12.05.2016_No93 / News in Brief

Russia’s Uranium One Faces Reality Of Falling Uranium Prices

Comment & People

12 May (NucNet): Falling demand for uranium is being caused partly by the slow restart of reactors in Japan following the March 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi accident, but pressure is also coming from secondary uranium sources such as military and other inventories, the president of the Uranium One Group said. 

Vasily Konstantinov said in an interview published online by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, which owns Uranium One,that the commissioning of nuclear plants in Japan after Fukushima-Daiichi turned out to be slower than predicted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the market.

He said: “The current uranium market is also under pressure from secondary uranium sources.” But Mr Konstantinov said he believed the price of uranium, which has fallen by about 25 percent in 2016 and 60 percent since Fukushima-Daiichi, will recover “when there is a balance between the fuel demand of nuclear generation and the uranium supply to the market from different sources”.

He said: “This is certain to happen because uranium production will decrease while no new deposits are being developed.”

Uranium One is one of the world’s largest uranium producers with a portfolio of assets in Kazakhstan, the US, Australia and Tanzania.

Mr Konstantinov said the company’s major production base consists of joint ventures in Kazakhstan “where the mining cost is low, providing efficient operations of even at such low market prices”.

He said Uranium One is suspending production or selling assets at deposits where efficient operation “in the current price situation” is impossible. He said this is the case in the US where the company is being forced to suspend production.

“It can be resumed once the uranium prices exceed $50,” he said. The uranium price is currently around $29. Mr Konstantinov said the situation in Australia was “more pessimistic” because of an even higher increase in the price threshold required to ensure effective use of the assets.

In 2015 Uranium One sold the Honeymoon mine in South Australia, avoiding costs associated with suspending and maintaining the project.

Mr Konstantinov said: “Currently, we intend to continue our work with cost-effective assets, maintaining and developing them, and to abandon inefficient ones.”

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • US Uranium Industry Group Calls On DOE To Ease Market Pressure (News in Brief No.83, 28 April 2016)

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David Dalton

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