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Uranium One makes the big leagues Add to ...

Junior mining play Uranium One is junior no more after striking its second major global alliance with Rosatom Corp., Russia's state-owned nuclear company.

Uranium One announced Monday that it will take a 50 per cent stake in mine owned by an arm of Rosatom called AMRZ. In return, ARMZ will get $90-million (U.S.) in cash and a 17 per cent stake in Uranium One.

The deal gives Uranium One access to Rosatom refining operations, and a guaranteed buyer for its enriched uranium production. These developments come in the wake of a deal in February that saw Japanese nuclear power companies take a $270-million (Canadian) stake in the Canadian company, again, in return for guaranteed access to fuel.

Uranium One has been on something of a rollercoaster ride recently, due to political scandals in Kazakhstan, where the company owns mines. The company has consistently said that the Kazak squabble will not affect its operations, and the deal with Rosatom supports this assertion.

Prior to the announcement of the Rosatom transaction, Uranium One had a $1.3-billion market capitalization. The alliance with the Russians gives new heft to what was a company with relatively concentrated holdings. Uranium One should attract new interest from international investors as a result.

BMO Nesbitt Burns advised Uranium One on the transaction, with legal input from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin and Macleod Dixon.

Goldman Sachs was the financial advisor to ARMZ, along with law firms Stikeman Elliott, Allen & Overy and Aequitas.

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