MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish government has decided not to deliver the permits necessary to open the European Union’s only open-cast uranium mine near Salamanca, dealing a serious blow to Australian mining company Berkeley Energia’s (BKY.AX) plans.
The project was granted preliminary approval in early 2013 but has since faced local opposition. Berkeley later requested a trading halt on its shares, which fell nearly 29 percent in Australian trading hours on Tuesday, citing media articles about the Salamanca mine.
The company asked the Australian Securities Exchange to suspend trading until it released a statement on the Salamanca mine or until the opening of trade on Oct. 19, whichever came first, according to the letter sent to the regulator.
Berkeley said it had received no official notice from the Nuclear Safety Council nor any other government department regarding its plans to open the mine and had contacted the Spanish authorities to seek clarification. It said it would make an announcement as soon as a response had been received.
Berkeley had said on Tuesday it was still confident it would obtain the last two major permits needed for the mine to start operating – a local building license and an authorization given by the government to handle radioactive waste – though it would also scale down its existing local corporate operations.