Friday 23 October 2009

BHP Planning to Sell Uranium to China ‘for Decades’

As Venezuela positions itself to sell more oil to help China meet its rising demands, Australia’s BHP Billiton mining giant is getting ready to export uranium to China as the country prepares to expand its nuclear energy program. From AFP:

The chief executive of the Anglo-Australian miner, Marius Kloppers, said BHP Billiton was “very actively positioning” to take advantage of China’s move towards greater use of nuclear energy.

[...] BHP Billiton, whose Olympic Dam in South Australia holds the world’s largest known uranium reserves, said nuclear energy could help cut back on carbon emissions, which are generated from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal.

[...] Australia and China last year ratified a nuclear agreement clearing the way for the export of uranium to feed Beijing’s giant nuclear power programme.

While BHP Billiton does not yet have any supply contracts with China, it exports uranium to the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and the United States.
China is heavily dependent on cheap coal to generate much of its electricity but is on a drive to cut carbon and other pollution in its smog-filled cities by going at least partly green. Statistics show it consumed 2.74bn tonnes of coal in 2008, up 4.5% on the previous year, but the rate of growth was 1.6% lower than in 2007.

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