Uranium Price Expected to Rise

The uranium sector can look forward to a rise in the spot price of uranium in the next three years, a mining expert says. The MD of Langer Heinrich uranium mine Simon Solomons said the spot price would gradually increase within the next three years due a number of nuclear reactors switching on again in Japan.

He said all eyes were on the nuclear power house Japan as the Japanese have indicated that eight reactors would be switched on in the next three years. Solomons said this during a visit to the Langer Heinrich mine in the Erongo Region last week.

He said the Fukushima incident that occurred in Japan in March 2011 led to 48 reactors being turned off and this negatively influenced the uranium market.

The Fukushima nuclear disaster was a catastrophy at the Fukushima nuclear power plant resulting in a meltdown of three of the plant’s six nuclear reactors.

The failure occurred when the plant was hit by a tsunami triggered by an earthquake. The plant began releasing substantial amounts of radioactive materials resulting in the shutdown of 48 reactors.

“Approximately 11 percent of our annual uranium production went to Japan, therefore the past three years were extremely difficult, not only for us but for the entire uranium industry. Uranium prices went through dramatic difficulties resulting in some mines going on maintenance and retrenching workers as well. It has been without a doubt the toughest time for the uranium industry,” he elaborated.

Solomons said the industry was however waiting for a firm confirmation on how many reactors would be switched on again and when exactly.

“However we expect this to happen within the next three years,” said Solomons. Other reactors are also under construction, he added.

“It takes about 10 years from the planning stage until being switched on. We are also expecting more reactors to be built, which will gradually also increase the overall demand for uranium,” he said.

China is also regarded as a dominant uranium force as it has a high demand for nuclear energy. China without a doubt is a one of the biggest players in nuclear energy, since they have plans to set up at least five nuclear power stations this year alone.

China has 28 reactors under construction but five are ready to be connected to the grid this year.

Japan has submitted applications for 17 reactors to be restarted, whereas analysts expect at least 6 to 8 reactors to be granted permission for restart in 2014.

Both China and Japan are set to add vast amounts of demand back into the uranium market.

Source : New Era