'Tough' down under sanctions in store for Russia
Can Australia cause economic damage to Russia by banning the sale of uranium to the country? According to Russia's Rosatom, there are practically no uranium supplies from Australia, uranium production on the continent is frozen, whereas Russia's uranium supplies are enough for the next 100 years.
Australian Finance Minister Matthias Kormann said that his country could ban the sale of uranium to Russia. "We see what other reasonable measures we can take to tighten sanctions against Russia," said Kormann on Sky News on Saturday.
A day earlier, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated that new sanctions against Russia would be imposed, should Moscow take no responsibility for the crash of the Malaysian Boeing, The Sydney Morning Herald wrote.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is ready to tighten sanctions as well. According to him, Australia is currently ready to impose tough sanctions on Russia, after Ukrainian specialists working on the site of the Boeing 777 crash moved to the Netherlands.
Previously, Australia has introduced economic sanctions against individuals and companies from Russia and Ukraine twice. The country has faced retaliatory sanctions from Russia as well.
As for the production of uranium, officials with Rosatom state corporation said that Russia was not producing natural uranium in Australia, although Russia owned Honeymoon uranium deposit in Australia. "The development of new uranium projects both in Russia and abroad, including the Honeymoon mine in Australia, was suspended about a year ago due to a sharp fall in the price of uranium," spokesperson for State Corporation Rosatom Sergey Novikov told Gazeta.ru.
Therefore, the recent statement from the government of Australia is purely political, as there is no need for Russia to produce uranium in this country. "Today, Rosatom is second in the world in terms of uranium reserves, holding deposits through joint ventures in Kazakhstan and having Mkuju River project in Tanzania, as well as Russian mines.
The reserves in these fields will be enough to provide fuel to nuclear power plants in Russia and abroad for the next hundred years, said Novikov.
Noteworthy, the United States remains one of the biggest consumers of the Russian uranium. Rosatom has contracts with private energy companies in the USA for the purchase of uranium enrichment services. The transactions concluded prior to 2020, total $5.5 billion. Should these transactions be terminated, tens of millions of households will be left without electricity.