(Official press release)
Peru, the world’s second-largest producer of silver and the sixth-largest producer of gold and copper, is also a uranium rich Latin American country which has seduced several multinational mining firms to explore one of the world’s most important energy minerals frequently used in nuclear power plants.
The price of each uranium pound has increased four times in a year due to the intensified demand for the construction of new Nuclear Power Plants. At present there exist 442 nuclear reactors in the world; 251 new ones are being planned or under construction. This increase in the demand for nuclear plants coincides with the world need to generate electricity with a clean and cheap fuel to avoid greenhouse effects produced by other fuels such as crude oil or coke.
A joint venture formed by the Canadian Vena Resources and Comeco Corporation has concessions mainly in the southeast region of the country in the Macusani district located 150 kilometers to the northwest of Lake Titicaca in Puno region, where uranium reserves are estimated in 66 million pounds. The uranium occurrences in Macusani are unique among uranium deposits; similar ones can be found in Lakeview (Oregon) and Maureen (Queensland, Australia). Comeco is to invest $10 million in exploration; if the results are successful, the firm will perform a feasibility study for the construction of a $500 million plant to produce dressed uranium. Other companies such as Cardero Resources, Solex Resources, Frontier Pacific Mining, Strathmore Minerals and Wealth Minerals are currently exploring Peru’s center and northern areas. According to Vera Resources, as long as crude oil prices maintain or raise their current levels, alternative power sources such as wind, heat and uranium will remain more profitable.