Canberra – Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Tuesday that it would not be feasible for Australia to export Australian uranium to India via a third country. They have strictly taken one ground of limiting yellowcake exports to countries who have signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Since India is not a signatory to the treaty, it cannot seek any access to Australian uranium, hence Australian refused to supply uranium.
It became important to clarify, since Australia has recently signed a nuclear pact with China allowing Australian uranium to be sold to Chinese power stations, China had already signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in 1992.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported Australian mining companies BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP.AU) and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA.AU), majority owned by Rio Tinto PLC (RIO.AU), agreed to supply uranium to Taiwan.
The uranium will supply electricity producer Taipower, the newspaper said.
Downer said the uranium deal was possible because of a treaty Australia signed with Taiwan in 2002.
“They (Australian uranium miners) can negotiate contracts and if they’re all in order those exports can take place but only via the U.S.,” Downer told ABC Radio.
Downer said Taiwan signed the nuclear proliferation treaty prior to 1972 when it was still recognized as a separate state to China.
“Although it’s no longer a state…it nevertheless fulfills all of its obligations under the NPT (nuclear proliferation treaty),” he said.