The Government of Finland has granted an extraction license to Cameco to extract uranium as a by product from the Sotkamo nickel mine, which is being currently operated by Talvivaara Mining Company in Eastern Finland.
Production of uranium is likely to commence by 2012 through a procedure in which the solvent extraction unit is attached to the main production process so that the uranium, which would have otherwise been wasted is recovered. The license is valid till 2054 and is likely to extract 900,000 lbs of uranium concentrate.
As per the agreement signed with Talvivaara during February 2011, Cameco will invest $60 million for the construction of the uranium extraction unit. The capital contributed by Cameco will be repaid through initial uranium deliveries. After the initial deliveries cover the cost of investment, Cameco will buy the uranium concentrate from Sotkamo nickel mine at a price that will be calculated based on the market prices during the time of delivery. Cameco will also assist Talvivaara in designing, constructing, commissioning and operating the extraction unit. By the middle of 2012, all the additional approvals from the government are likely to be received. The agreement between the two companies has been approved by Euratom Supply Agency under the Euratom Treaty and has also been approved by the European Commission. Finland takes care of one third of its local electricity needs through two Finnish utility companies.