19.10.2018_No208 / News in Brief

Berkeley Energia Responds To Spanish Media Reports On Future Of Spain’s Salamanca Uranium Mine

Uranium & Fuel

19 Oct (NucNet): Berkeley Energia chief executive Paul Atherley has told investors that the company remains “firmly committed” to developing its Salamanca uranium mine in northwestern Spain, although he said that continuing investment would depend upon the company receiving approvals to start construction.

“We are working closely with the relevant authorities and are confident that with due process these approvals will be forthcoming, however, in the meantime, we are taking the necessary steps to reduce costs,” Mr Atherley said, as the company released its quarterly report.

The company issued a separate statement responding to unconfirmed Spanish media reports that the Spanish government is intending to deny the company the necessary permits to open the Salamanca project.

The company said it had noted the reports and also noted that Spain's Nuclear Safety Council and energy and environment ministry have both declined to comment on the report.

“The company has received no official notice in this regard from the Nuclear Safety Council nor any other government department to date,” the statement said.

“The company has contacted both the Nuclear Safety Council and the Energy and Environment Ministry seeking immediate clarification of these reports and will make an announcement as soon as a response is received.”

Press reports said the project was granted preliminary approval in early 2013 but has since faced local opposition.

Mr Atherley said: “Over the past decade we have invested over €70m into the Salamanca mine which is in a region suffering from some of the highest levels of youth unemployment within the European Union.

“Our future €250m investment requires no government subsidy, will potentially generate over 2,500 direct and indirect jobs, will stimulate the return of services such as schools, petrol stations and transport to the local villages and has the potential to bring back some of the 120,000 mainly young people who have left the area over the last few years to look for employment.”

Berkeley’s quarterly report highlighted strong and growing local support for the Salamanca mine project – with a campaign receiving over 1,600 signatures, and some 22,850 job applications sent to the company.

The company said it is working closely with its legal advisors and it continues to seek an express resolution from the local municipality on the award of the Urbanism Licence. There are two outstanding items, which the company said it has now responded to.

The Salamanca mine is the biggest of its kind in Europe and the only major uranium mine in the world to start construction in recent years.

According to Berkeley Energia, which is headquartered in London and listed on the London stock exchange, Salamanca could produce 4.4 million pounds of uranium a year at its peak during its planned 14 years of operation, although the company is searching for more deposits and that lifetime could yet be extended.

First uranium production had been expected in the middle of 2019 following about 12 months of construction and six months of commissioning.

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David Dalton

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