Canada says no decision yet on revising uranium policy

Fri Dec 2, 2011 3:06pm EST
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By Julie Gordon

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada is reviewing a policy that restricts foreign ownership of uranium mines, but there has been no decision on revising those rules at this time, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said on Friday.

Canada is the world's second largest producer of uranium and home to the highest grade uranium mines in the world.

"We've been looking at it, but I can't say that there's been any decision on it at this point," Oliver told a Reuters editorial board in Toronto.

Foreign ownership of operating uranium mines in Canada is currently restricted to 49 percent under federal policy.

The policy does not effect exploration stage projects.

"I know there's an interest on the part of foreign companies in seeing it change, and that includes companies in China," Oliver said. "But that's the policy at the current time."

The foreign ownership restrictions could end up being an issue for Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto (RIO.AX: Quote), which is in the midst of a C$654 million ($643 million) takeover of Canada's Hathor Exploration HAT.TO.

Hathor owns numerous exploration projects and is developing the Roughrider deposit in the uranium-rich Athabasca region of Western Canada.   Continued...