Uranium One eyeing African assets

Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:57pm GMT
 

By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Uranium One is eyeing acquisition opportunities, primarily in Africa, in order to continue its rapidly expanding uranium production growth and feed a growing appetite for nuclear fuel, the company's chief executive said on Thursday.

"We are looking at a number of opportunities. Most of those opportunities currently find themselves in Africa and a little bit in Europe," CEO Jean Nortier told Reuters.

Assets in Namibia, Niger, Tanzania, and Zambia have caught Nortier's eye, and he said the company would pursue both development assets or mines in early production.

Uranium One has about $250 million in cash earmarked for takeovers, and would consider using equity as well, he said.

The company, which currently has most of its production in Kazakhstan, reported a 2009 net loss of $36.5 million late on Wednesday. But it said it expects uranium production to nearly double to 6.8 million pounds this year from 3.6 million last year, as production increases at the South Inkai and Karatau mines in Kazakhstan,

Output is seen at 8.0 million pounds in 2011, as production should begin at the Powder River Basin in the United States.

Cameco, the world's top publicly traded uranium miner, produces just over 20 million pounds a year.

FEEDING THE NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE   Continued...

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