14 January 2015
As part of Rio Tinto’s plan to do more business with India, the company is in talks to sell the country its uranium.
But CEO Sam Walsh also flagged Rio’s intention of striking a uranium deal with the country.
Last year the Australian government announced a uranium supply deal with India and Walsh said once the proper processes are in place there is a clear opportunity “for us and Australia here”.
Rio owns Energy Resources of Australia’s uranium mine in the Northern Territory.
Mining at the site has finished for now, but an expansion project called Ranger 3 Deeps is on track and expected to submit a pre-feasibility study by the first quarter of this year.
Mining and energy trade have dominated talks at the Australia Business Week in India over the last few days.
Reg Howard-Smith, the head of the Western Australia Chamber of Minerals and Energy said India was “hungry for energy”.
“With increasing urbanisation and a desire to reduce poverty and other societal issues this government has, then energy is obviously a key import.”
While India is a not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, there are 22 safeguard agreements in place and India has committed to using uranium for peaceful purposes only.
A growing population means energy demands in India are booming, with reports its coal-based power plants are struggling to keep up with daily demand.
The country has 20 nuclear power reactors with a generation capacity of 4,780 MW, and the government intends to upgrade this power capacity to 20,000 MW by 2020.
India has signed similar uranium agreements with several other countries including Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan, France, Russia and the US.
14 January 2015