GRT Article – Dragging the chain [reaction]:

Australia is seemingly lagging behind nations such as Mongolia in revisiting the economic and social benefit of its uranium resource as a means of developing nuclear power.
It is time to re-ignite the debate about Australia’s uranium industry and its use in nuclear power generation at a time when all options should be under review.

2 August 2023

By Ashley Hill and Amarzaya Gantumur

We are just going to say it… why isn’t Australia actively and openly discussing nuclear power generation as an alternative energy source? Fresh from the recent call by the Federal Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, saying nuclear power is “[t]he only feasible and proven technology, which can firm up renewables and help us achieve the goals of clean, cost effective and consistent power…”,[1] one can only surmise that the historical risks of nuclear power generation and nuclear waste storage are so fear-invoking that the discussion of nuclear power is still off the table.

Chernobyl and Fukushima were undoubtedly horrific nuclear disasters; however, modern technological advances seem to have significantly mitigated or eradicated the risks that nuclear power posed. Nuclear physicists and/or technical experts in the field may well have an explanation as to whether there really is any realistic environmental risk of using small modular reactors on the sites of old coal-fired power plants, however, the first step should be to discuss their utility. At a time when Australia is actively exploring alternative means of power generation – e.g. solar panels now cover vast tracts of land and wind towers will soon stretch from the far south of the country all the way to Queensland – it makes sense that all options of modern power generation should be under review including nuclear power generation. After all, Australia is blessed with significant uranium resources and the ability to mine and process the ore suitable to use in nuclear power reactors and other nation-states are seriously re-entering the industry.

Australia should look to countries like Mongolia in terms of properly exploring nuclear as a viable option for modern power generation. Like Australia, Mongolia is a resource rich country and mineral resources make up the largest share of its exports. Mongolia is also blessed with uranium deposits. Mongolia is presently working with the French (nuclear power leaders) to develop its ability to export uranium for power generation. For example, the mining licence for the Mongolian Zuuvch Ovoo deposit is held by Badrakh Energy, a joint venture between Orano SA (French nuclear energy) (66%) and Mon-Atom (Mongolian SOE) (34%)[2]. Badrakh Energy has been using the in situ leaching (ISL) (also known as In Situ Recovery) process at the Zuuvch Ovoo deposit located in Dornogobi Province, Mongolia. ISL involves dissolving the uranium minerals into the leach solution which is then pumped to the surface for recovery.

The Mongolian government has set up a working group to negotiate an investment agreement with Orano for the Zuuvch Ovoo project. In an interview given to the Energy Intelligence publication in April 2023[3], the head of Orano’s mining business unit, Mr Nicolas Maes, said this will be the first operating uranium mine in Mongolia.

Today, virtually all uranium produced by the Central Asian countries, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan included, and the majority of product in the United States, is produced by ISL. Proponents of the methodology cite little surface disturbance and generation of no tailings or waste rock as environmental benefits. The potential escape of solutions from the borefield and subsequent contamination of groundwater is a potential pitfall.

Mongolia is positioning itself as a uranium producer with the use of modern technology. It begs the question as to why Australia is so resistant to using our uranium reserves along with modern technology to generate nuclear power. For example, Australia has used ISL in the extraction of uranium at three different mines. The first one was used at the Beverley mine in South Australia which commenced operation in 2000 and then in Honeymoon ISL mine in South Australia in 2011. The third mine is the Four Miles lease where ISL mining commenced in 2014.[4] Can this modern means of mineral extraction become the first link in the vertical integration of nuclear power generation? According to the CSIRO[5], the answer is no.

As recently as May 2023, referring to the annual GenCost 2022-23 report that provides an updated cost estimate for large-scale electricity generation in Australia[6], the CSIRO have stated that nuclear power does not currently provide an economically competitive solution in Australia. Further, the lead author of GenCost and CSIRO energy economist, Paul Graham, says the main area of uncertainty with nuclear is around capital costs and there is a lack of robust real-world data around small modular reactors (SMRs) due to low global use.

The CSIRO opine that even using SMRs, the cost per megawatt hour of nuclear power still far outweighs the maximum cost of wind and solar energy per megawatt hour. CSIRO state that nuclear costs per megawatt hour are calculated by converting the hard infrastructure costs into annual loan repayments, adding other annual costs such as fuel and maintenance and then dividing that sum by the annual energy output.

