Areva forms JV with Mon-Atom to develop two uranium mines in Mongolia

French energy giant Areva on Saturday signed a deal with Mongolia's state-owned nuclear company Mon-Atom to develop two uranium mines in the country.

Luvsanvandan Bold, Mongolian minister for foreign affairs, Laurent Fabius, French minister of foreign affairs, Luc Oursel, president and CEO of Areva, and Ken Kobayashi, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Corporation, attended the signing ceremony, indicating the commitment of the two countries to the project.

The mines will be developed by a new joint venture company, Areva Mines, in which Areva will hold a 66-per cent stake with the remaining 34-per cent being held by Mon-Atom.

Japan's Mitsubishi, which has partnered with Areva in most of the uranium mining projects in Mongolia, will take an equity interest in Areva Mines.

''This collaboration, which also involves our partner Mitsubishi Corporation, is strategic on two levels. It will enable us to develop the uranium sector in Mongolia and to pursue the geographic diversification of Areva's mining activities,'' said, Luc Oursel.

Paris-based Areva began operating in Mongolia in 1997 when it formed a joint venture called Cogegobi with local exploration and drilling company Gobigeo.

Areva holds a 70 -per cent stake in the JV, while Gobigeo holds the remaining 30 per cent.

Mitsubishi holds 34 per cent equity stake in Gobigeo.