Home' InDaily : September 18th 2009 Contents September 18 - 24, 2009
Toro Energy plans to start produc-
ing uranium from its Wiluna project
by 2012, after raising more than $40
million from investors.
The uranium explorer this week
said proceeds from a recent capital
raising would be enough to fund all
approvals and complete a bankable
feasibility study by 2011 for the
project in Western Australia.
Wiluna has an inferred resource
of 19.8 million pounds. OZ Minerals,
which has a 49.9 per cent stake
in Toro, said it would spend $19.9
million to maintain its shareholding
in the company.
The shares, costing 15c each, were
at a discount to Toro s opening price
on Tuesday of 19.5c.
Toro said it would soon announce
details of a proposed share purchase
plan to give eligible shareholders
the chance to subscribe for up to
$5000 worth of new Toro ordinary
shares at the same price.
Toro managing director Greg
Hall said the success of the capital
raising was a vote of confidence
in the company s plans to develop
a near-term Australian uranium
mining and project development
"To have a further expression
of support from our major share-
holder, OZ Minerals, also reflects
the underlying potential within
the portfolio of uranium assets
assembled to date," Mr Hall said.
"We may look to add to that as we
move our flagship projects towards
production," he said.
As well as the Wiluna project,
Toro is developing the Napperby
uranium project northwest of Alice
Springs, and exploring for uranium
in South Australia and Namibia,
Africa. Shares in Toro Energy fell
3.5c to 20c on Tuesday.
Investment and production in
the coal industry are galloping
towards record highs, in stark
contrast to moves in Australia s
biggest export market to shift
towards cleaner fuels.
As Japan -- which buys nearly half
of Australia s coal exports -- pledges
heavy cuts to its greenhouse gas
emissions, a coal investment boom
is driving domestic production to
Over the next five years,
Australia s total coal production is
set to bulge by 30 per cent to a record
450 million tonnes a year, compared
with 350 million tonnes produced
now, according to the energy
consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Analysis of the 120 mines in
operation and 13 set to come on
line by 2015 shows $23 billion will
be invested in the sector over this
period, Wood Mackenzie said.
Meanwhile, the incoming govern-
ment of Japan has joined other
developed countries by promising to
slash its carbon emissions to 25 per
cent of 1990 levels by 2020.
Analysts say this could trigger
a shift in Japan away from coal
in favour of cleaner fuels, though
the target is not yet enshrined in
"On the face of it, it definitely
means less demand for coal,"
Westpac senior economist Justin
Smirk said. "You will see a shift at
the margins away from coal towards
gas and nuclear, but other than that
it s pretty hard to put firm estimates
around it until we know more about
the policies and how they are going
to be implemented."
Coal is Australia s most valuable
export, worth $54.6 billion last
financial year. Japan bought 45 per
cent of the country s coal in the 2008
calendar year, with about 55 per cent
of it thermal coal burned in power
stations and the remainder used in
In 2004, the Australian Bureau
of Agricultural and Resource
Economics said total coal imports
to Japan would fall by as much
as a quarter if the country set an
emissions target, though Korea and
Taiwan would pick up some of the
slack. Coal projects that are under
construction or have been signed off
were worth a record $10.4 billion in
April, ABARE figures show, and a
further $12 billion was set aside for
less certain projects.
Miners deny demand will fall
because of Japan s greenhouse gas
cuts. A spokesman for the Minerals
Council of Australia pointed to
figures showing Japan planned to
add 2940mW of coal-fired power
plants between now and 2016.
"As far as Japan s concerned,
there s going to be strong growth in
their energy requirements and coal-
fired power will meet a considerable
portion of their demand, the
India is seen as a growing market
after its officials this month visited
Australia in search of thermal coal
Some analysts also view China
as a growing thermal coal market
despite its extensive reserves.
A spokesman for the Minister
for Resources and Energy, Martin
Ferguson, said cuts to emissions
would encourage clean energy
technology rather than lower coal
South Australian miner Terramin
Australia Ltd says it will explore
several mines dating back to the
mid-19th century to boost its
production of gold and base metals.
Terramin executive chairman
Kevin Moriarty said the region near
the company s Angas mine, south
of Adelaide, was grossly under-
explored despite being Australia s
first mining belt.
"The Angas mine shows the
outstanding potential in a region
that has been neglected for a
century," Dr Moriarty said.
The company has conducted
surface exploration in the Fleurieu-
Kanmantoo belt and found a
number of sites where immediate
drill testing is warranted.
These sites include the
Preamimma mine, which was
mined from 1854 and the Lady Jane
Mine, which was active from 1866.
"Bob Singer, our chief
geologist, said that the old mines
he has looked at in the Fleurieu-
Kanmantoo belt would have been
drilled intensively if they were in
Western Australia," Dr Moriarty
"However, these old mines have
not been drill tested despite high
grades and the cessation of previ-
ous mining activities at shallow
Terramin is also looking for new
shoots on the Angas mine lease to
expand resources, he said.
Demand for coal soars
19-century mines Toro set to start production
Toro managing director Greg Hall.
Demand for coal is still high .
Photo: Glenn Campbell
You will see a shift
at the margins away
from coal towards gas
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