Thursday 30th of March 2023

Finally, the Halliburton Uranium "Fast-track"

On hearing the news this arvo of how Tony's off to Inda to hand over our uranium, I dug up my notes here from exactly 8 years ago.  This reprint might contain useful background information for anyone keen on following what's (probably this time, maybe?) about to unfold:

When Halliburton CEO Dave Lesar and a "cast of thousands" of Australian dignitaries launched the Adelaide-Darwin in early 2004 everybody was talking about what a boon to Australian exports Mr Cheney's conquest of the Australian desert would be.  Of course, nobody was talking about uranium at the time....

Well, the inevitable has happened, and we're going to see boxcars of yellowcake trundling from Adelaide to Darwin within the next few years,   Immediately following the announcement of opening of a new Australian uranium mine (at Honeymoon in South Australia's far north east

 The Chief Executive of the Northern Territory Minerals  Council Kazia Purick yesterday.  Mr Purick said that

""This company's product, the uranium oxide, may well have to be put on the train from Adelaide through to Darwin and be exported over our port, because Darwin's habour, Darwin's port is the only port in Australia that can export uranium product, the uranium oxide."

This statement strongly contradicts a report in the Weekend Australian of January 2005.


Australia's uranium mines produce a powder called yellowcake - unprocessed uranium oxide - which is then concentrated on-site into an extremely heavy greenish powder for export. It is 1.7 times denser than lead and a 205-litre drum two-thirds full weighs 400kg. 

Sales are made under the strict control of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO), within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to ensure the uranium is used only for peaceful purposes, mainly in reactors to produce electricity. 

At Olympic Dam the uranium oxide is packed into steel drums and loaded into shipping containers that are then trucked to Port Adelaide to be loaded directly on to ships. Recently, Olympic Dam started a three-month trial transporting uranium to Darwin on the new Adelaide-to-Darwin rail link.

In December Last year the findings of the trial were unknown, with the railway's freight management company still waiting for word from the mines owners.  At the time Freightlink CEO John Fullerton said that There aren't large numbers of boxes of uranium that are exported but it's still an important part of our business - it helps establish the international trade through the Port of Darwin."

The current shareholders of FreightLink include Kellogg Brown & Root (36.3%), Barclay Mowlem (13.9%), John Holland (11.4%), National Asset Management (7.3%), Macmahon (7.0%), Colonial First State (6.3%) and six other shareholders including investment funds and the Northern and Central Aboriginal Land Councils

The railway was  designed and constructed by a joint venture between Macmahon Holdings (10%), KBR (50%), Barclay Mowlem (20%) and John Holland (20%).