Published on Monday Nov 22 2010
SAN FRANCISCO – After booming in the middle part of the decade, busting in late 2007 into 2008 and being flat and out of favor until early this year, uranium is now the “Next Big Thing,” attendees at the San Francisco Hard Assets Investment Conference 2010 have been told.
Michael S. “Mickey” Fulp,who runs the MercenaryGeologist.com and works as a consulting economic geologist, used the phrase as title for his presentations to the conference and several other speakers also pointed to changing fortunes for the metal in meeting rising global energy demand.
Fulp described uranium as “the canary in the coal mine” for the world economy when the previous boom collapsed but said trends for the metal have now changed. “This, I think, is a sector that is going to boom over the next two years,” he said.
Nuclear energy, he noted, now accounts for 13% of electricity with 439 working nuclear power plants around the world, including 104 in the United States. But another 57 nuclear plants are now under construction with an additional 200 being planned. This will increase the demand for yellowcake and 4% growth in that demand is projected year over year.
But while the United States has demand for 52 million pounds of supply, it currently produces only 4 million pounds and ranks eighth in supply volumes behind such countries as Kazakhstan, Russia and Niger. Four of the five largest producing nations are unstable or “not exactly friendly” to the US, Fulp said.
Fulp said he was following uranium developers and advanced explorers with projects in New Mexico, Wyoming and Finland and also forecast that additional future US production would come from projects in South Texas, Utah and Colorado.
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