India’s quest to secure a stable source of uranium has led to chatter that during the East Asia Summit (EAS) — scheduled to take place on October 10 — Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott could strike up a conversation regarding the issue of Australian uranium sales to India.
Official sources for the EAS told the Economic Times of India, that “[t]he new government in Australia has said they would be happy to schedule a meeting on uranium matter relatively very soon and therefore the issue could be deliberated upon during this meeting.”
But Australia is not the place that India is looking to get its uranium — India is in talks with Uzbekistan as a possible source of uranium. The East Asian country has been scoping out prospects in Central Asia to help meet its uranium needs.
India already has standing contracts with Kazakhstan and Mongolia, according to the Times of India. From Uzbekistan, India is hoping to import about 2,000 tonnes of uranium by 2014.
India’s Department of Atomic Energy explained that India “is not … focusing on Central Asia only, but the region happens to have proven reserves of uranium.” At this point, India is trying to secure uranium wherever it can.
Nuclear cooperation agreement finalized
One connection in India’s favor was finalized at the end of September, when a nuclear cooperation agreement (NCA) between India and Canada was set in motion. The NCA has been in the works since 2010, and the negotiation process was finally completed.
Showing support for the NCA was global uranium heavyweight Cameco (TSX:CCO), which sees the NCA as a benefit to both countries.
“India has one of the most aggressive growth plans for nuclear energy in the world,” said Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s president and CEO. “The completion of the Canada-India NCA now gives us the ability to supply Canadian uranium to this important future growth market, which will mean more jobs, more investment and more development here in Canada.”
Gitzel went on to applaud the Canadian and Saskatchewan governments for opening marketing channels to India and securing assurance that Canadian uranium will be used exclusively for peaceful purposes.
AREVA says time to buy
The world’s second-largest uranium producer, AREVA (EPA:AREVA), is advising uranium consumers to start placing their uranium orders before prices pick up.
With uranium prices expected to make a comeback in the near future, Olivier Wantz, head of Areva’s mining division, explained in a recent interview that “[a]ll new nuclear plants will significantly boost demand in coming years, even taking into account the phasing out of German plants.”
Fission Uranium (TSXV:FCU) and Alpha Minerals (TSXV:AMW) released the results from drill hole PLS13-099, which was made along the easternmost section of the R945E zone. The hole returned 144-meter total composite mineralization, including 8 meters total composite of off-scale radioactivity. In short, the hole represents the largest accumulation of mineralized intervals of any drill hole to date at the Patterson Lake South property.
“Hole PLS13-099 has delivered mineralization of incredible width and in a location that extends our confirmed strike length of on trend mineralization to 1.03km. Results include substantial off-scale radioactivity and represent impressive growth for both the zone and the PLS discovery as a whole,” Ross McElroy, president, COO and chief geologist for Fission, said in the company’s statement.
The companies also recently announced that they will be expanding the summer program at Patterson Lake by $2.25 million, bringing the program’s budget total to $9.2 million. With the additional funds, the company will be adding 3,700 meters of drilling to the program, which will be aimed at testing the highly prospective targets on the western side of the R00E zone.
Fission’s other joint venture partner, Azincourt Uranium (TSXV:AAZ), has also been busy lately. The companies released the initial results of the recently acquired VTEM max airborne geophysical survey and exploration plans at the Patterson Lake North property.
Ted O’Connor, president and CEO of Azincourt, commented, “[i]t is great to see the VTEM max survey has had immediate results defining a new north-south conductor system and ground follow up has already started. Azincourt is looking forward to developing the target inventory at PLN and starting the drill program with Fission this winter.”
Aldrin Resource (TSXV:ALN) just announced a non-brokered private placement of $1 million. The private placement consists of up to 10,000,000 units at a price of $0.10 per unit. Further to the news, Aldrin also announced an agreement to purchase a 100-percent interest in the Virgin uranium property in the Athabasca Basin.
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.