Canada eases uranium investment rules for European companies


Oct 18 (Reuters) - Canada has agreed to waive for Europeancompanies a longstanding requirement that buyers take on aCanadian partner in uranium mines, a move that may spur greaterinvestment in developing the country's rich uranium reserves.

The move, part of the Canada-European Union free tradeagreement announced on Friday, comes after intense lobbying fromFrance-based Areva SA and Anglo-Australian Rio TintoPlc for Canada to scrap the Cold War erapolicy.

Canada, the world's second biggest producer of uraniumbehind Kazakhstan, currently restricts foreign companies fromowning more than 49 percent of any uranium mine. There are noownership restrictions on foreign participation in exploration.

Lifting the requirement for European companies would appearto benefit Areva, in which the French government owns acontrolling stake. Areva owns the Kiggavik project in thenorthern Canadian territory of Nunavut.

European companies will continue to be subject to otherreviews of their investments by Ottawa, according to theCanadian government.

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