* Cameco, CNNC unit have deal for 23 mln lbs by 2020
* Cameco shares down in afternoon trading
By Rod Nickel
March 13 Canada's Cameco Corp has begun
shipping uranium concentrate to China, the company said, tapping
into what could become a lucrative market for years to come.
Saskatchewan-based Cameco signed an agreement in 2010 to
supply China Nuclear Energy Industry Corp, a unit of China
National Nuclear Corp, with 23 million pounds of uranium
concentrate through 2020. The same year, it also signed a deal
to supply China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co Ltd with 29
million pounds of uranium concentrate through 2025.
Cameco has made shipments under both deals, with more
deliveries to come later this year, company spokesman Rob
Gereghty said on Wednesday.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall told reporters on Tuesday the
Canadian and Chinese governments have an agreement on nuclear
cooperation. That pact ensures monitoring to verify that
Canadian uranium is used for civilian purposes, such as
"Basically, every hurdle has been cleared," Wall said, in
comments to reporters that were recorded by his office.
The uranium deal with CNNC is worth C$1 billion ($971
million) at current prices, and could lead to mine expansions in
Saskatchewan, Wall said.
Prior to the most recent supply deals, Cameco has delivered
to China uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a chemical compound of
uranium, and finished fuel bundles, Gereghty said.
The company's shares were down nearly 2 percent in afternoon
trading in New York and Toronto.
CNNC is China's largest generator of nuclear power, while
Canada is the world's second-biggest uranium producer, after
Kazakhstan. A CNNC delegation visited Saskatchewan on Tuesday.
Wall said uranium mining will be a theme in Saskatchewan's
2013-14 budget, which his Saskatchewan Party government will
unveil next Wednesday.