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Canadian mining giant benefits from Chinese investment

VANCOUVER, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Canadian mining giant Cameco, which has beenthe beneficiary of considerable Chinese investment, saw earnings soar 29 percentduring its fourth quarter compared to the same period last year.

In a newly released financial statement, the company reported 265 million dollars innet income in the final quarter of 2011, up from 206 million dollars in the fourth quarterof 2010.

Along with the fourth quarter financial summary, Cameco also released its year-endingreport, which saw net income increase compared to 2010.

"2011 was also strong from a financial and operational perspective," Cameco CEOTim Gitzel said. "We saw high uranium sales volumes and record realized prices,which combined to generate almost 2.4 billion dollars in revenue for our nuclearbusiness - 12 percent higher than in 2010 and a record for the company. 1.6 billiondollars of that was from our uranium segments."

Cameco, one of the world's largest uranium producers, signed an agreement in 2010to supply China's Guangdong Nuclear Power with 29 million pounds of uraniumthrough to 2025.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been touring China this week andmanaged to secure a deal that would see business between the two countriesincrease even more.

"(Feb. 9) it was announced that Canada and China have agreed on a protocol to allowdeliveries of Canadian uranium concentrate to the world's fastest-growing nuclearmarket," Gitzel said.

"Once ratified, this will help us build our position as a key uranium supplier to Chinaand grow employment and investment in Canada's uranium mining industry. Wecommend the governments of both countries for getting this done."

The protocol will allow the shipment of Canadian uranium directly into China. Some 50million pounds of uranium is expected to ship from Cameco's operations to China overthe next 15 years.

Despite challenges such as lower uranium prices and the Fukushima nuclearmeltdown that rocked Japan last year, Gitzel said "it was also a year of recordperformance for us at Cameco."

Revenue went from 673 million dollars in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 977 milliondollars in the final quarter of 2011 - a jump of 45 percent.

Gross profits in the fourth quarter also climbed to 353 million dollars, up from 252million compared to the same time last year.

Cameco managed to generate 13.8 million pounds of uranium in terms of salesvolume. Gitzel said the company benefited from a good safety record and strongerthan expected production at a number of its facilities.

"For us it's been business as usual and in some ways, even a little better than usual,"he said. "Looking forward, we remain confident in the long-term fundamentals of thenuclear industry. With our extraordinary assets, contract portfolio, employee expertise,industry knowledge and financial strength, we are well positioned to meet the growingdemand for uranium and add value for our shareholders."

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