What uranium slump? 16 firms line up 39 bids in NSW after ban lifted

The Sydney Morning Herald reports 16 mining companies have submitted 39 applications to conduct uranium exploration activities in New South Wales following the government's repeal of a 26-year-old ban.

Companies interested in uranium mining in NSW include North Mining, Iluka Resources, Callabonna Resources, Broken Hill Prospecting and the south-eastern Australian state's Aboriginal Land Council, which submitted two bids.

NSW Energy and Resources Minister Chris Hartcher said "it is time for NSW to look at every opportunity to join the mining boom."

The high levels of interest come despite a slump in the price of the nuclear fuel. Spot uranium prices have been drifting towards the $40 per pound level this year – well below the $66.50 prior to Fukushima and down from historic high levels above $130 in 2007.

Last year nuclear power consumption declined 4.3%, the largest drop-off on record, said BP in its annual study of global energy use. Japan cut back nuclear power by 44.3%, and Germany reduced nuclear consumption by 23.2%.