However, any assertion that solar or wind power is cheaper than nuclear power from SMRs is not yet a certainty. Siemens Energy, one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the world recently lost nearly 40% of their share value after warning of quality problems in its wind turbine unit.  These problems, which the company warned would take years to fix, are believed not to be specific to Siemens, but rather sector wide. The problems impact wind capacity equivalent to 132 nuclear plants.[7] These problems will result in significantly lower reliability and longevity, and much higher maintenance costs than modelled, and will therefore raise the unit cost of power generation using this means.   

Any lack of data and information around SMRs should be alleviated when the International Atomic Energy Agency project (on the appraisal of the costs of nuclear SMR) is completed in December 2024. The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is a party to this project.[8]

Even so, any debate about the economic and social benefits of nuclear power in Australia remains stymied by the fact that nuclear power is currently not permitted by law, namely Commonwealth legislation, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Statute law prohibits the approval, licensing, construction, or operation of a nuclear plant. The legal hurdle along answers to questions around safe waste storage and location of reactors seemingly makes a nuclear power option “all too hard.”  However, it need not be the case.

If the primary argument against nuclear power in Australia is time and cost, then we should be having an informed debate on this point comparing nuclear power options with the cost of “renewable” energy sources. In 2017, the World Bank released a little-noticed report[9] that offered the first comprehensive look at this question. It models the increase in material extraction that would be required to build enough solar and wind utilities to produce an annual output of about 7 terawatts of electricity by 2050. That is enough to power roughly half of the global economy. By doubling the World Bank figures, it has been estimated what it will take to get all the way to zero emissions—and the results are staggering: 34 million metric tonnes of copper, 40 million tonnes of lead, 50 million tonnes of zinc, 162 million tonnes of aluminium and circa 4.8 billion tons of iron.[10]  Some six years later (and post-Covid), those estimated figures and the attendant costs are conceivably much greater.  For example, the need for new upgrading of electricity distribution for renewable sources keep rising and are now estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars in Australia alone.[11]

The ‘clean energy’ challenge Australia faces warrants revisiting the question as to whether modern nuclear power stations can play a role as we move away from conventional coal or gas powered energy generation. Using modern technology and private enterprise to pick up the slack where government has failed, could offer Australia a proven technology to generate more than enough electricity for ourselves and potentially enough processed radioactive material to sell to neighbours.

If Australia can learn anything from Mongolia, it is that engaging with industry leading players from around the world may be a way for us to utilise the resources we have and set the benchmark for cleaner uranium mining and eventually cost-effective power generation.

From our perspective, especially around the necessary changes to the law in Australia, we think re-enlivening the debate about the uranium industry and use of nuclear energy for power is well overdue.

We will be watching with interest.

Ashley Hill and Amarzaya Gantumur are seasoned lawyers with extensive global experience. Notably, Amarzaya holds professional credentials in both Hong Kong and Australia, making Amarzaya eligible to practice law in these jurisdictions. Amarzaya serves on the arbitrator panel of the Mongolian International Arbitration Center (MIAC) and is fluent in Mongolian.


More Posts

GRT Alert: A Milestone in GRT’s Global Expansion

We are delighted to announce the launch of GRT Lawyer’s International Projects Division.  This GRT corporate development not only aligns seamlessly with GRT’s Corporate Business Plan, but also signifies another monumental stride forward for our organization, both nationally and internationally. The Head of GRT Lawyer’s International Projects Division is Amarzaya Gantumur. With a remarkable legal background spanning

GRT Alert – ASX Compliance Update

Effective 5 February 2024, ASX has changed the procedures for entities applying for admission to the official list as an ASX-listed Company.In summary, the changes relate to: Spread RequirementsListing Rule 1.1 condition 8 provides that: Poor quality information about spread can delay or prevent a listing from proceeding. Therefore, ASX has developed a spread register

GRT Alert – ASX Corporate Governance Council Update

The ASX Corporate Governance Council has recently released a package of consultation materials for a proposed fifth edition of its Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations. Since its inception, the document aspires to represent a leading standard on corporate governance, and addresses important issues such as corporate conduct, culture, diversity, risk management, reporting, and remuneration. The

