr Hill said investing into nuclear power could lower the price of energy by 50%, and these savings should entice manufacturing back to the country.

“We’re seeing this argument now about China putting a little bit of pressure on us,” he said.

“If we could lower the price, have low carbon emissions, and get manufacturing back to Australia, what a wonderful thing to do for the country.

However Australia is the only G20 country where nuclear power generation is banned under federal law, with the only reactor operating in the country – at Lucas Heights in New South Wales – used instead to produce medical isotopes.

Despite this, Mr Hill said he is confident nuclear power will form a part of the country’s energy mix in years to come.

“What we’re seeing is that Labor is generally against uranium mining and Liberal for it,” he said.

“[But] what we’re seeing is the union super funds now coming out and saying ‘we need to revisit nuclear in Australia’,” he added.

Marenica prepares for further exploration

Mr Hill’s comments come fresh off the back of a successful $5.4 million capital raise which sets Marenica Energy up to continue works across its numerous assets both in Australia and Namibia.

In a statement to the ASX, Mr Hill thanked new and old shareholders for their support of the business.

“This capital raising provides Marenica with a very strong funding position to increase exploration activities on its extensive uranium tenement package in Namibia and on activities to add significant value to the Australian uranium assets” he said.

“These activities can be undertaken with the knowledge that the company is fully funded to undertake the proposed activities for at least the next 18 months.

The capital raise rounds out a busy year for the company during which Marenica discovered the Hirabeb uranium project in Namibia, an extensive mineralised palaeochannel longer than the width of the English channel.  

Marenica also completed testwork on its U-pgradeTM beneficiation process at its Angela mine site.  These tests demonstrated the patented process – developed in conjunction with the CSIRO – could reduce acid consumption by 77% (down from 104 kg of acid per tonne of ore, to only 24 kg), suggesting the process has the potential to lower production costs.

Watch the full interview here. 

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