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The AusIMM International Uranium Conference 2011
The sixth annual International Uranium Conference of The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (The AusIMM) continued what we believe to be the standout technical uranium conference in Australia, if not the world. For the first time the event was held in Perth which followed on from the past successful venues alternating with Adelaide and Darwin.
While the forecasted growth in uranium activity in Australia and the rest of the world continues to expand, there is increasing acceptance across Australia for nuclear energy, and uranium mining in particular. However, since the past conference there have been new challenges associated with the natural disasters that presented in Japan and the resulting accident at the Fukushima nuclear facilities. Having said this, the world’s dependence on clean base load energy and the importance of communicating in a balanced and scientific way, are the overwhelming positives of the sector to the public and these have never been more important.
The event continued its trademark strong attendance with 309 delegates, including a very high percentage of repeat delegates. This year’s event was held at the Pan Pacific Hotel which was a beautiful and convenient venue located in the heart Perth’s CBD. The ongoing strength of attendance numbers reflects the continued interest in the uranium industry and the need for a forum for continued technical exchanges and learning’s. The conference program included 60 papers and keynote speakers, a tour of Toro Energy’s Wiluna project site which is under development, a tour of ALS AMMTEC’s World class uranium facilities, a happy hour, conference dinner, three workshops and a Public Forum.
The Public Forum was the forth event of its kind, this year co-hosted by the Australian Uranium Association (AUA). The Public Forum was a free event that took place on the evening prior to the conference and was chaired by Michael Catchpole, CEO of the AusIMM. The Public Forum was attended by 67 people with more than half representing community groups. The forum gave conference delegates and members of the community a chance to engage in robust discussions with a panel of leading uranium industry experts about the development of one of our leading industries.
The official opening of the conference was conducted by Richard Sellers, Director General, Department of Mines and Petroleum for Western Australia. Richard has been a long-time supporter of the uranium sector as he also held a similar role with the Northern Territory and also brought his extensive experience from the Northern Territory with the Ranger Uranium mine when he joined the Western Australian Department in 2008. His ongoing support and leadership with uranium development in Western Australia has been greatly appreciated.
Keynote addresses were made by Michael Angwin, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Uranium Association who presented on “Uranium Development After Fukushima”; Dr. Robert Floyd, Director General, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office who presented on “Australia’s Uranium Exports Policy” and Associate Professor Haydon Manning, Head of the Department of Politics and Public Policy, Flinders University who spoke on the “Politics of Uranium Mining in Australia”.
We were also delighted to have The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP, Minister for Resources Energy and Tourism, provided a keynote address on the second day of the conference. The Minister’s spoke on the “Federal Government’s Perspective on Uranium”. The Minister has been a long term supporter of the industry and has played a critical role in this regard to the future development of this sector and his address was insightful and highly encouraging look toward the future.
In addition to the keynotes speakers, 60 additional technical papers were presented, within two session streams to allow time for all. Sessions were grouped in the following categories: Geology, Exploration and Reporting; Health Safety and Environment Best Practice; Processing Technologies and Mining, Milling and Transport. The presentations and diversity of technical subject matter covered was outstanding and reflected further maturity and evolution from year over year.
A very special thanks to the Principal Sponsor: ALS Ammtec (who have been the principal sponsor for 2 years running) and to the Major Sponsor: Alliance Resources. Further thanks to the Dinner sponsor: UXA Resources Limited, Happy Hour Sponsor: Tetra Tech, Technical Session Sponsors: Areva; Energy and Minerals Australia; Urane NL, Conference Supporters: Hatch Associates; Mega Uranium, Note Pads and Pens Sponsor: CSA Global and Lanyard Sponsor: ANSTO Minerals.
In addition I would like to give a huge recognition to our 24 exhibitors and those that provided for the tours and workshops.
Also huge thanks to the Organising Committee and The AusIMM, without their team efforts, the Conference would never have happened, nor been such a success.
With the continued success of this annual Conference it was decided that the continued need and interest has resulted in us holding a 7th International Conference next year in Adelaide. I am certain that 2012 will continue to bring a number of further exciting uranium developments in both Australia and the world, which the delegates will be very keen to share and discuss.
We look forward to seeing you all again.
Mark S Chalmers - Conference Chair
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