December 03, 2015

Premier Marks Saskatchewan's First Uranium Shipment to India

India has a dynamic and growing nuclear energy industry, and uranium from Saskatchewan is now officially part of the electricity generation mix for that country.

“India has just received its first shipment of Saskatchewan uranium under the Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, and today we mark an economic milestone for our uranium mining industry and our province,” Premier Brad Wall said.  “All of Saskatchewan benefits from having this major new customer for our resource, but this export news is particularly welcome for uranium workers, nearly half of whom are First Nations and Métis.”

The uranium shipment from Saskatoon-based Cameco Corporation arrived in India today.  It consists of product mined and milled at Cameco’s McArthur River and Key Lake operations in northern Saskatchewan.

The shipment is the first under a five-year contract to supply 7.1 million pounds of uranium concentrate that Cameco subsidiary Cameco Inc. signed with the Department of Atomic Energy of India in April of this year.  The premier witnessed that signing in Ottawa during a state visit to Canada by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Opening new markets for Saskatchewan uranium in rapidly growing countries like India and China was a priority for the former federal government,” Wall said.  “We are thankful for those efforts.”

The Canada-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, out of which the contract proceeds, came into force in September 2013, allowing Canadian companies to export nuclear products for peaceful uses to India.

“Strong support from the Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada was instrumental in gaining timely access to the Indian market for our products,” Cameco Corporation President and CEO Tim Gitzel said.  “The renewal of nuclear co-operation and trade between Canada and India will create jobs and opportunity in Canada and help advance the growth of clean nuclear power in a country where more than 300 million people have no access to electricity.”

The premier promoted Saskatchewan’s uranium resources during his two government trade missions to India in March 2011 and November 2014.  During the first mission, he met with Modi, then the chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat.

India is the world’s second fastest growing market for nuclear fuel.  The country has 21 reactors currently in operation, with another six under construction and scheduled to come online over the next four years.  India plans to increase its current nuclear capacity of 5,800 megawatts to 27,500 megawatts by 2032.

Saskatchewan is the world’s second-leading producer of uranium and is home to 100 per cent of Canada’s uranium mining industry.  The industry employs more than 4,000 people, with almost half of its mining workforce residents of northern Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan uranium exports add approximately $1.2 billion annually to the Canadian economy.