September 2007

Australia : Australian and Russian premiers John Howard and Vladimir Putin have signed a bilateral safeguards agreement which, when ratified, will allow Australia to export its uranium to Russia. (WNN, 7 September)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister John Howard signed a nuclear accord today that opens up a new export market for Australian uranium mining companies. Russia is hoping to secure a larger supply of uranium to fuel an expanded fleet of nuclear plants with 42 new reactors planned for operation by 2030. Australia's three operating uranium mines are located in South Australia and the Northern Territory where new uranium mines may also be supported. The state governments of Western Australia and Queensland, which are controlled by the Labor Party, have refused to consider uranium mines in spite of a decision earlier this year by the party's federal leadership to end its "no new mines" policy. (TradeTech, 7 September)

Russian news reports have revealed that the country will purchase 4 000 tons of uranium from Australia as part of the uranium trade agreement signed by the two nations last week Under the terms of the deal, Russia is not allowed to sell the uranium to any third party countries, including Iran, where Russia is building the Bushehr nuclear station. (Nuclear Market Review, 7 September)

Queenland's new Premier Anna Bligh has voiced her support for the state's opposition to uranium mining, despite the Labor Party, which is the ruling party in all eight of Australia's states and territories, decision to allow new mines. There are currently five uranium projects on hold in Queensland. (TradeTech, 14 September)

BHP Billiton is sitting on more than $1 trillion worth of copper, uranium and gold at its gigantic Olympic Dam deposit in South Australia, after reporting a near doubling in ore resources. The increase is set to support mining at Olympic Dam and the tiny town of Roxby Downs, 560km north of Adelaide, for 100 years or more. It is likely to encourage BHP to perhaps double the size of a planned expansion. Such an expansion would yield 30 000 tonnes a year of uranium oxide, 1 million tonnes a year of copper and 500 000 ounces a year of gold. First production from any expansion is not expected until 2013. About 17 rigs have been drilling continuously and still cannot find the extent of the resource. The new figures are based on 2 095 km of drilling over the last two years, both from surface and underground, and confirm the deposit as the world's largest for uranium. Olympic Dam could be the world's second-biggest base metal discovery behind the Norilsk nickel find in Russia. Resources of contained copper have jumped 38% to 67 million tonnes, of uranium 27% to 2.2 million tonnes and of gold 11% to 79 million ounces. The deposit is also among the top five for gold and copper is the main earner at Olympic Dam, then uranium. (The Australian, 27 September)

Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) has approved an extension of the Ranger operating pit. The pit pushback, will extend mining at Ranger until 2012, and combined with optimisation of the existing pit, will add an additional 4 857 tonnes (10.7 million lbs) of contained uranium oxide. The majority of the additional production from the extension will occur in 2011. Processing at Ranger is due to cease in 2020. Following the heavy rainfall event in late February 2007, it is expected that Pit 3, previously known as Jabiluka orebody, will be emptied of water by November 2007 : this will allow mining of ore at the bottom of the pit and, subject to experiencing a normal wet season, should allow production in 2008 to be restored to normal levels. (ERA, 27 September)

Canada : Cameco CEO Gerald Grandey says the company is focused on joint ventures with smaller uranium exploration to help ensure future uranium supplies. Cameco has entered into five strategic alliances or investments with other exploration companies over the past year, including the purchase of a 10% interest in Vancouver-based Western Uranium Corp. and a 19.5 percent share of Toronto-based UNOR Inc. to explore the Nunavut region of Canada. Cameco has also secured a stake in Vancouver-based UEX Corp., which owns the Shea Creek uranium project in Saskatchewan (TradeTech, 14 September)

Cameco and Western Uranium Corp. (WUC) announced that they had concluded a strategic alliance by which Cameco Global Exploration has acquired a 10% share of Western Uranium for $21.1 million and has the right to earn a 70% joint venture interest in any Western Uranium deposit that is subsequently developed. WUC is a mineral exploration company, headquartered in Vancouver, with exploration properties in the USA in Kings Valley, Nevada and Treeline, New Mexico, as well as in the Thelon Basin, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories of Canada. (WNA, 30 August)

Scott Melbye has been appointed as president of Cameco Inc., based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding John Britt for Cameco's marketing and trading activities outside of Canada. Cameco's marketing team includes Marlene Kerr (marketing in Europe), James Dobchuck (marketing in US, Mexico and South America) and Jaimie Israel (marketing in Asia). (TradeTech, 31 August)

