Toro Energy in talks with Asian investors to take Wiluna to production

Australian uranium explorer Toro Energy (ASX: TOE) plans to bring in an external partner to help it develop the $280 million Wiluna mine before deciding whether to go ahead with the project by the end of the year.

Bloomberg reports the firm is in talks with seven potential partners in Japan, China and South Korea, which could acquire between 30% and 50% of the mine as part of the agreement.

Wiluna is the first Australian uranium mine to obtain both state and federal approval in four years and it has drawn interest from Asian miners and nuclear utilities.

First uranium sales from the mine, located in resource-rich West Australia, are expected in 2014.

Despite Australia not using nuclear power itself, the country is the world’s No. 3 uranium producer behind Kazakhstan and Canada, exporting 6,888 tonnes of oxide concentrate in 2010, worth more than $630 million.

Photo of Wiluna by Tim Acker, 2007. Courtesy of The National Museum of Australia via The Commons.