We are ready for exports to India, says NSW Minister Christopher Peter Hartcher

Taking a step closer to exporting uranium to India, New South Wales Minister for Resources and Energy and Central Coast Christopher Peter Hartcher announced on Friday that both New South Wales and Queensland State governments in Australia had changed their laws which prohibited mining and sale of uranium.

Talking to a team of South Asian journalists here, Mr. Hartcher said the decision to sell uranium to India was a significant step.

The previous law did not allow mining or sale of uranium. However, after the Federal government's decision to allow the sale of uranium to India, New South Wales and Queensland had amended their laws to allow exploration and subsequently its exports.

“NSW has huge sources of uranium, which is nearly 40 per cent of the world's reserves, and once it is developed in the next five to ten years, Australia will become the second biggest exporter of uranium in the world, beating Kazakistan and Canada. We are ready for exports to India with which we share a very special relationship. We also respect India's decision on not signing the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Keeping in mind the high standing of India in the global scheme of things, we decided to withdraw our objections and allow exports,” he remarked.

He said Indian companies, including the public sector Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), had shown interest in buying coking coal and iron ore from NSW. His state had around 12 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves and it was in the early stage of developing mines.

“Western Australia is primarily catering to the requirements of China and Japan. We see India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as important countries for our resources. We have thermal coal, gas and coking coal in abundance in NSW and Queensland. We want Indian companies to come and invest and fulfil their need for the raw material back home.”

Asked if the cost of exports and the price for consumers in Australia would go up after the imposition of Carbon Tax from July 1, Mr. Hartcher said the cost of electricity and related commodities would certainly go up in cities like Sydney. NSW was reviewing its regulatory and planning processes to ensure that development of resources do not face undue obstacles or uncertainty.

He said New South Wales would soon open a new office called ‘Investment Section for Resources' in New Delhi which would coordinate the activities for investments in resources and minerals sectors in the South Asian region.

Another office of a similar nature had been opened in Shanghai already. “It is time for Indian companies to firm up their investment plans for NSW. It has not been locked up for investments as yet like the Western Australian region.

“It is a huge opportunity for a country which is growing at a fast pace and needs resources for its energy requirements to keep pace with a growing economy and massive population.”

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