Canada and Australia in a race to sell uranium to India

Canada and Australia  in a race to sell uranium to India

India has a demand -supply mismatch for uranium. The country  is looking forward to import uranium from  foreign sources to augment the indigenous supply of this precious resource.

Is there any surprise why Canada and Australia are interested in doing uranium business with India? Both know that India is a good market for uranium. They may be worried that India can source all  its long term uranium needs from Kazakhstan which is presently producing more uranium than the combined production of Canada and Australia. Kazakhstan started supplying substantial quantities of uranium to India since 2011-12. Till March 31, 2015 India imported 1495.9 metric tonnes from Kazakhstan.

Josh Wingrove  columnist of  BloombergBusiness reports that India’s deal to buy uranium from Canadian producer Cameco Corp. will be unveiled on Wednesday as Ottawa hosts the visit of  India’s prime minister  Mr Narendra Modi.

The link to the report:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-14/canadians-wary-of-nuclear-deal-as-india-s-narendra-modi-visits

Live Mint today   quoted Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop as saying that  India and Australia may finalize an agreement by the end of the year that will enable supply of nuclear fuel to India.

“Officials from the two countries would hold another round of talks next week on problems concerning the processes governing the sale, transfer, transportation and use of uranium imported from Australia”, Elizabeth Roche of Line Mint quoted Bishop after attending a media briefing..

“The agreement on administrative arrangements will also include an understanding on tracking uranium bought from Australia. According to India, all nuclear fuel would be tracked and inventoried by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which works under the aegis of the UN”. she added.

If  Indo Canadian uranium deal  is completed during Mr. Modi’s visit, it may hasten the deal with Australia.

According to the data provided by the World Nuclear Assocation, Kazakhstan has dominated uranium production since 2009 forcing Canada and Australia  to second and third position respectively. The production figures for Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia and India are given in Table 1

Country 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Kazakhstan 6637 8521 14020 17803 19451 21317 22451 22829
Canada 9476 9000 10173 9783 9145 8999 9331 9090
Australia 8611 8430 7982 5900 5983 6991 6350 5000

To realize India’s position we may compare the above production figures with those of India for the years 2007,2008,2009,2010, 2011, 2012, 2013  2014(NA)

India (est) 270 271 290 400 400 385 385

For the same period  uranium production for Pakistan, China and Russia are  as follows( the figures for Pakistan and China for 2014 are not available):

Pakistan (est) 45 45 50 45 45 45 45
China (est) 712 769 750 827 885 1500 1500
Russia 3413 3521 3564 3562 2993 2872 3135 2990

(Production figures for uranium for all countries including India  are from World Nuclear Association 2015)

India has been importing uranium in the form of uranium concentrates  and  uranium dioxide pellets from Russia and Kazakhstan for the past several years.

Following are the quantities of uranium imported into India from Russia and Kazakhstan .

Uranium import  to India as on March 31, 2015

Country            2011-12      2012-13  2013-14  2014-15

Russia             296.08        295.64    296.31     296.54
Kazakhstan      350.00       402.5      460.00     283.40

Canada and Australia know that they can no longer wait in this business.

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About ksparthasarathy

I am a former Secretary of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board. I am a former Raja Ramanna Fellow in the Department of Atomic Energy. Free lance journalism is my hobby
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