Uranium miner Berkeley Energia receives $120m from Oman wealth fund

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Berkeley Energia's Salamanca mine will be funded into production through the investment
Berkeley Energia's Salamanca mine will be funded into production through the investment (Source: Berkeley Energia)

Spain-based uranium miner Berkeley Energia has received $120m (£92.8m) in investment from Oman's sovereign wealth fund.

The funding will help the Aim-listed miner finish construction of its Salamanca uranium mine in Spain, where production is set to start in early 2019.

The investment includes an interest-free and unsecured convertible loan of $65m, which can be converted into ordinary shares at 50p per share, resulting in the fund owning about 28 per cent of the company, as well as options that can be exercised at an average price of 85p per share, contributing a further $55m.

Read more: Uranium prices set to "explode" in 2018

Yuen Low, mining analyst at Shore Capital, called the investment a "very significant financing coup", and shares in Berkeley rose 9.39 per cent to 49.5p in late morning trading.

The fund will have the right to appoint a non-executive director to the board and to match future uranium off-take transactions on similar commercial terms subject to certain limitations on volume.

"The Salamanca mine is one of the only major uranium mines in development in the world today at a time when spot uranium prices are at a decade low," said managing director Paul Atherley.

Atherley added the project benefits from a rare combination of low up front capital costs and low operating costs.

Salamanca is set to produce an average of 4.4m pounds of uranium per year at a total cost of $15.06 per pound. Spot prices for uranium are currently around $20 per pound.

Tim Keating, private equity manager for mining and resources at the State General Reserve Fund said the Salamanca mine matches the firm's investment criteria of being a long life, low cost mine development opportunity with "outstanding" economic fundamentals.

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