GRT Alert -Arado Sale – Announcement

GRT Lawyers has advised Canopy Tools Group Pty Ltd, CT4 Pty Ltd, and NewBase Computer Services Pty Ltd on the sale of their Arado cloud and managed services business to security and cloud service specialist Sovereign Cloud Holdings Limited, which trades as AUCloud (ASX:SOV) for a total purchase price of $7 million, comprising $3.325 million

Send Us A Message

Proudly Designed and Developed By
Morelly ® Business Optimisation

© 2023 GRT Lawyers
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. All rights reserved.

Office Assistant

Lilly Monaghan

Lilly became part of the GRT Lawyers team in October 2022, stepping into the role of Office Assistant. With a wealth of professional experience spanning more than ten years, Lilly has actively contributed in various administrative capacities.

This diverse background equips her with extensive expertise within the realm of administration, strengthening our team and the support provided to GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation.

Admin Coordinator

Amelia Milsop

Amelia is a highly skilled professional with seven years of experience working in administrative, and executive support roles. Her diverse skill set includes expertise in administration support, office operations, events management, and marketing. 

As an administrator, Amelia plays a vital role in overseeing day-to-day operations, administration support, streamlining processes, and maintaining efficient workflows. With her extensive experience, diverse skill set, and passion, Amelia brings a unique perspective and a well-rounded approach to her administrative work.

Finance Manager

Chan Hu

Full bio coming soon!


Dale Copley

Dale began working with GRT Lawyers at the start of 2023 after beginning his legal career with  top-tier firm. He recently retired from professional sports and is relatively new to the legal field, having been admitted in November of 2022.

Dale values the importance of teamwork and advising clients to assist them in achieving their business goals. His experience as a professional athlete has instilled in him the significance of collective efforts and strategic collaboration – qualities that now define his approach to his career in law.

He has a strong interest in equity markets and is acquiring valuable experience by advising on capital raises and various ASX listing rule concerns.


Rebecca Wei

As an accomplished associate corporate lawyer, Rebecca contributes a fresh perspective and a robust work ethic to our legal team. She has swiftly gained experience in corporate law, demonstrating dedication to assisting clients with their legal needs in an ever-evolving business landscape.

Rebecca specialises in capital market transactional matters, contract drafting, and corporate governance. She has supported senior lawyers in advising a diverse range of clients, including established corporations, startups, and entrepreneurs.

Senior Corporate Advisor

Alana Nisbet

Alana has over 10 years’ experience practicing predominantly in international top tier firms in Australia, London and Guernsey. Her primary practice areas are public and private mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets and investment funds and she has significant experience advising on complex corporate transactions.

Alana is valued for her exemplary client service and have been ranked as a “Rising Star” for Equity Capital Markets and Mergers & Acquisitions by Legal 500.

Senior Associate

Amarzaya Gantumur

Amarzaya is the Head of GRT Lawyer’s International Projects Division.

She has over 14 years of experience in the global legal industry in both civil and common law jurisdictions. She has acted as counsel in numerous complex corporate and commercial transactions, and litigation matters, including cross border litigation and international commercial arbitration.

As a common law trained lawyer with working experiences in both civil law and common law jurisdictions, Amarzaya is particularly dedicated to international work due to her international clients and her global network. 

Her recent work experience includes representing a Mongolian state-owned entity in an international commercial arbitration (under SIAC rules); representing an Australian/Philippines entity in an international commercial arbitration (under SIAC rules); providing wide range of legal and technical support to a global mining services company in its operation in Mongolia; providing legal and technical support to a Mongolian financial institute in its operation in Australia.   

Amarzaya graduated from the School of Law, National University of Mongolia in 2004 and holds an LLM (Corporate and Finance Law) from the University of Hong Kong. She is fluent in both English and Mongolian. She was appointed as an arbitrator with the Mongolian International Arbitration Centre in 2022. She is a member of various other professional organizations, including the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).

Senior Associate

Rachel Hendrie

Rachel is a commercial dispute resolution lawyer who has experience in litigating significant commercial, construction and financial services disputes and in international arbitration. She is experienced with managing document heavy litigation.

