Home > In the Media > Areva offers India stakes in Uranium mines

Areva offers India stakes in Uranium mines

From Bloomberg via Times of India

June 6, 2009

Areva SA, the world’s biggest maker of atomic reactors, has offered India stakes in African uranium mines to ensure supplies for fuel-starved plants, the head of the nation’s monopoly nuclear generator said. State-run Nuclear Power Corp of India is considering investing in as many as four mines, including projects in South Africa and Nigeria, chairman Shreyans Kumar Jain said.

Patricia Marie, a spokeswoman for Areva in Paris, didn’t immediately comment when contacted. “Some of the mines that we have been offered stakes in are already producing and some have yet to be developed,” Jain said. “We may invest up to 26% of the project cost,” he said, declining to give more details about the mines or how much the company would spend on the proposed acquisitions.

Nuclear Power is also seeking long-term supply contracts from Kazakhstan, Canada and Brazil as it orders reactors worth at least $14 billion from overseas, Jain said. India needs to invest in uranium assets to ensure fuel for a planned 14-fold increase in nuclear generation capacity by 2030 after a three- decade ban on supplies to the country was lifted last year.

Australia, home to the world’s biggest-known uranium reserves, has refused to sell the fuel to the country because it hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Buying shares in Areva’s mines will help boost supplies for locally built atomic plants as domestic reserves of uranium are insufficient for India’s requirements, Jain said on Thursday.

Nuclear Power may spend more than a planned $1.2 billion to buy equity in overseas uranium mines, including those in Russia and Kazakhastan, he said. Uranium Supply Areva, which is building the first large-capacity atomic project in India with overseas equipment, will also supply uranium to run the reactors for 60 years, chairperson Anne Lauvergeon said in February after signing a preliminary sales agreement.

Nuclear Power will buy two Areva reactors of 1,650-megawatt capacity each and may increase the number to six, according to the preliminary agreement. The project will be built at Jaitapur in the western state of Maharashtra and Nuclear Power may complete acquiring almost 1,000 hectares of land for it in the “next few months,” Jain said.

The two companies are waiting for France’s parliament to approve an inter-governmental agreement before raising 3 billion euros ($4.2 billion) for the project, he said. A final accord may be signed next year after obtaining French parliamentary and regulatory approvals, Jain said.

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