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Uranium Week: Broken Clear?

Weekly Reports | Aug 01 2017

Suddenly the spot uranium price has jumped 3%.

By Greg Peel

After two months of negligible weekly price movements and an inability to escape the gravitational pull of the US$20/lb level, spot uranium suddenly jumped 3% last week. It’s not exactly time to break out the champagne nonetheless. The price rose US60c to US$20.60/lb.

And this was achieved with a mere four transactions totalling 600,000/lbs U3O8 equivalent, industry consultant TradeTech reports. Utilities are traders appeared on the buy-side and traders and producers on the sell-side.

Once again the market is anticipating a pick-up in end-user demand. As to when this pick-up might actually materialise is unclear. There were no trades reported in term markets last week and TradeTech’s term price indicators are unchanged at US$24.45/lb (mid) and US$34.00/lb (long).

The small lift in spot price is not sufficient to save Australia’s Paladin Energy ((PDN)), but the company did manage to secure a new credit facility from Deutsche Bank which allows Paladin to refinance its Nedbank revolving facility and provides operating funds for its cash-burning Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia.

Paladin is still waiting to learn if China National Nuclear Corp intends to exercise its option to acquire the remaining 75% of Langer Heinrich.

Nuclear In The USA

Over in the US, the Uranium Producers of America met with members of the Trump administration to discuss the importance of the uranium industry and to point out years of neglect and misuse. But while producers can canvass the US federal government, the nuclear power industry remains at the mercy of individual state governments.

Last week in the state of New York, a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by rival energy groups to stop the governor providing billions of dollars in subsidies to support nuclear power in the state.

In Connecticut, the governor ordered state regulators to assess the economic viability of the Millstone nuclear plant to determine whether the state should provide financial support. In June the state’s parliament failed to pass a bill that would have allowed the plant to bid into the states’ procurement process.

Across the US, the fate of the country’s nuclear power industry remains in the balance.

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