The shareholders of diversified resources group BHP Billiton are protesting against the company's decision to excavate uranium, citing ethical reasons, reported The Guardian.

John Poppins, whose family controls more than A$1 million worth of stock in the company, leads the BHP Billiton Shareholders for Social Responsibilities group in trying to make the company take a moral stand and pull out of the uranium business, which is gaining significant importance due to the growing demand for nuclear fuel.

The issue is likely to be presented at BHP Billiton’s annual general meeting in Adelaide in November.

The Guardian quoted Mr Poppins as saying: BHP Billiton’s outstanding commercial success and market pre-eminence carries an equally large moral obligation to provide leadership on issues of uranium production and nuclear proliferation.

Mr Poppins stressed the danger element involved in the long-term contracts for the sale of uranium oxide concentrates to the UK, France, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and the US.

There are major strategic tensions between some of these countries, along with Israel and Pakistan, all of which have the capacity to manufacture nuclear bombs, he said.