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Media - Uranium Industry Headlines

Below are news items that appeared in the Nuclear Market Review.

March 10, 2017
CNNC Pursues Paladin's Share in Langer Heinrich Mine
EPA Issues Draft Permits for Azarga Uranium's Dewey Burdock Project DOE Seeks Public Comments for Next Secretarial Determination
 
CNNC Pursues Paladin's Share in Langer Heinrich Mine
Minority shareholder CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings Ltd. (CNNC) has requested that Paladin Energy begin a process to determine the fair market value of Paladin's share (75%) in its flagship Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine in Namibia. The fair value determination process would be the first step in a process that may lead to the exercise of the Potential CNNC Option if in fact the option validly exists. The CNNC option is linked to the July 2014 sale of a 25 percent share in the mine under Paladin’s former management. Paladin reportedly plans to fight the validity of the option through an arbitration process in Singapore, and has already received strong encouragement from many bondholders, according to a report in The Australian today.  Paladin recently said its Langer Heinrich Mine produced 2.5 million pounds U3O8 for the six months ended December 31, up 7 percent from 2015, while the C1 unit cost of production for 2016 was US$16.25 per pound, which was down 39 percent from $26.50 per pound in 2015. [top]
 
Cameco Considering Sale of US Uranium Properties
Cameco Corp. is considering the sale of its US uranium production facilities, CEO Tim Gitzel said on March 6, due to a continuing weak uranium market. The Canadian miner, which has been working to reduce costs and lower production, is in the early stages of evaluating the sale of its mines in Wyoming and Nebraska, but also wants clarity on US President Donald Trump’s plans for nuclear power, Gitzel told Reuters. “We are in the process of looking at divesting those assets. We’re not very far into it, so I can’t say too much, but it’s something we’re looking at,” he said. Cameco operates the Smith-Highland Ranch and Crow Butte In-Situ Recovery operations in Wyoming and Nebraska, respectively, where combined production last year totaled 1.2 million pounds U3O8. The news follows comments made by Gitzel at an investor conference last week. "2017 could make us look at changes to our inventory position, our production profile, and our purchasing activity; all of those effects of the TEPCO situation," he said. He added that Cameco "won't be very compromising in its legal position against TEPCO," the Japanese utility that operated the Fukushima nuclear plant damaged in the March 2011 accident and which terminated its uranium supply contract with Cameco last month. Cameco said nearly a year ago it would suspend production at the Rabbit Lake operation in Canada and curtail US mining operations, and recently added it would close its McArthur River mine in Canada for six weeks this summer. [top]
 
Mayor Supports Restart of Kyushu Electric's Genkai Units 3 and 4
A mayor in southwestern Japan approved a plan on March 7, to restart two reactors in Genkai, Saga Prefecture, in a step toward the return to service of a third nuclear power plant since the Fukushima accident that occurred six years ago. “While taking the assembly’s approval seriously, I decided to accept the government’s policy,” Mayor Hideo Kishimoto told a press conference. The restart of Genkai Units 3 and 4 (1,127 MWe PWRs) now hinges on consent by seven other municipalities within a 30-kilometer (19-mile) radius of the plant. All four reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.'s Genkai facility were removed from service by December 2011, in the wake of the Fukushima accident. The utility decided to decommission Genkai Unit 1 (529 MWe PWR) at the plant due to its age. Only three reactors in Japan's fleet of 45 commercial units are operating—Kyushu Electric's Sendai Units 1 and 2 (846 MWe PWRs) in Kagoshima Prefecture and Shikoku Electric's Ikata Unit 3 (846 MWe PWR) in Ehime Prefecture. Kansai Electric's Takahama Units 3 and 4 were approved and restarted early last year but were removed from service due to a district court injunction that remains in place. Another 20 reactors are moving through the restart process. [top]
 
Vimy Resources' Commences Work on Mulga Rock Project Following Federal Approval
Australia's Minister for the Environment and Energy, The Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, has approved Vimy Resources’ development of the Mulga Rock Uranium Project, located 240 kilometers (149 miles) northeast of Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, subject to specified conditions. The Minister’s declaration was the final approval required and Vimy confirmed in a statement today that work on the project has commenced. "The next phase of work will involve some initial construction activity associated with both infrastructure facilities and mining and will expedite development of the project once the final investment decision is made and full-scale construction starts," Vimy stated. The project will have the capacity to produce 1,360 tU3O8 (~3 million pounds U3O8) per year for up to 17 years. [top]
 