Her experience includes assisting major Australian banks in civil penalty proceedings initiated by AUSTRAC in the Federal Court of Australia concerning AML/CTF compliance and fraud investigations, assisting financial services clients with responding to ACCC and ASIC notices including corporate shareholder and contractual disputes for oil and gas clients in Supreme Courts.

Rachel has worked for global top-tier law firms in both Brisbane and Melbourne.

Senior Associate

Alexander Sloan

Alex is a commercial litigator with experience in funded litigation and class actions. He has acted for publicly listed companies (both ASX and SGX), large private companies, litigation funders, SMEs, and company directors in a range of commercial disputes.

His experience includes complex, cross-border financial services litigation, class actions, product liability, insolvencies, and corporate disputes.

Alex has prosecuted and defended claims in the Supreme Courts of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the ACT, and in the Federal Court of Australia. He also acted in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.

Alex was admitted to practice as a solicitor in 2015 and worked for several years in a national Australian law firm, prior to joining GRT Lawyers in 2021.

General Manager

Aylesha James-Pearson
m 0433 555 812


  • Business Operations
  • People and Culture
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Event Coordination
  • Project Management


Aylesha serves as the General Manager at GRT Lawyers, providing effective leadership and overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm. In her role, she manages human resources, marketing, events, and directly supervises the Administration team.

Bringing more than 19 years of experience in office management, senior administration, project and event management, as well as human resources, Aylesha has a proven track record of excellence in high-pressure environments. Her wealth of experience and professionalism ensures the seamless functioning of the firm. Aylesha excels in optimizing operational efficiencies by reviewing and implementing systems, policies, and procedures to support business functions, resulting in impactful results. She adopts a holistic approach, balancing a keen eye for detail with a focus on overarching goals.

Aylesha’s passion lies in people and culture, where she actively fosters strong relationships across all levels of the business. She connects with staff to instill the core values of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation, believing in creating value through people. Her approach involves working with passion and understanding, offering support and cultivating relationships that enhance both business and individual performance.


Her career history encompasses multi-faceted roles giving her exposure to the specialty fields of Human Resources, Marketing and Event Management. Roles have included:

  • Human resources, including recruitment, performance management, staffing, new employee onboarding, employee benefits, payroll and training and development.
  • Marketing – including roles involving the development and implementation of marketing and business development strategies.
  • Background in planning internal and external events from conception through to execution, displaying qualities of a successful event planner: thorough yet precise, expert knowledge, ingenuity in identifying and solving problems and clear, concise communication.

“There’s always another level up. There’s always another ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.” -Elizabeth Gilbert


Ashley Hill
m 0415 150 866


  • Commercial litigation
  • International commercial arbitration
  • Energy – oil, gas, coal, and electricity
  • Product liability – recalls and litigation
  • Resources – water and agribusiness
  • Financial services
  • Insurance – including D&O, PI and BI
  • Regulatory – securities and governance; anti-bribery and anti-corruption
  • Hotel development and management disputes
  • IT industry disputes
  • IP claims including counterfeiting, passing-off, copyright infringement
  • Mediation, Adjudication and Advocacy


Ashley has in excess of 23 years’ experience as a litigator and disputes lawyer. In his time at GRT Lawyers and working for top-tier Australian and global law firms (in the Middle-East and Singapore), Ashley has acted for clients across multiple continents on complex commercial litigation and international arbitration.


Ashley’s current practice includes investment protection and dispute matters across a number of industry sectors including energy and resources, financial services, technology, agribusiness, tourism, in addition to contentious regulatory, insurance disputes and product liability matters.

The international scope of Ashley’s work has given him a valuable insight into cross-border disputes in common law and civil law jurisdictions. He has practical experience with most of the world’s renowned international commercial arbitration institutions including ICC, LCIA, SIAC, SCC and ICDR/AAA.

Since 2014, Ashley has been listed in ‘Best Lawyers in Australia’ Peer Review for the categories of International Arbitration, Litigation, Insurance and Product Liability.  In 2019, Ashley was added to the Doyle’s Guide Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution Lawyers in Queensland.


