Spain sticks with decision to block Berkeley’s uranium mine

All the versions of this article: [English] [français] | 7 February 2023

Spain sticks with decision to block Berkeley’s uranium mine

by Reuters

The Spanish Energy Ministry has upheld its refusal to authorize the construction of a uranium mine near the western city of Salamanca by London-listed Berkeley Energia, sending its shares down 16%.

Berkeley said on Tuesday it was prepared to collaborate with Spanish authorities and remained hopeful the dispute could be resolved amicably through negotiations, rather than via international arbitration it would have to seek otherwise.

Berkeley had appealed against an initial rejection by the ministry, and alleged the government had not followed “legally established procedure.” But its appeal was rejected, Berkeley said.

Berkeley said it also believes the rejection is not legal as it infringed on its rights under an international agreement known as the Energy Charter Treaty, designed to promote energy security through the operation of more open and competitive energy markets.

The Retortillo uranium project in the Salamanca region, Berkeley’s main asset, received a preliminary approval in 2013 but has run into several hurdles since then, including opposition from nearby communities and safety concerns by regulatory authorities.

The company had said the mine would run for 14 years, generating investment of over 250 million euros ($297 million)and more than 2,500 jobs in the region.