Published on Saturday November 05 2011
Australian Uranium Explorer Extract Resources hopes to secure amining licence from the Namibian government for its $US1.66billion ($1.54bn) Husab uranium project by next month.
"We're hoping for it at the end of the year and we've not heard any negative things coming out (of the government) which would give us alarm," Extract chief executive Jonathan Leslie said after the company's annual general meeting in Perth.
The company continues to pursue a standalone development for Husab, potentially one of the world's biggest uranium mines, despite the possibility it may become a takeover target if China Guangdong Nuclear Power makes a cash bid for Extract's 43 per cent shareholder Kalahari Minerals, Mr Leslie said.
Extract lodged a mining licence request last December, and the application is under "active consideration", he said.
"We've had strong interest for project financing from global banks," he said, adding Extract continues talks aimed at bringing in a strategic partner for Husab.
"We haven't closed off discussions with anyone -- we've kept lines of communication open with all those people in the partnership process," he said.
In February, Extract revealed it was in talks with 14 per cent shareholder Rio Tinto over combining Husab with Rio's neighbouring Rossing mine.
Asked whether Extract had any direct contact with CGNPC, Mr Leslie said: "They are, again, obvious people to be part of the partnership process."
On October 10, British-based Kalahari said it had restarted talks with CGNPC, five months after one of China's biggest nuclear power generators walked away from a $1.2bn bid.
In response, Extract said it had talked to Australia's securities regulator about a potential bid for the company by CGNPC. Under Australian law companies making a fresh investment in a company must make a full takeover bid if their stake exceeds 19.9 per cent.
Mr Leslie said he was confident in the demand for uranium, despite moves by several countries to scale back nuclear programs in the wake of the March 11 earthquake in Japan.
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