May 16, 2014

Energy Fuels strengthens working Capital position in tough Uranium Market

Published on Friday May 16 2014 (AEST)  

U.S. uranium producer Energy Fuels (NYSE MKT:UUUU)(TSE:EFR) reported Tuesday its first quarter financial results, in which it revealed an increased working capital position alongside lower profit and revenue amid sustained pressure on uranium prices.  

At the end of March, the company had working capital of $42.27 million, up from $33.48 million at the end of 2013. The gain was mainly a result of Energy Fuels freeing up over $12 million in cash via  a bond restructuring. 

It also posted a net loss of $6.34 million, or 32 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $5.9 million, or 40 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues fell to $11.36 million from $34.09 million.
Production during the quarter from the company's White Mesa mill, the only conventional uranium mill currently operating in the U.S., totaled 125,956 pounds of uranium, all of which was from alternate feed materials. It also sold 191,667 pounds of uranium, under term contracts at an average realized price of $58.53 per pound.

Energy Fuels delivers purchased uranium into term contracts, allowing it to purchase uranium at prices lower than its production cost and to realize significant margins between the spot purchase price and the contract sale price. This allows the company to extend the life of its mines by preserving its uranium resources, reducing operational risk and allowing it to implement additional cost-cutting measures amid the weak uranium market.

The uranium market has been hurt by the sharp decline in both the spot and term prices for uranium oxide ever since the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011, which led to the shutdown of nearly all the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi atomic power plant. Prior to the March 2011 catastrophe, Japan relied on nuclear power for about 30% of its electricity, according to stats from the World Nuclear Association.

Spot prices and long-term prices for uranium began the year at $34.50 and $47.00 per pound, and are currently down at $29.00 and $45.00 per pound, respectively. 

The company said Tuesday that though prices in the short and medium term are under pressure from excess supplies, it believes that prices will improve in the longer term on the need to fuel expectations for global growth in nuclear energy. It therefore plans to continue to strengthen its position as a "leading uranium company in the United States." 

Its main goals for this year are to produce and procure sufficient uranium to fulfill its delivery obligations under existing uranium sales contracts, and maintain its mines on standby as well as continue to permit new projects, thereby positioning Energy Fuels to increase production should market conditions improve.
Should markets get better, the company said it will consider the acquisition of additional properties in the U.S., and evaluate the sale of non-core assets. Maintenance activities will continue at its White Mesa mill, which is expected to be placed on standby in August of this year. 

Energy Fuels is forecasting 2014 sales of approximately 800,000 pounds of uranium, of which 191,667 pounds were sold during the first quarter. All of the 800,000 pounds of projected sales are to be delivered into its three existing long-term contracts, it said.

The company is currently America's largest conventional uranium producer, supplying about 25% of the uranium produced in the U.S. in 2013. Its White Mesa mill is capable of processing about 2,000 tons per day of uranium ore, and has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds.



May 12, 2014

Official Start Of Mining Operations Begins At Husab Uranium Project in Namibia.

Published on Monday May 12 2014 (AEST)  

Husab becomes the fourth uranium mine in operation in Namibia, the others being Rössing, Langer Heinrich and Trekkopje. China National Nuclear Corporation holds a 25% stake in Paladin's Langer Heinrich mine, entitling it to a corresponding share of the project's output.

The first blasting of rock took place earlier this year. Construction of the mine is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015, with production then planned to ramp up to 5770 tonnes of uranium per year by 2017.

The operation will be an open pit mine with an acid leach process plant on site. The Husab ore-body is claimed to be the third largest uranium-only deposit in the world. With measured and indicated reserves of about 140,000 tonnes U, Husab is expected to operate for at least 20 years. The mine will comprise of two pits: the Zone 1 pit will be some 3km long, 1km wide and 412m deep; the Zone 2 pit will be about 2km long, 1.3 km wide and 377m deep.




May 6, 2014

China Starts 19th Nuclear Power Reactor Amid Construction Push

Published on Tuesday May 6 2014 (AEST)  

China fired up its 19th nuclear reactor as the nation pushed to more than double its expansion of atomic power generation capacity this year, which may boost demand for imported uranium.

The Ningde No. 2 reactor in the southern province of Fujian started commercial operations yesterday, according to a statement posted on the website of the State Council’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission today. The facility is owned by China General Nuclear Power, the nation’s biggest nuclear producer. Its No. 1 reactor resumed production on April 29 after maintenance, the statement shows.

China may need to import more than 80 percent of its uranium by 2020 as it expands its nuclear construction and operations, compared with about 60 percent currently, Tian Miao, an analyst at North Square Blue Oak Ltd., a London-based policy researcher, said by phone today. The nation will add 8.64 gigawatts of atomic capacity this year, compared with 3.24 gigawatts in 2013, according to previously announced targets.
China General Nuclear Power has 10 operational reactors with a combined capacity of 10.5 gigawatts, making up 62 percent of China’s installed nuclear power, today’s statement shows.

Sun Qin, the president of China National Nuclear Corp., met with Ministry of Land and Resources officials on April 29 to discuss developing domestic uranium, the nation’s second-largest operator said in a newsletter on its website last week.

Its unit, China National Nuclear Power Co., plans to raise 16.25 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) in an initial public offering to fund the construction for four projects in Fuqing, Changjiang, Tianwan and Sanmen, according to a draft prospectus issued yesterday.