March 2, 2009 / 3:19 AM / 9 years ago

S.Korea scraps uranium deals on weak prices-report

SEOUL, March 2 (Reuters) - State-run Korea Electric Power Corp (015760.KS) has cancelled two preliminary deals to develop uranium mines in the United States and Slovakia due to weak product prices, local media reported on Monday, citing officials from the energy firm.

The power monopoly will instead seek to buy uranium mines currently in development or in production stage in Australia, South Africa and Kazakhstan, Yonhap News said.

In May, the firm signed cooperation deals with U.S. Yellowcake Mining Corp and Canada-based uranium explorer Tournigan Energy Ltd to develop mines in Colorado and Kurisokva, Slovakia, respectively.

Under the agreement with Yellowcake Mining, KEPCO plans to secure a 50 percent stake in the Beck mine, which has proven reserves of 5,000 tonnes of uranium and estimated reserves of 10,000 tonnes. [ID:nSEO1918]

Citing KEPCO officials, the report said the cancellation came due to a sharp drop in uranium prices, which fell to $47 a pound in January from a record high of $135 a pound in 2007.

Whether KEPCO had to pay a fine for scrapping the deals was not immediately known and officials were unavailable for comment.

KEPCO will maintain explorations of a uranium block in Canada, as it has already begun work in that area, the report said.

Shares in KEPCO lost 3.96 percent as of 0236 GMT, trading at 23,100 won, and underperforming the wider market's .KS11 3.35 percent fall. (Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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