UPDATE 1-Uranium miner Cameco to sell Bruce Power stake

Fri Jan 31, 2014 3:35pm EST
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By Allison Martell

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Canadian uranium miner Cameco Corp said on Friday it has agreed to sell its interest in Bruce Power, a partnership that operates one of the world's largest nuclear generating facilities in Ontario, for C$450 million ($403 million).

But with uranium prices languishing, Cameco Chief Executive Tim Gitzel is in no rush to spend the proceeds of the deal.

He would rather set it aside to develop assets the company has already acquired - the Millennium project in northern Saskatchewan and the Yeelirrie project in Western Australia, for example - but not until time is right.

"We've got significant uranium pounds under our control, and we're just waiting for the market to improve," Gitzel told Reuters. "As the uranium market improves, as we believe it will over the next period of time - years, I would say - we want to be ready."

About the price Cameco would look for before developing those projects, Gitzel said something north of $70 a pound "would be a starting point."

In the third quarter, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based miner's average realized uranium price was $50.73 a pound, and it has contracts with customers at prices above the spot market.

Prices have been weak since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, badly damaging the Fukushima Daiichi atomic power plant and leading Japan - then a heavy user of nuclear power - to shut down nearly all of its reactors.   Continued...