On Thursday, the governments of China and Canada renewed yet
again their bilateral ties over a planned sale of some $3 billion
uranium yellowcake exports to the world's second-largest
Under the agreement, Canada will enable China gain access to
its uranium produce provide the Asian nation uses it for civilian
purposes, such as energy generation for its many existing and
planned nuclear power plants. The strategic partnership is touted
to be worth as much as $3 billion.
"This agreement will help Canadian uranium companies to
substantially increase exports to China, the world's fastest
growing market for these products," Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper said in a statement, during a trip to Beijing. "It
will generate jobs here at home while contributing to the use of
clean reliable energy in China."
"Today there are 14 nuclear reactors operating in China, there
are 27 under construction today and many dozens more expected by
2020. That's growth we haven't seen [in the nuclear power
industry] since the 1970s," said Tim Gitzel, Cameco Corp. Chief
Executive and part of Mr Harper's delegation on the China
Canada's entry effectively puts it into direct competition
with China's other current suppliers of uranium from Kazakhstan,
Australia and Russia. The world's second largest exporter, after
Kazakhstan, and ahead of Australia, Canada sends most of its
exports to the U.S., Europe and Japan.
According to the World Nuclear Association, Canada produces
about a fifth of the world's uranium every year and exports more
than 80 per cent of its production.
Chinese companies signed billion dollar worth of deals in
aviation, finance, rail transit mining, telecommunications,
environmental protection, education and drugs with their Canadian
counterparts during Mr Harper's visit to China, Xinhua News
reported. No details were provided.
Mr Harper met Vice Premier Li Keqiang briefly before the fifth
China-Canadian Business Forum, at which the deals were signed,
the Chinese state news organization added.
"We couldn't deliver Canadian uranium here until this
agreement was signed so it opens the door for us to do that," Mr
In 2010, Cameco agreed into a supply arrangement with
China to sell about 52 million pounds of uranium for Chinese
reactors over 15 years. Delivery is expected to start this
spring. Cameco expects some $3 billion sales from the
Yellowcake is a concentrated uranium powder used to make fuel
rods for nuclear reactors. It can also be used to make weapons.
As part of the pact with Canada, China agreed to use any imported
uranium only for peaceful civilian purposes.
Following the pronouncement of the two heads of state, the
Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (
), expects Canada and China to finalise and renew their
memorandum of understanding on nuclear energy cooperation to
cover research and development activity on recycled uranium and
thorium. This would further expand access to China's market for
Canadian nuclear technology, the CME said.
CME is Canada's largest trade and industry association, and
the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada.
Kazakhstan 2011 Uranium Production Grows to
19,000 T; Future World Demand to Exceed Uranium Supply