Monday, 26 June 2006
BEING naturally gifted is a big advantage in a competition, but not always enough to win, as we are seeing in football's World Cup. In fact, the difference between natural advantage and sheer determination goes a lot further than sport, as Dryblower is starting to notice in the worldwide race to become one of the next uranium miners.
In Australia, there is a belief that oodles of uranium is ready to mine, and that the world will beat a path to our door. If there is competition, it's dismissed as weak.
That attitude is a mistake as big as the one made by Croatia when it was forced to a draw in the first round of the World Cup by a bunch of try-hard Aussies – let's skip lightly over the fact that half of them were of Croatian heritage in the first place.
The uranium game is shaping as a re-run of the gifted versus the try hards – only this time it's a bunch of Aussies who are swapping shirts to play for the opposition.
Consider some of the evidence assembled by Mr Blower over the past few days and ask yourself a question about who is likely to win.
On the Australian team, we have a vast array of already proven uranium deposits scattered across the outback. Most of it was drilled up to 30, and more, years ago.
The assumption, held largely by politicians from the left, is that Team Australia has it, and the rest of the world has to form a queue to get it. To put it mildly, this is a massive mistake – as Team Foreign Australia is setting out to prove.
This second team is disillusioned with the arrogance of the one coached by left-wing politicians such as Bomber Beazley and Grumpy Carpenter in WA, a pair of throwbacks being held captive by No Nukes campaigners leftover from Ban the Bomb marches of the 1960s – who refuse to admit that they played a starring role in over-heating the world by forcing it to burn excessive amounts of coal.
So, as with soccer players, the chaps in Team Foreign Australia have packed their trainers, and headed off to places where they can get a game – determined to prove that they can start a uranium mine before the guys staying at home, who believe a natural advantage lasts forever.
Last Friday, for example, there was a very pleasant little upward spike in the share price of Berkeley Resources as it jumped from 64c to 77c. Why? Apart from the day traders having fun, it was because Berkeley has given up on Australia and is exploring for uranium in Spain.
Black Range has also performed moderately well recently, not because it's still fiddling around with a laterite nickel project in NSW, but because it's picked up a handful of uranium claims in the US.
Same with Great Western Exploration, which is in the process of changing its name to Uran and switching its focus from Australia to the steppes of eastern Europe and Russia in the hunt for uranium over there.
And then, of course, we have the market leader itself, Paladin Resources, which tired after 30 years of trying to develop a uranium project in Australia, but is doing precisely that in Namibia, and following up with second and third projects elsewhere in Africa.
As far as Dryblower can see, Australia's so-called natural advantage in the world of uranium is about as valid as the arrogant soccer teams of the world who believe that they cannot possibly be beaten by teams that simply try harder.
And, if Australia should lose in the uranium game, it will only have itself to blame.