November 30, 2016 / 10:50 PM / 3 years ago

Paladin Energy, lenders in talks as uranium mine stake sale stalls

MELBOURNE, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Uranium miner Paladin Energy said on Thursday it is talking to its bondholders and others to shore up its finances as a planned sale of a stake in its main mine to a Chinese state-owned firm has been delayed.

Paladin agreed to sell a 24 percent stake in its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia in July to an arm of China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) for $175 million and flagged on Thursday the deal will not close by year-end.

It said it was still talking to CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings, but needed to find other ways to meet an April 2017 deadline to pay off $212 million in convertible bonds and line up “any additional working capital requirements it may have going forward if the current low uranium spot price persists.”

Uranium prices crashed after the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan, with spot uranium at record lows below $18 a pound, stoking losses for the world’s uranium producers.

In an effort to cope with the severe downturn, Paladin two years ago shut one of its mines - Kayelekara in Malawi - and last year sold a 25 percent stake in the Langer Heinrich mine to CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings. (Reporting by Sonali Paul, editing by G Crosse)

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