Rio Tinto in talks to ship uranium to India
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is in talks to begin exporting Australian uranium to India in the next two years, its chief executive said, as soon as agreements over the use of the material are finalized.
"Once all those steps are in place, clearly there is an opportunity for us and Australia here," Sam Walsh told reporters earlier this week, according to Reuters.
The prospect of selling Australian uranium to India have been embraced by both the Gillard and the Abbott governments, after being formerly being barred because of India's resolution to hold on to its nuclear weapons.
Just as its neighbour Pakistan, the Asian giant has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and Australia has never before shipped uranium to a non-signatory of the NPT.
For now, Rio only counts on Olympic Dam in South Australia, and the Beverley project as two of the largest uranium mining projects currently in operations, which could help meet an anticipated increased demand.
Rio’s output from the Ranger site — run by its subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia (ASX:ERA) — has been steadily declining. The project had 1.27 million tons of product milled last year and about 2.57 million pounds of uranium. That is 45% and 61% lower than in 2013, respectively.