The energy company Berkeley has fallen about 30% on Wednesday on the stock exchange due to doubts about its construction project of a uranium mine in Retortillo (Salamanca). Reuters reported Tuesday that the government is opposed to the project of the company. "The Executive will wait for the processes under way to be resolved but will oppose the opening in any case," a government source told Reuters.
The Berkeley mining project, in a rural area near Portugal, aims to open what would be the only open-air uranium mining operation in Western Europe. The mine now has authorization from the Junta de Castilla y León (environmental impact) but lacks other key permits to operate. The Ministry of Industry gave in 2015 an authorization prior to the project, which is considered a first-class radioactive facility and therefore follows the same procedure as, for example, a new nuclear power plant. Equo and Ecologists in Action resorted that authorization before the National Court, which has not yet decided.
The company informed this Wednesday CNMV that he does not have more information about the suspension of his project beyond what has come out in the media in Spain. Berkeley has sent a relevant event addressed to shareholders in which he assures that both the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Nuclear Safety Council have declined to comment on the news published by Reuters.
The Government of Pedro Sánchez is not a supporter of nuclear energy. The Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has recently expressed in the Congress of Deputies their doubts about the authorizations that the Salamanca project already has. However, his department has not ordered the Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) to halt the process, nor has it issued a negative report, so the licensing process goes ahead.
The CSN has been studying at least since 2014 the characteristics of the installation that Berkeley wants to build in Salamanca, that is, it has been evaluating the construction authorization application for more than four years, which would ultimately have to be approved or denied by the Government. Throughout these years, the CSN has been requesting additional information from Berkeley but has not reached any conclusions. Since 2014, the CSN has been aware of the problem of storing the radioactive waste generated by the plant in the deposits of the mine shaft. Recently, the Ministry of Ecological Transition asked the CSN to give its opinion on this matter, but the CSN report, published on the agency's website, does not give a definitive answer.
ANDThe project has been very controversial in the province. Several local environmental groups have opposed it. In July of 2017, the European Commission opened an investigation about the project to check if it complies with several environmental regulations of the European Union.
Berkeley has always argued that the project will be very positive for the area because it plans to invest some 250 million euros and that more than 2,500 jobs will be created, both directly and indirectly.
The company informed the CNMV on Wednesday that it has requested the voluntary suspension of the quotation of its shares in the Australian stock market. The company announced in the press release that it has sent the CNMV that it will continue to trade normally in the London stock market and in continuous marking in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia).