Australia will negotiate a nuclear safeguards agreement with the United Arab Emirates to pave the way for uranium sales.

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the UAE is planning to begin using nuclear power for electricity by 2017.

A new planning framework to guide development in the Pilbara has been released in response to many of the opportunities and challenges facing the region.

The new premises of specialist steel fabricator, Modular Engineering, has been launched at the Australia Marine Complex (AMC) in Henderson.

Xstata plans to more than double output of zinc-lead concentrates from its McArthur River mine in the Northern Territory and upgrade three smelters worldwide, in a bid to extend the life of the isolated mine.

Two miners have been awarded top honours at the 2011 Queensland Resources Council Resources Awards for Women.

The expansion of the natural gas network to regional communities across Victoria is a step closer as the government progresses the delivery of its $100 million Energy for the Regions program.

WA energy minister Peter Collier has launched the latest initiative in planning for the State’s future energy needs.

The Wallarah 2 coal mine has been rejected by the NSW Department of Planning.

Latest coal export data confirm that the Queensland industry is operating at around two-thirds of its capacity compared with 12 months ago.

Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Michael Roche said that in February 2011, Queensland exported 8 million tonnes of coal compared with 12 million tonnes in February 2010.

‘This is only one month’s worth of exports, but the numbers are consistent with company reports and the QRC’s own estimates of a 30 million tonne downturn in coal production in 2010-11 caused by wet season floods,’ Mr Roche said.

‘Three out of four coal mines are still working to remove water from their properties under special environmental discharge approvals from the state government.

‘These special discharge approvals are of limited benefit without the right rainfall pattern, and there is now growing concern over the outlook for continuing rain in the coal regions and possible formation of another tropical cyclone.

‘What can be pumped off a site can be replaced just as quickly by such rainfall, and your flooded coal pit is then right back to square one of the business recovery phase.’

Mr Roche said it was pleasing to note that Queensland’s new Minister for Employment, Skills and Mining, Stirling Hinchliffe, had wasted no time in personally inspecting some of the Bowen Basin’s flood-affected mines.

The QRC and independent consultants have forecast coal production losses of at least $5 billion this financial year, with resulting lost royalties of $400 million.

The Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) is undertaking a review of the tenure framework that regulates exploration for, and development of, Queensland’s coal seam gas (CSG) and coal resources.

A $1.3 billion dredging project will see Gladstone Port become one of the world’s major Liquid Natural Gas exporter.

WA Premier Colin Barnett has confirmed an extension to the deadline for a final decision on the future of the Oakajee Port and Rail project (OPR), after considerable deliberation.

The proposed Byerwen coal mine in Queensland has been declared a “significant project” by the Queensland Coordinator-General, paving the way for the developers JFE Steel and QCoal to start the Environmental Impact Statement.

Mining royalties have continued to strengthen Western Australia’s economy, with the government sector recording a $1.1 billion surplus for the first half of the financial year.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) is predicting a positive outlook for the global steel industry in 2010-11, which will drive iron ore and metallurgical coal exports up to $35.1 billion and $30.5 billion respectively.

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