International Uranium Cartel, Volume 2, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, House of Representatives, Ninety-Fifth Congress, First Session, December 8, 1977 [open pdf - 193MB]
This is the December 8, 1977 hearing on "International Uranium Cartel," held before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce. From the opening statement of Albert Gore, Jr.: "In 1971, the Canadian Government was approached by representatives of a private London-based conglomerate, Rio Tinto Zinc, or RTZ as it is known, about forming a cartel to control uranium markets. At that time uranium was selling for approximately $5 a pound, and because of new discoveries and healthy competition, threatening to sink lower still. For a world demand for about 26,000 tons in 1971, there stood ready 100,000 tons of supply. A free market, of course, would have cured that imbalance in time. But nothing like a free market was allowed to operate. In 1972, secret meetings were held in Paris, and later Johnannesburg, among producer representatives of Canada, Australia, South Africa, France, and RTZ, resulting in a full-blown classic cartel that effectively fixed prices, rigged bids, and allocated markets. The cartel was well organized indeed. It established a secretariat in Paris, policy and operations committees, a budget covered by dues from its members, and a method for punishing violators of the cartel's directives. Bids to purchasing utilities were rigged with precision, with a designated fixed-price leader and a prearranged runner-up fixed-price follower, to create the deceptive appearance of competition. And it worked well for about 3 years. That much is no longer an issue. But the debate over the legal implications of the cartel's formation goes on. How did the members get around antitrust laws? Or, more correctly, will they get around antitrust laws? [...] We will be reexamining those questions today, but with a healthy skepticism born of our already voluminous record. In hearings of this subcommittee in Tennessee in August, we learned of direct impact on American commerce."
Serial No. 95-95
U.S. Government Publishing Office: http://www.gpo.gov/