Energy Fuels  Narrows Net Loss in 2016
US uranium producer Energy Fuels earned US$54.55 million in total revenue during 2016, a decrease of 11 percent from 2015, while gross profit from uranium recovery operations decreased 19.5 percent last year to $19.1 million. The company posted a net loss of $39.9 million for the full year, compared to net losses of $82.4 million in 2015, and $86.6 million in 2014. Energy Fuels sold 1.15 million pounds U3O8 last year at an average realized price of $47.42 per pound, representing a 6.8 percent increase in pounds sold over 2015. Sales totaling 850,000 pounds U3O8 were placed under long-term contracts at an average price of $56.64 per pound; remaining sales volumes were based on spot market prices at an average of $21.10 per pound. Last year the company recovered just over 1 million pounds U3O8, two-thirds of which was from conventional operations, including alternate feed sources. The remaining 335,000 pounds were attributed to the company’s in-situ recovery (ISR) operations. In May 2016, Energy Fuels completed its acquisition of Sumitomo Corp.’s 40 percent interest in the Roca Honda Project in New Mexico, securing 100 percent ownership in the asset. Energy Fuels issued approximately 1.2 million common shares of the company to Sumitomo in exchange for its interest and agreed to pay $4.5 million in cash upon first commercial production of uranium from the project. In June 2016, Energy Fuels acquired Mesteña Uranium, LLC, a well-known, closely held uranium supplier that operates the Alta Mesa ISR Project in South Texas. In November, the company completed the sale of its Gas Hills, Juniper Ridge, and Shirley Basin properties in Wyoming. [top]
 
GoviEx Uranium to Increase Portfolio of Uranium Projects
TSX-V-listed GoviEx Uranium has executed a purchase agreement with ASX-listed African Energy Resources Ltd. to acquire African Energy's uranium mineral interests in Zambia. The transaction is intended to unify prospective uranium properties adjacent to, and contiguous with, GoviEx's Mutanga Mine Permits in Zambia, according to a March 6 statement. GoviEx Executive Chairman Govind Friedland said, "The combination of African Energy's Chirundu and Kiraba Valley tenements with GoviEx's Mutanga Project will allow us to unitize these neighboring properties, significantly enlarging and improving the potential economies of scale. This acquisition complements our strategy to be the consolidator of compelling African uranium projects while the uranium price remains low." The Chirundu and Kariba Valley properties include a mining license and two prospecting licenses. The Chirundu mining license covers two uranium deposits—Gwabe and Njame—containing JORC- compliant mineral resources of 7.4 million pounds U3O8 in the Measured and Indicated categories and 3.8 million pounds U3O8 in the Inferred category. Under terms of the transaction, GoviEx will acquire African Energy's wholly owned Zambian subsidiaries, Muchinga Energy Resources Limited and Chirundu Joint Ventures Zambia Ltd. In exchange, GoviEx will issue African Energy 3 million common shares and 1.6 million common share purchase warrants. [top]
 
EPA Issues Draft Permits for Azarga Uranium's Dewey Burdock Project
Azarga Uranium has completed a regulatory milestone with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issuing two draft permits for the company's Dewey Burdock Uranium Project in South Dakota. The draft permits, issued to Azarga's wholly owned subsidiary, Powertech (USA) Inc., pertain to the company's planned Class III and Class V Underground Injection Control activities and address all outstanding permit applications filed with the EPA for the project. "The decision of the EPA to issue these draft permits further confirms the technical merits of the Project and establishes a path forward towards receipt of the final permits," said Azarga President Blake Steele. The draft permits will be available for public comment until May 19. [top]
 
DOE Seeks Public Comments for Next Secretarial Determination
The US Department of Energy (DOE) is seeking public comment on issues as it prepares the next Secretarial Determination on potential uranium transfers. In a Federal Register notice on March 9, the Department initiated the process to issue a new determination by the US Secretary of Energy on how much low-enriched uranium (LEU) will be released to help fund cleanup activities at the decommissioned Portsmouth gaseous diffusion plant for the DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM), and downblending of highly enriched uranium to LEU for the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). In the notice, DOE has outlined four scenarios for uranium transfers: A base case involves continuation of transfers at the current annual rate of 2,100 MTU per year until 2020, at which point NNSA barters would end; Scenario 1 calls for DOE to cease transfers for EM’s cleanup work after 2016, but NNSA barters would be at the same levels as in the Base Scenario; Scenario 2 calls for DOE to transfer a total of 1,700 MTU through 2018, 1,652 in 2019, 1,136 MTU in 2020, 464 MTU in 2021, with negative net amounts of transfers in 2022-2026 due to commercial uranium purchases the government; and Scenario 3 calls for DOE to transfer a total of 2,500 MTU in 2017 and 2018, 1,780 MTU in 2019, with a negative net amount of material transferred in 2020-2025 due to commercial uranium purchases by the government. DOE will accept comments, data, and information submitted on or before April 10, 2017. The full notice is available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/03/09/2017-04668/excess-uranium-management-effects-of-potential-doe-transfers-of-excess-uranium-on-domestic-uranium[top]