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Toronto, Dec 2 (IANS):
World’s biggest uranium firm to enter Indian shore
Published on 3 Dec. 2009 12:10 AM IST
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Canada's Cameco, the world's biggest mining company, is set to enter India. Cameco, which accounts for 15 percent of the world's uranium production, Wednesday said the civil nuclear deal the two countries have agreed to sign has opened "an exciting opportunity" for it. The global giant, which has opened an office in Hyderabad, said it will sell not only uranium but also mining technology to India. "India's announced programme for the construction of new nuclear power plants is second only to China in its scope, so India represents a large market opportunity for any uranium fuel supplier," Cameco spokesperson Lyle Krahn told IANS. "The nuclear deal with India will allow us to look into potential business opportunities in a growing market." Apart from supplying uranium to India, he said his company will look at "the entire spectrum from exploration to fabrication". Krahn said the group was "well-positioned with India to secure business opportunities. We intend to pursue long-term uranium sales agreements once the government agreements are in place". Asked what kind of business volume he was looking at in India, he said: "India currently has over 4,000 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity and consumes about 2 million pounds of uranium annually. "It has announced plans to increase this to a range of 21,000 to 29,000 megawatts by 2020, but it does not presently have the domestic uranium supply to support such a nuclear programme." Since India only produces less than one million pounds of uranium annually, Krahn said: "The removal of the sanctions would provide an additional market for nuclear fuel suppliers like Cameco. Depending on the megawatt increase, it could range from seven to nine million pounds of uranium (U3O8) by 2020." Cameco plans to double its uranium production to 40 million pounds annually by 2018 to meet the demand from India and China. Hemant Shah of mining equipment maker Cubex, which is eyeing to supply equipment to the Uranium Corp of India, said: "Canada has been badly hurt by the nuclear ban imposed by the previous Liberal Party government. Thankfully, the current government has realised the importance of India." Surjit Babra of the Canada-India Foundation stated: "The nuclear agreement is a very encouraging development for Indo-Canadian relations. It reinforces India's long standing commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. "Coming at the juncture of India's significant economic growth, this partnership would definitely pave the way for greater economic co-operation between India and Canada," said the top aviation businessman.

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