Uranium & Fuel

Berkeley Energia / Proposed Amendment To Spanish Law ‘Contrary To Constitution’

By David Dalton
19 October 2020

Proposed Amendment To Spanish Law ‘Contrary To Constitution’
File photo of drilling at the Salamanca uranium mine site in northern Spain. Courtesy Berkeley Energia.
A proposed amendment to Spain’s draft climate change and energy transition bill that would prohibit the investigation and exploitation of radioactive minerals has no justified reason and is contrary to the Spanish constitution, uranium mining company Berkeley Energia said.

The company, which is trying to develop the Salamanca uranium mine in northwestern Spain, said that under the proposed amendment uranium mining would be prohibited and any open proceedings related to the authorisation of radioactive facilities of the nuclear fuel cycle for the processing of such minerals would be closed.

In a statement the company said: “Berkeley's position on the content of this proposed amendment is clear: prohibition of economic activities in Spain with no justified reasons is contrary to the Spanish constitution and to the legal rights recognised by other international instruments.

“In particular, it must be taken into account that the company currently holds legal, valid and consolidated rights for the investigation and exploitation of its mining projects, including a valid 30-year mining licence (renewable for two further periods of 30 years) for the Salamanca mine.”

Berkeley Energia said: “The company is continuing to engage with the relevant authorities in a collaborative manner in progressing the approval process for the Salamanca mine and will keep the market fully informed of any developments.”

The proposed amendment to the bill must now be reviewed and approved or rejected by parliament’s commission of ecological transition and then follow the same process in the Senate.

In October 2018 then Berkeley Energia chief executive Paul Atherley told investors that the company remained “firmly committed” to developing Salamanca, although he said continuing investment would depend upon the company receiving approvals to start construction.

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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