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This article was first published 11 years ago  » News » Aus to begin uranium sale to India after negotiations

Aus to begin uranium sale to India after negotiations

Source: PTI
December 04, 2012 19:44 IST
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Australia on Tuesday said the actual start of uranium trade with India will depend on negotiations on the issue between the two countries.

"The question is when we get to the point of actually doing it – that depends on the way the negotiations between the two countries develop," Australia's Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said while speaking at the fourth Australia-India Roundtable.

He said the ruling Labour Party's decision in December last year to open up uranium sales to India had a "major symbolic importance".

Australia's known uranium resources are the world's largest -- 31 per cent. In 2011-12, Australia produced 7,700 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate.

The Australian minister said the India-United States civil nuclear agreement was central to Australia's decision to open up uranium trade with India.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard had, during their meeting in October, decided to launch negotiations for a civil nuclear pact.

In December last year, the Labour Party led by Gillard had cleared the way for the export of Australian uranium to India, after a strong debate on the floor of the party's 46th national conference.

Despite resistance from opponents, the landmark policy change was carried out, paving the way for Australia's first country-to-country agreement to sell the yellow cake to a country outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. India is not a signatory to the NPT.

Ferguson asked Indian businessmen to invest in the fast-developing energy sector in Australia which is poised to be the largest exporter of LNG in the world.

He said Australia will have an export capacity of 20-25 million tonnes by early next year and will reach 70-80 million tonnes, becoming the largest exporter of LNG.

"It is a good opportunity for Indian businessmen to invest in Australian energy markets," the minister said.

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