Looming India Uranium Deal Huge for Saskatchewan, Premier Says – by Josh Wingrove (Bloomberg News – April 10, 2015)


Cameco Corp., Canada’s biggest uranium producer, would reap a revenue windfall once a sales agreement is finalized with India, while boosting employment in its home province, Saskatchewan’s premier said.

A deal would be “huge,” yielding hundreds of millions in revenue and supporting jobs in the mining sector, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Friday. He was asked to comment on a possible agreement by Saskatchewan-based Cameco to provide uranium for nuclear power.

“It’ll mean tax revenue, it’ll mean job retention, it’ll mean new jobs, if in fact there is an agreement here with India,” Wall said by telephone. “Depending on all the specifics, you’re going to be talking about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of sales over some period of time.”

A long-term deal by Cameco to sell uranium to India could be announced as soon as next week when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Canada, said a person familiar with negotiations, who asked not to be identified because the agreement isn’t yet final. The Globe and Mail had reported the possibility of a deal earlier Friday. Modi is scheduled to make a three-day trip to Canada from April 14-16, with stops in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

Cameco Jobs

Cameco is a major employer in Saskatchewan, in particular of aboriginal workers in the province’s north, Wall said. The company began shipping uranium to China in 2013 and has been pushing for an India deal. “If we’re getting close to something, this is huge,” Wall said.

Rob Gereghty, a Cameco spokesman, would not say if a deal is near.

“We have been meeting with government officials and working towards a long-term supply agreement with India,” Gereghty said in an e-mail. “At this point, we have not made any sales to India.”

India currently uses nuclear power for three percent of its electricity, but hopes to raise that figure to 25 percent by 2050, Gereghty said. The Asian country currently requires three times as much uranium as it produces to fuel its reactors, he said.

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