Launch of New Uranium Exploration Joint Venture in Australia
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), whose president is Mr. Hirobumi Kawano, has launched a new uranium exploration joint venture in the Northern Territory, Australia under the Uranium Exploration Assistance*1 program, with a grant from the Japanese Government.
The Murphy Area, the target area of this Project, is located approximately 1,000km south of Darwin in the Northern Territory*2. Despite now having better access with the recent opening of the transcontinental railroad, this area is known as one of the handful of frontiers for mineral exploration in the country. The partner in this joint exploration program is Bondi Mining Ltd.*3, an Australian exploration company.
1) AREA OF EXPLORATION
The Murphy Area, the target area of this Project consists of 8 mining properties (approximately 8,050km2 ) in the northeastern part of Northern Territory in Australia. It is known that the Ranger mine has been already in operation for uranium in the region, with an annual production of approximately 4,000tU. The Westmoreland uranium deposit (reserves: approx. 20,000t U3O8) lies to the east of the Murphy area just across the Northern Territory border in Queensland. The Murphy area is recognized to be situated on a westward extension of the mineralized belt which hosts the Westmoreland deposit. Based on these factors, we are optimistic about the possibility that the Murphy area may host uranium mineralization
2) JOINT EXPLORATION AGREEMENT
JOGMEC has agreed to fund A$3million in exploration expenditure over 4 years in return for an undivided 51% equity in the Murphy project. The effective date of the joint exploration agreement is December 22, 2008.
3) OUTLINE OF EXPLORATION
The main challenge in this project is to analyze and interpret the geological structure under soil cover at an early stage, since this area is covered by younger geological units. Bondi Mining Ltd. has already carried out an aeromagnetic survey and scout drilling and has produced preliminary interpretations of the geological structure.
As part of this joint venture project, we will continue this approach in order to identify additional uranium mineralization.
Uranium Exploration Assistance*1
The scheme began in 2007 with a grant from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) in order to facilitate uranium exploration and development in overseas jurisdictions. Under the scheme, JOGMEC provides grants to Japanese private companies to carry out uranium exploration. JOGMEC itself also does uranium exploration in areas with uranium deposit potential but where exploration activity is lacking due to technical factors or the investment environment.
Uranium Mine Development in Northern Territory, Australia*2
After the federal government abolished "Three mines uranium policy"(New mine development in Australia was limited only to in these three mines, Ranger, Nabarlek, Olympic Dam ) in 1996, the authorization of Permit for uranium resource development was transferred to the state government. In Northern Territory, it has been promoted the uranium resource development and the members of the state government often have visited Japan to encourage it to invest in mining industry. In October 2008, Vice Minister of Northern Territory visited Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and JOGMEC and took an active stance toward its promotion.
Bondi Mining is based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The company has a number of uranium exploration projects in Queensland and the Northern Territory and is a publicly listed company on the ASX.
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