Cameco said that it would announce in November when its Port Hope conversion facility could reopen. The facility converts uranium concentrate powder (U3O8) into gaseous uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for foreign customers and into uranium dioxide (UO2) powder for use in Candu reactors. In the meantime, UF6 customers are supplied from existing inventory and by production from the Springfields plant, owned by Westinghouse in the UK. (WNN, 12 September)

Aurora Energy Resources Inc. has intersected uranium mineralization in eight new drill holes, which has expanded the size of its Jacques Lake deposit by at least 100 meters to the southwest in the Central Mineral Belt of Labrador. Recent drilling revealed 0.10-0.16% U3O8 over 7-25 meters. A new zone, the Eastern Shoot, was mapped at its Michelin deposit where one drill hole intersected 0.11% U3O8 over 9.8 meters. (TradeTech, 31 August)

Aurora Energy Resources Inc. has uncovered five new zones of uranium mineralization near its Jacques Lake deposit in the Central Mineral Belt of Labrador. Located 15 kilometers west of the Jacques Lake deposit, 8 of 11 new drill holes have intersected uranium mineralization within 50 meters of the surface with grades as high as 0.48% U3O8. These new zones of bedrock mineralization are exposed intermittently over 1.5 kilometers. Exploration along this Aurora Corridor will continue moving east, testing previously undrilled zones of surface mineralization including the Burnt Brook, Gayle, and Kathi uranium occurrences which have returned surface grades as high as 1.51% U3O8. (TradeTech, 14 September)

The board of Canada's main Inuit organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc (NTI), has unanimously approved a policy that will support uranium exploration and mining in Nunavut "if these activities are carried out with the objectives and policy statements set out in this policy, NTI's other policies, and all regulatory requirements." (WNN, 26 September)

Central African Republic : Authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) have challenged Areva's takeover of a uranium mine in the country, which is part of the company's recent acquisition of junior exploration and production company, UraMin. In a statement, the CAR Government said Areva's takeover of the mine was "irregular" and that is has hired a team of lawyers "to reach a negotiated settlement with the companies UraMin and Areva." The mine, which is located near Bakouma in the eastern part of the country, has a historical resource estimate of 41 million pounds U3O8. (TradeTech, 21 September)

China : China signs first domestic commercial uranium supply contract. (UxC, 10 Septmber)

India : Initiatives by India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) have included the commissioning of two new mines (Banduhurang and Turamdih) and the commissioning of a processing plant at Turamdih.

Plans are also in hand for the opening of additional uranium mines around the country. The country at present has proven reserves of uranium to support 10 000 megawatts electric (MWe) of installed capacity. The DAE has embarked upon ambitious plans of exploration to augment uranium reserves even further. NPCIL operates 17 reactor units with a total installed generating capacity of about 4 120 MWe including Tarapur-4 (490 MW PHWR in operation since September 2005), Tarapur-3 (490 MW PHWR in operation since August 2006) and Kaiga-3 (202 MW PHWR in operation since 6th of May 2007). (NucNet, 30 August).

Kazakhstan : Uranium One Inc. is acquiring all of the outstanding common shares of UrAsia Energy Ltd., a Vancouver-based junior company with engineering and sales office in Denver and operations offices in Almaty and Bishkek. Urasia is focusing on the development and operation of in-situ leach (ISL) uranium projects in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. UrAsia has a 70% interest in the South Inkai and Akdala uranium mines, and a 30% interest in the Kharassan uranium project, the three sites being in located in Kazakhstan. UrAsia's attributable share is 100 million lbU3O8 of resources. The total annual production at Akdala is 1 000 tU and the start up of production at both South Inkai and Kharassan is foreseen in the 4th quarter of 2007. UrAsia acquired 7 uranium exploration licenses in regions of Kyrgyzstan first explored by the Soviet Union in the 1950s. (TradeTech, September 2007)

Kyushu Electric Power Co has become the sixth Japanese company to acquire an interest in a project to develop uranium mines in Kazakhstan. The 2.5% stake it has bought from Marubeni for an undisclosed sum will entitle Kyushu to 50 tonnes of uranium per year from mines being developed by the Kharasan project. (Reuters, 25 September)

Namibia : Rio Tinto is actively considering expanding the Rössing uranium mine in Namibia to 4 500 t U3O8 (3 800 tU) per year and extending its life beyond 2016.The first phase would extend mining in 2008 to a new small orebody, introduce radiometric ore sorting to beneficiate material from stockpiled coarse ore, and construct a new sulfur-burning acid plant. Phase 2 will be defined in 2008 and could include heap leaching of low-grade ore and development of other small satellite orebodies with different mineralization and hence needing a new treatment plant for them. 2006 production was 3 617 t U3O8. (WNN, 31 August)

