Cameco gains 49% interest in laser enrichment JV, shares up

The SILEX laser-based uranium enrichment technology was developed during the 1990s and was licensed exclusively to GLE in 2006. Credit: Silex Systems.

Cameco (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ) has increased its interest in Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE) following completion of the Membership Interest Purchase Agreement (MIPA) to restructure the technology development joint venture.

GLE is the exclusive licensee of the proprietary SILEX laser enrichment technology, a third-generation uranium enrichment technology that is in the development phase.

Under the MIPA, Cameco and Australian-based technology company Silex Systems would jointly purchase GE-Hitachi’s 76% equity interest in GLE, after which Cameco’s ownership of GLE would rise from 24% to 49%, with Silex acquiring the remaining 51%.

Cameco is the commercial lead for the project and has an option to attain a majority interest of up to 75%. The Canadian uranium producer first joined the project in 2008.

Cameco is the commercial lead for the project and has an option to attain a majority interest of up to 75%

Following GE-Hitachi’s decision to leave the venture in 2016, the parties agreed to restructure the project ownership, leading to the MIPA executed in December 2019.

Earlier this year, the proposed GLE restructure obtained approval from the US government, after concluding that there are no unresolved national security concerns arising from the transaction.

Prior to that, GLE had received notice from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it will be granted a stand-alone Facility Clearance, which will enable the business to continue to operate under new ownership as a foreign owned entity.

“We are pleased to play a growing role with Silex in the GLE partnership and to support GLE’s advancement of SILEX laser enrichment technology,” Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel said in a press release.

“While there are still a number of development milestones before this technology could be commercialized, we believe it has excellent potential to expand Cameco’s reach in the nuclear fuel cycle in the future, building on the existing world-class assets and capabilities we already possess in uranium production, refining, conversion and fuel fabrication.”

Shares of Cameco were up 18.1% by midday Monday, having hit a 52-week high of C$19.42 a share earlier in the session.

As the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company, it currently has a market capitalization of approximately C$6.3 billion.

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