Is uranium mining ripe for a significant growth?
Team Veye | 22 Feb 2021
Uranium in Australia has been mined since 1954, and three mines are currently operating. While more mines are being planned. Australia's known uranium resources are the world's largest, almost one-third of the world total.
Australian production is all exported. The nations which currently purchase Australia's uranium have a large commitment to nuclear power.
The USA generates around 30% of the world's nuclear power. Much of its uranium comes from Canada, but Australia is a major source. ( Ref: World Nuclear Association).
More than half of total Australian exports are to the USA. Europe depends heavily on nuclear power and EU countries are also major customers. Japan, South Korea and now China and India are important customers due to their increasing dependence on nuclear energy.
The mineral has recently generated more interest, as more companies are seen firming up uranium operations both in Australia and internationally.
Australia uses no nuclear power, but with high reliance on coal, any likely carbon constraints on electricity generation will make it a strong possibility.
The uranium market which was already in a downtrend since 2007 witnessed an oversupply in 2011. Fukushima nuclear disaster coupled with Kazakhstan ramping up uranium production dragged the price down.
Already signals are emerging that the long bear market is over, with the uranium spot price in an uptrend since November 2016. There is a widespread expectation that uranium prices will rise in the near term as the supply deficit grows.
With more nations realizing the advantages of nuclear energy, such as its low operating costs, fewer greenhouse emissions and relative reliability compared to conventional forms of electricity, global demand for the product is expected to rise.
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