* Cameco down 7.36 pct at C$29.71
* Uranium One reviews Mantra deal, shrs down 5.9 pct
* Spot uranium prices seen under pressure
* China orders safety crackdown on new reactors
TORONTO, March 16 Shares of uranium producers
turned lower on Wednesday afternoon after early gains were hit
by China's plan to tighten safety approvals for new reactors
and as the nuclear crisis intensified in Japan.
Top Canadian producer Cameco (CCO.TO), which had rebounded
late on Tuesday, fell over 11 percent to C$28.41 on the Toronto
Stock Exchange before rebounding to C$29.71 for a loss of 7.36
percent by late afternoon.
Uranium One UUU.TO was down 5.9 percent at C$3.51, after
it announced that it was reconsidering a deal to buy
Australia's Mantra Resources MRU.AXMRL.TO for A$1.2 billion
($1.18 billion) in light of the Japanese crisis. Mantra's
Toronto-listed shares slipped 31 percent to C$4.80.
Shares of Denison Mines (DML.TO) fell 1.7 percent to
C$2.30, while Paladin Energy (PDN.TO) (PDN.AX) was down 6.61
percent at C$3.25.
Investors also remained cautious on Uranium Participation
Corp (U.TO), an investment fund that holds physical stocks of
enriched uranium. It was down 8 percent at C$6.29.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Chinese government said it was
tightening it approvals and safety procedures for new reactors
as Japanese authorities scrambled to bring a quake-damaged
nuclear power plant back from the brink of disaster.
"We will temporarily suspend approval of nuclear power
projects, including those in the preliminary stages of
development, before nuclear safety regulations are approved,"
China's State Council said in a statement.
The announcement came as Japan struggled to cool down a
nuclear power plant north of Tokyo that was severely damaged by
the 9.0 magnitude quake and tsunami.
China has announced plans to boost nuclear power output to
at least 80 gigawatts from a current 11 gigawatts.
BMO Capital Markets analyst Edward Sterck noted that China
could also be looking to curb the bullish uranium market that
sent spot uranium prices up more than 76 percent in under six
"I think China is trying to dampen expectations," said
Sterck. "I think they will continue to expand their nuclear
power, though it could be that it is at a slower rate."
Spot uranium fell 9.8 percent on Monday to $60 a pound.
On Wednesday, analysts said that spot prices had had fallen
below $60 and that uranium, which is used to fuel nuclear
reactors, could touch year lows in the mid-$40 range.
"It could easily go back, easily," said GMP Securities
analyst David Wargo. "Will it stay down there? Probably not for
long, but it could easily move back down to that level."
(Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Peter Galloway)