Swedish Government considers lifting ban on uranium mining

The move has been welcomed by Australian miner Aura Energy, which holds a large deposit in Sweden.

Alfie Shaw February 27 2024

The Swedish Government will investigate the feasibility of lifting its ban on uranium mining, which was first put in place in 2018.

Although Sweden has six nuclear power plants that provide around a third of its electricity, it currently does not produce any of its own uranium due to the ban, relying instead on imported nuclear fuel and enrichment services.

The Ministry of Climate and Enterprise will carry out the investigation and determine changes necessary to enable and clarify the conditions for uranium extraction. It will also analyse whether the government’s admissibility review should be limited to cover uranium mining only when it is for nuclear activity.

The enquiry will be finished by 15 May, when the government will make its final decision on the ban.

Sweden’s Climate Minister, Romina Pourmokhtari, said: “If the European Union is to become the first climate-neutral continent, access to sustainable metals and minerals must be ensured. We need to use the uranium we have, instead of sorting it out and considering it as waste, as is the case now – due to the current ban on mining uranium.”

A quarter of Europe’s known uranium resources are found in Sweden’s bedrock, according to the Ministry of Climate and Enterprise. Resuming production could therefore help Europe become more self-sufficient.

Australia-based Aura Energy has expressed enthusiasm for the government’s announcement as it hopes to extract uranium from its Haggan deposit in Sweden. The deposit contains around 800 million pounds of triuranium octoxide (U₃O₈), and Aura said mining this would increase its revenues by 14%. The company predicts the project will have a net present value of between $456m and $1.3bn.

Andrew Grove, CEO of Aura Energy, said: “Global energy demand continues to rise, and the need for carbon-free, reliable baseload electricity generation means that a renaissance for nuclear power is under way globally. This announcement is a logical step by the Swedish Government towards allowing the extraction of uranium domestically to meet its own and others’ needs.”

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