Uranium Prices: U.S. Producers Could Quickly Ramp Up Supply

Uranium prices remain in the dumps, but Energy Fuels says that it has the capability of tripling its U.S. uranium production if prices increase like everyone is expecting.

Uranium prices have been depressed by a big drop in demand expectations following the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, which dented uranium demand and resulted in the commodity stockpiling. To complicate matters, it has taken much longer than expected for Japan to restart its nuclear power plants.

But, these plants are slowly starting to come back online, and there are dozens of new nuclear power plants being built around the world. As these plants get up and running, demand for uranium will climb, and Energy Fuels says it is ready to meet the projected increased demand.

Energy Fuels expects that it will be America’s top uranium producer at about 650,000 lb in 2017 and could triple its annual output if prices rose from the current $20 per lb Energy Fuels says it has to ramp up its production to 2 million to 2 1/2 million lbs of production annually.

The company says it has the potential to get up to 2 million to 2 1/2 million lb of production annually. But, prices are suppressed at present and only a handful of domestic uranium miners are operating due to the market’s oversupply. Much of the uranium used by U.S. utilities is imported.

At the same time that U.S, utilities are importing to meet their uranium needs, domestic nuclear plant construction has come to a standstill, leaving most of the development overseas. This means that even though imports are meeting a big portion of domestic demand, over the long-run if domestic uranium producers want to capitalize on the growing nuclear market, they will have to turn to exports.

Leia Toovey has a B.Sc. in geology from Simon Fraser University, and her degree had a focus on resource economics. Out of school, she started working in the booming mining industry of Vancouver, Canada, covering junior mining stocks and commodities including potash, copper, nickel, oil and gold. Then she moved to New York and worked as a commodities analyst covering a breadth of commodities, from the Baltic Dry Index through the softs. As a geologist she has a greater understanding of the exploration and extraction side of commodities, and how changes in technology and the depletion of resources impact pricing. At Economic Calendar she covers a variety of commodities, providing daily technical and fundamental analysis and assessing major market developments.