Wanted: African Uranium Resources

Source:

"Currently, 111 Chinese companies hold exploration licenses for uranium and other resources in Botswana."

In the hunt to secure uranium supplies and a strong position in the uranium market, several key players are establishing a presence on the African stage. In Namibia, Paladin Energy Ltd. [TSX: PDN] is expanding its Langer Heinrich mine and Russia is quickly becoming an active partner in the nation's uranium industry. Denison Mines Corp. [TSX: DML] is looking forward to production out of Zambia. And in Botswana, China and Japan are competing for uranium resources.

As a part of his four-nation tour of resource-rich Africa, of which energy is a top issue, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited uranium-laden Namibia last week. Medvedev said talks with the southern African nation's leaders included expanding co-operation on its many uranium deposits.

Russia has already begun exploring for yellow cake in Namibia. Back in 2007, the Namibian government granted an exploration license to a joint venture headed by Russian uranium seller Tekhsnabexport.

"Namibia very much needs to develop its energy sphere," said Russian natural resources minister Yury Trutnev. He also said that his government would like to lend Namibia a hand in developing its nuclear industry. Demand for nuclear fuel from Russia alone could make Namibia a major producer.

In Botswana, China and Japan are competing for uranium resources. While Japanese companies have stepped up their efforts, the Chinese are steps ahead.

"The Chinese are venturing into areas, which have huge potential for exploration and development of these resources," said Johannes Tsimako, Chief Geologist at the Department of Geological Services.

With 12 nuclear reactors under construction, 33 planned and 80 more proposed, China is intent on meeting its growing energy demands.

Currently, 111 Chinese companies hold exploration licenses for uranium and other resources in Botswana. Reportedly, the Chinese want total control of their exploration activities rather than just owning shares or partnering in joint ventures.

"The Chinese companies would prefer to hold 100% equity in the company holding ground and would rather own the exploration license themselves. Even if they bought into an existing company, they would want to take it over," said Tsimako.

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