Global Uranium Resource Competition Heats Up

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". . .energy-hungry India has been making uranium and nuclear agreements with Russia, France, Kazakhstan, Niger, Namibia and the U.S."

A look at India's latest agreements with uranium-rich nations around the globe and China's swooping up of yet another uranium miner paints a telling picture of the frantic race to secure long-term supplies for a new generation of nuclear power plants.

Both India and China have plans to aggressively ramp up their nuclear power generation over the coming decades, and the domestic supplies of both Asian nations are insufficient to meet demand.

At present, China has 11 operating reactors, 16 in the works and 35 others planned over the next decade. The Asian nation is seeking to expand its nuclear capacity from the current 9 GW to 86 GW by 2020. To do this, it will need to rely on imports of foreign uranium as its domestic supply doesn't even come close; hence, its aggressive campaign as of late to acquire uranium mines around the world.

India has 17 operating reactors, six under construction and an additional 23 expected to begin production over the next decade. By 2030, the country may be producing as much as 60,000 megawatts of nuclear energy, according to government figures.

The uranium produced from India's Jaduguda mines in Jharkhand is not enough to satisfy even current demands and attempts to access uranium from other known Indian ore bodies are still in the early exploration phase.

Since the three-decade long ban on uranium exports to India was lifted in September of last year, energy-hungry India has been making uranium and nuclear agreements with Russia, France, Kazakhstan, Niger, Namibia and the U.S. Negotiations with Canada and Brazil are on the table, as well.

It's reported that India's state-run Nuclear Power Corp is planning to spend over $1.2 billion to purchase equity in foreign uranium mines.

India and Mongolia entered into an agreement for civil nuclear cooperation this week that will give India access to Mongolian uranium. In return, Mongolia will receive a US$25 million loan from India.

According to the World Nuclear Association, Mongolia has about 62,000 tons of recoverable uranium reserves. Of course, India is competing with China, Russia and Western miners for a piece of that pie.

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