Canada’s uranium producers are nothing if not world class. In 2011, 8.69 million tonnes of uranium worth $1.1 billion was produced, all of it from Saskatchewan. That makes us second in the world, behind Kazakhstan (17.8 million tonnes) and well ahead of Australia (5.9 million tonnes).
Canada supplies 18.2% of world’s uranium, but there are certain precautions used when choosing a customer. No Canadian uranium can be sold to a country that has not signed an agreement to use it only for peaceful purposes. On April 8, 2013, the governments of Canada and India signed such a pact that will come into force shortly.
The agreement outlines the tracking, monitoring and reporting requirements that will ensure the material is used for peaceful civilian purposes only. The agreement allows Canadian companies to export nuclear materials, equipment and technology to India, in accordance with Canada’s nuclear non-proliferation policy.
India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world, and its electricity supply will triple within 25 years. Nuclear already meets one-quarter of the country’s energy needs, and much of the increased capacity will come from nuclear power plants. The country has 20 such plants now and has six more on the drawing board. India has plans to reach a nuclear power capacity of 63,000 MW in 2032.
Canadians now have access to a growing nuclear market. All sectors of the industry can expand there.
As Mining Association of Canada president and CEO Pierre Gratton summed up, “This puts Canada in position to capitalize on growing global demand for nuclear energy and opens up the uranium sector to India, which is a large and strategic emerging market for the commodity as a key source of power. The arrangement is a significant accomplishment for Canada, and bodes well for the country’s uranium producers and the Canadian export industry as a whole.”