China buys Aussie uranium mine

Long term plans for 60pc ownership: One of its giant metals corporations, Sinosteel, has taken the first step to owning 60 per cent of the Crocker Well uranium field in South Australia, which is now held by Sydney-based explorer PepinNini.

Non-military use only: In April, the federal Government agreed that China could buy uranium from Australia under strict controls designed to ensure it is used only for non-military purposes.

Much more investment forecast: Paul Heithersay, the executive director of minerals and energy in South Australia’s Department of Mineral Resources, said future Chinese interest in the state’s uranium deposits was likely once the export deal was ratified. "I expect to see a lot more investment interest after this particular agreement," said Mr Heithersay, who played a role in the negotiations between Sinosteel and PepinNini.

SA ALP under pressure on mine numbers: While a working mine is some years away, the move will put further pressure on the Labor Party’s policy against no new mines which will be debated fiercely in the lead-up to next year’s federal election.

The Australian, 14/9/2006, p.1

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