By FABIOLA SANCHEZ, Associated Press Writer – Fri Sep 25, 7:11 pm ET
PORLAMAR, Venezuela – Iran is helping to detect uranium deposits in Venezuela and initial evaluations suggest reserves are significant, President Hugo Chavez’s government said Friday.
Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz said Iran has been assisting Venezuela with geophysical survey flights and geochemical analysis of the deposits, and that evaluations “indicate the existence of uranium in western parts of the country and in Santa Elena de Uairen,” in southeastern Bolivar state.
“We could have important reserves of uranium,” Sanz told reporters upon arrival on Venezuela’s Margarita Island for a weekend Africa-South America summit. He added that efforts to certify the reserves could begin within the next three years.
The announcement came as revelations that Iran has secretly been building a uranium-enrichment plant provoke concerns among countries including the U.S., Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China.