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Uranium Week: Postponed

Weekly Reports | Jun 25 2019

Uranium markets were dead quiet last week in anticipation of a possible decision from President Trump regarding 232, but they will have to wait another week.

-Trump briefing postponed
-Spot price unchanged
-The UK goes green

By Greg Peel

President Trump was due to meet with top advisors on Thursday to be briefed on the Department of Commerce recommendation regarding the petition filed by two uranium producers to force US utilities to purchase a minimum 25% of their requirements domestically, citing “national security” (section 232). But alas, that meeting was postponed to this week.

One might hazard a guess the Iranian attack on a US drone on Thursday may have distracted.

The deadline for a decision to be made is July 14, but the president can make a decision earlier or extend the deadline. The 232 issue has held back uranium markets now for around a year and a half, and in recent months reluctance from utilities to make major supply decisions until the outcome is known has led to weaker uranium prices.

With no one prepared to second guess the president last week, only one transaction was reported in the spot market, industry consultant TradeTech notes. TradeTech’s weekly spot price indicator remains unchanged at US$23.40/lb.

TradeTech’s term price indicators remain unchanged at US$27.35/lb (mid) and US$30.00/lb (long).

The Green Machine

Back in May, the UK recorded its first ever two-week period in which no coal-fired power was generated, and record levels of solar power were generated on two consecutive days.

Yes, in England.

The UK National Grid last week reported that clean energy has now moved ahead of gas-fired and coal-fired energy, at 48% compared to 47% of total generation. Renewables made up 24%, nuclear power 18% and imports, including French nuclear power, 6%.

A decade ago coal-fired power represented 30% of total power generation. That figure has now fallen to 3%. In the same period, wind power has increased to 19% of the total from 19%.

If the wind doesn’t blow, the UK can always increase its level of clean energy imports.

Sweet Virginia

As US uranium producers remain on tenterhooks just as much as nuclear utilities, waiting for the 232 outcome, the US Supreme Court has upheld the State of Virginia’s right to place a moratorium on uranium mining.  

The result has upset the owners of the Coles Hill uranium deposit in Virginia, estimated to be worth US$6bn, boasting an indicated resource of 133lbs U3O8.

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