A GLOBALLY weak uranium mining price had led to a development freeze from Valhalla's exploration company, but they insist the long-term outlook remain positive.
Paladin Energy, the company which is exploring uranium at the Valhalla deposit 40 kilometres North West of Mount Isa, recorded recent losses and frozen development due to the weak uranium price.
In a statement, Paladin Energy said it would require a sustainable uranium price, at or above $81.78 Australian dollars per pound to warrant any further expansion or new mine development.
The current uranium price is $41.75 Australian dollars per pound.
Uranium miner Energy Resources of Australia expects to post a full-year loss of between $135 million and $155 million this year, blaming difficult market conditions for the cuts.
The company confirmed on Monday it would soon finish mining in Pit 3 at the Northern Territory's Ranger mine, the world's second-largest uranium mine, before a 30 million tonne backfill is completed.
Western Australia's first uranium mine is two steps away from being a reality but a market analyst has said a significant or sustained drop in uranium price could see the project marked uneconomical.
Paladin Energy chief executive John Borshoff predicted the uranium price would plateau in the short term before picking up in the mid term.
Mount Isa Mayor Tony McGrady said in his own opinion the company would maintain a strong interest in North West sites despite a dismal market climate.
"Valhalla is an international company with interests right around the world and in my view I think Valhalla will take advantage of the deposits around Mount Isa," he said.
"As with all resource industries whether it be gold or uranium or copper, prices fluctuate and the uranium demand around the world will still stay strong, the same as copper."
Cr McGrady said after such a long discussion and argument from companies to overturn the uranium mining ban, he personally was confident the operation schedule would remain the same.
"The mining industry has worked long and hard to change the legislation so I would think they would be eager to start work," he said.
The long-term outlook may not be so bleak with an independent investment researcher claiming there is promise.
Senior independent researcher Claire Aitchison said uranium demand was supported by 63 new reactors under construction, 18 reactors undergoing power capacity upgrades and the anticipation of more Japanese reactors coming back online following the Fukushima incident.
However she warned another disaster on the scale of Fukushima could have a significant impact on the nuclear industry.
Currently, the Valhalla mine deposit is expected to be operational within three years, and has a life expectancy of 15 years based on the known uranium mining deposit, which could extend with more discoveries.
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