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China to buy more uranium from Australia

China has expressed keen interest to buy more of Australian uranium as the Communist nation prepares to expand its nuclear energy programme.

world Updated: Apr 03, 2009 09:55 IST

China has expressed keen interest to buy more of Australian uranium as the Communist nation prepares to expand its nuclear energy programme.According to Australia’s resource minister Martin Ferguson, who was qouted by ABC report, on his ministerial visit to Beijing, his discussions with Chinese companies revealed they wanted more Australian uranium.“The expansion of the nuclear industry here in China opens up new resource opportunities for Australia from the point of view of uranium mining,” he said.

“We should be mining more than we are at the moment. There has been considerable exploration across Australia in terms of the uranium industry in recent years and it will expand ... at a time at which we expect an increased demand for uranium internationally,” he said.

However, Ferguson said uranium could not be used by China to build weapons. It was sold on the basis it could only be used for “civil industry purposes” and not stockpiled.The resources minister also acknowledged Chinese companies had holdings in uranium companies in Australia.“They’re not actively mining at the moment but there’s nothing to prevent that company moving forward” for mining.

Last November, the first shipment from the Northern Territory arrived in the Chinese capital but Ferguson said that after discussions he has had with local Chinese companies, they are going to want plenty more.