Spanish uranium projects in arbitration

03 April 2012

The partners in a joint venture to bring back uranium mining in Spain have entered an arbitration process that could result in the payment of over $200 million in damages from Enusa to Berkeley Resources. The Salamanca 1 project is unaffected and was said to remain on course for construction in 2013.

Berkeley announced today that it has initiated proceedings against Enusa with the International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. The Australian uranium firm blames the Spanish nuclear fuel company for delays in the setting up of a joint venture company; Berkeley executives said Enusa had breached the terms of their agreement.

"It is the opinion of Berkeley, and its legal advisors in Spain, that Enusa has, on a number of occasions, unjustifiably refused to honour its contractual obligations under the cooperation agreement of 29 January 2009," said Berkeley. Enusa did not comment on the matter.

The companies had been working together to revive uranium production at Aguila and Alameda using an existing mill at Quercus, all of which Berkeley has the right to buy up to 90%. The necessary joint venture company was to be owned 90% by Berkeley and 10% by Enusa, but Enusa has "failed to incorporate" the new company since Berkeley's decision to go ahead in January 2011.

Berkeley claims it should therefore be repaid the €5 million ($6.6 million) it spent on an Enusa database to support the projects as well as sums that went on feasibility studies relating to Aguila and Alameda. The total is "estimated to be in excess of $200 million," said Berkeley.

Separately in the country Berkeley owns a uranium development at Salamanca 1, which it said remains on schedule and slated for the start of construction next year, although it had been planned to use the Quercus mill.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News