Ashley holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Arts (University of New England) and he is:

  • a member of the Queensland Law Society (QLS)
  • Executive Council Member of Asia-Pacific Forum for International Arbitration (AFIA)
  • Associate Member of Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (ACICA); and
  • ordinary member of Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA)

Scott Standen
m 0447 790 009


  • In depth understanding of the M&A processes (public M&A and private M&A transactions)
  • Public equity capital markets transactions
  • Management of due diligence processes
  • Deep understanding of governance frameworks
  • Corporate structuring
  • Capital structure management
  • Transaction management

Scott is a founder and Director of GRT Lawyers and GRT Foundation and corporate lawyer. He leads a team of specialist legal professionals, providing advice to organisations of all sizes, from middle market, large corporates and government owned corporations.

Scott’s career spans more than 20 years as a corporate lawyer and has encompassed an in-house general counsel role, director of Statutory Authorities and corporate legal adviser to managing directors, chief financial officers and boards of directors of ASX listed companies.

Scott is regularly called on by clients to provide strategic corporate advice to boards of directors and to project manage merger and acquisition transactions and public equity markets transactions. He prides himself in providing technically accurate and commercially focused corporate advice for public, private and listed companies, boards of directors and corporate advisers.

In particular, Scott advises on public equity markets transactions, debt issuances and restructuring, corporate governance and advisory, regulatory compliance, public and private M&A transactions, contract negotiation and directors’ duties and liabilities.


Scott’s experience includes:

  • Advising Cerro Resources Limited in relation to its public market merger and acquisition deal with Canadian based Primero Gold Limited and the concurrent spin out of assets to Santana Metals Limited and listing of Santana Metals Limited on ASX
  • Advising Discovery Metals Limited in relation to its A$250 million debt restructuring and associated equity raisings and proposed convertible note issue
  • Advising Polymetals Limited in relation to its acquisition by Southern Cross Goldfields by way of scheme of arrangement
  • Advising Southern Cross Goldfields Limited in relation to its A$60 million capital raising transaction involving equity, debt and hybrid securities
  • Dual listing on Hong Kong Exchange of ASX listed company
  • ASX listing of Asia focused technology / media company and
  • ASX listing of Apiam Animal Health Limited, vertically integrated provider of services and product to agricultural industry and
  • ASX listing of P2P Transport Limited.


Scott holds Bachelor Degrees in Law and Business Administration and a Masters of Law. Scott has previously held positions as a Director on the Boards of the Queensland Manufactured Water Authority (and related entities) and the Queensland Bulk Water Authority (and related entities).

Managing Director

Glenn Vassallo
0422 857 760


  • Public capital markets
  • Corporate law
  • Private capital markets
  • Corporate advisory
  • Corporate structuring
  • Complex corporate disputes
  • Social entrepreneurship


Glenn is a founder of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation. As the Managing Director of GRT Lawyers and chair of the GRT Foundation, Glenn is passionate about working with his highly sophisticated national and international clients to implement their corporate strategy and solve their complex problems.

Glenn is passionate about implementing the corporate strategy of GRT Lawyers and the GRT Foundation. Glenn’s significant experience in formulating and executing complex corporate transactions (including IPOs, takeovers, and other equity capital market transactions) with a particular focus on national and international stock and security exchanges puts him in a unique position to provide excellent advice.


After building GRT Lawyers into a high-quality law firm, and together with his wife Eliza, establishing the GRT Foundation into a sustainable Australian charity, Glenn built GRT App (a subsidiary of GRT Lawyers) and sold that to an ASX listed company. Glenn was the first chairperson of any Australian ASX listed company to successfully chair a real-time virtual meeting of shareholders. He is still today, the only person who has chaired a real-time virtual shareholders meeting for an ASX listed company.

Glenn is often invited to speak on global topics such as capital markets, initial public offerings, takeovers and more recently was invited to New York University to speak at its global conference about social entrepreneurship.


Glenn holds a Bachelor Degree of Law (LLB) and a Bachelor Degree of Commerce. He has been a long-standing member of the Law Council of Australia Company Law Committee and the Queensland Law Society Company Law Committee, member of the Australian India Business Council (Energy and Resources – Subcommittee) and has significant ASX listed board experience.