• State-owned China General Nuclear secures 20% stake in Fission
  • Deal includes agreement for up to 35% of Fission's production

China plans to take a stake in Fission Uranium Corp. that includes a supply deal allowing it to buy up to 35 percent of the Canadian mining company’s annual uranium production.

CGN Mining Co., a unit of state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp., will invest C$82.2 million ($59 million) for a 19.99 percent stake in British Columbia-based Fission, which specializes in exploration and development of the Patterson Lake South uranium deposit in Canada’s Athabasca Basin.

“It signals to the market that China is still committed to nuclear energy as it continues to add investments in uranium as fuel, despite the poor global economy,” Rob Chang, managing director of metals and mining research for Canada at Cantor Fitzgerald LP, said by e-mail. “It’s China’s first foray into Canada, which marks a departure from most of its uranium supply investments, which have been primarily in the less stable African nations.”

China is aiming to have 58 gigawatts of nuclear-generating capacity by 2020. Of the 64 reactors currently under construction globally, 21 are in China, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

“China is the leader, by far, of new nuclear power plants,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, said during a briefing in Tokyo on Monday. “China is opening a new chapter in the nuclear industry.”

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