Published on Friday Sept 06 2013 (AEST)
The Honeymoon Well uranium mine in South Australia is set to be 100 per cent Russian owned by the September quarter.
Shareholders of Canadian company Uranium One have approved a buyout offer from the Russian State Corporation for Nuclear Energy, Rosatom. A Rosatom subsidiary already owns 49 per cent of Uranium One and, once the deal is completed, the new entity will be private.
Honeymoon Well is is the smallest of Australia's operating uranium mines. The others are Olympic Dam in South Australia, Ranger Mine in the Northern Territory and Beverley Mine in South Australia. The Federal Government gave Toro Energy environmental approval for the Wiluna uranium mine in Western Australia earlier this year. Argonaut Securities analyst Matthew Keane says the Uranium One acquisition demonstrates the growing appetite for Australia's uranium reserves by countries overseas, in part because of the political stability of the country. "We do have a very large uranium resource base, though not quite as much as Kazakhstan, and a lot of that resource is tied up in Olympic Dam (owned by BHP Billiton).
"There's a number of really good deposits here that are within the range of being developed in the next decade. "Uranium is a longer term play. Assets (deposits) take a longer time to go from the pre-development phase into production." Mr Keane says in the last three years both the Russians and the Chinese have been buying up uranium projects around the world to to secure supply for their nuclear reactors. "For example, the Husab deposit in Namibia was bought by the Guangdong Nuclear Power Company from Australian miner Extract Resources "A subsidiary of the state-owned Rosaton purchased the Mkuju River project in Tanzania from another Australian company, Mantra."
All purchases of Australian businesses must meet criteria set out by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
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