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China buys share in Areva mining
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French nuclear engineering company Areva has agreed to sell a 49-percent stake in its uranium mining unit UraMin to China, in a move to boost its strategic partnership in the rapidly growing market.

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co and China's sovereign wealth funds will take 49 percent of UraMin, Paris-based Areva said. They did not disclose how much China would pay. Areva acquired Canada's UraMin for US$2.5 billion last year.

In return, CGNPC would be guaranteed access to more than half of the production of UraMin, which operates mines in Africa. Areva said it would remain the operator of UraMin's current and future projects while benefiting from additional means of financing its activities from the Chinese investment.

CGNPC Chairman Qian Zhimin said the deal would help secure uranium supply for its nuclear power plants until 2022. In another deal, Areva and CGNPC also agreed to form a joint venture for the engineering and procurement of nuclear power plants.

The venture, 55 percent held by Chinese interests and 45 percent by Areva, would initially focus on CGNPC's projects in China and later contribute to joint projects abroad. The two agreements are part of an overarching 8-billion-euro (US$10.9 billion) deal between Areva and CGNPC signed late last year.

(Shanghai Daily October 9, 2008)

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