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Berkeley threatens to claim 500 million euro from Spain if proposed uranium mine vetoed

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(Kitco News) - Pressure mounts around controversial Retortillo uranium mine project in Spain as Berkeley Energia threatens to claim EUR 500 million (US$603.45 million) from the Spanish government if proposed climate law jeopardizes authorization for Retortillo.

Local media sources reported yesterday that Francisco Bellón, president of Berkeley Spain, advised that they will activate all the legal mechanisms at their disposal if an amendment to the climate change law that threatens to veto uranium extraction throughout the national territory, which is now pending in parliament, is greenlighted.

Earlier in January, the Salamanca Provincial Council has decided to terminate the collaboration agreement with Berkeley Energia, signed in September 2016, for the “construction of a variant on the SA-322 road (DSA-451)."

In December 2020, the Supreme Court of Spain dismissed an appeal against authorization for Berkeley Energia’s Retortillo uranium mine project, located in western Spain, about three hours west of Madrid.

The Supreme Court has confirmed the prior authorization granted by the Government to Berkeley Minera Spain for its uranium concentrates plant in Retortillo (Salamanca), after rejecting the appeal submitted by Foro de Izquierdas - Los Verdes and Adeco - Ecologistas en Acción groups.

In July 2016, Berkeley published the results of a definitive feasibility study confirming that the Salamanca project will be one of the world’s lowest cost uranium producers, capable of generating strong after-tax cash flows through the current low point in the uranium cycle.

The project has NPV of US$531.9 million with an internal rate of return of 60% based on a discount rate of 8%.

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