Rio Tinto may continue operating the Rössing mine until 2012 and increase production by 12.5% to 4500 tonnes (11.7 million pounds U3O8) in 2008. The mine life of the Rössing project was extended to 2016 in 2005 and production is expected to reach 4 000 tonnes (10.4 million pounds U3O8) this year. The production increase would be achieved through technical innovations, opening of new mining pits, and establishing new processing facilities with associated waste storage facilities. (TradeTech, 21 September)

Canadian-based Forsys Metals has signed an agreement with Digby Wells & Associates of South Africa to conduct the remainder of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and to prepare an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) for its Valencia uranium deposit. (Forsys, 20 September)

Niger : The Minister of Mines has announced that the country has sold 300 tonnes of uranium to US utility Exelon Corp. for at least $41.7 million. The move marks the country's first direct sale of uranium to the market since terms were renegotiated with Areva of France which agreed earlier this month to give the country the uranium for sale on the open market. Niger aims to launch a policy of diversification in mining partners after 40 years during which its two uranium mines, Arlit and Akokan, have been controlled by France. The country produced about 3 500 tonnes of uranium in 2006. However, uranium production is forecast to double in the next 4 years as two new mines are expected to begin producing. The Teguida mine, owned by China Nuclear International Uranium, a division of the China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC), is scheduled to start up in 2010, while Areva's Imouraren in-situ leach (ISL) project is expected to begin operating in 2011. (Reuters, 28 August; TradeTech, 31 August)

Several thousand people took part in a demonstration in Nigerian capital Niamey on Saturday, calling for the departure of French nuclear energy group Areva from the country and also opposing a claim by Libya to part of the country's territory, according to an Agence France-Presse journalist. (AFX International Focus, 10 September)

Australia's Artemis Resources Limited has, through its subsidiary Artemis Mining Corporation Pty Limited (Arminco), entered into a joint venture agreement with Trendfield Holdings Limited to acquire two prospective uranium projects in Niger. Under the agreement, Arminco will acquire an initial interest of 49 % interest in the assets and can earn an additional 2% in the project once uranium resources of at least 6000 tonnes U3O8 are confirmed. (TradeTech, 7 September)

Paraguay : Cameco Corp. has acquired a 10.4% share of Cue Capital Corp., a Vancouver-based junior company, and advanced a strategic alliance for continued uranium exploration and development on the Yuty project in southeastern Paraguay. This is a strategic alliance for continued uranium exploration and development in Paraguay,.the acquisition being the first part of a three-stage equity private placement by which Cameco gains the right to own up to 60% of a joint venture to develop uranium discoveries on the Yuty project in south-east Paraguay. (WNN,19 September; TradeTech, 14 September)

Peru : Vena Resources of Peru has signed a binding agreement with Canadian uranium producer Cameco to create a jointly-owned company called Minergia to explore and develop Vena's assets controlling uranium claims in an aggregate area of 40 000 hectares. Cameco have the option to invest $10 million over four years in Minergia, to obtain up to 50%. After a feasibility study Cameco could increase its ownership to 60%, and to 70% should mine development commence. Cameco is the world's largest uranium producer, with a share of 21% of world uranium production in 2006. It has four operating uranium mines in Canada and the USA, and is developing two new mines in Canada and Kazakhstan. (WNN,19 September) (Vena Resources, 5 September; UxC, 10 September)

Tanzania : Mantra releases drill results from the Mkuju River project. (UxC, 12 September)

United Kingdom : Based in London, Rio Tinto is set to join the FTSE4Good index, having fulfilled the business index's criteria for socially responsible mining of uranium. The FTSE4Good index series was launched in 2001 for investors that wanted to only invest in companies with good standards of corporate responsibility and that minimize social and environmental risk. The index had in the past excluded uranium mining and nuclear power companies, but has recently completed a revision of the 'negative screen' that excluded them. Rio Tinto should become the index's second company from the nuclear industry, after BHP Billiton which was included when it purchased WMC Resources with its Olympic Dam mine. Uranium mining is just one of Rio Tinto's activities which produces also aluminum, borax, coal, copper, diamonds, gold, iron ore, salt and titanium dioxide. (WNN, 18 August)

USA : Energy Fuels Resources of Canada has applied to the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board for a permit to reopen the former Packrat and Urantah Decline uranium mines near the town of Gateway in Mesa County, Colorado. The Packrat Mine, operational from the 1950s to 1990, and the Urantah Decline, opened in 1979 and closed in 1981, will make a single operation known as the Whirlwind Mine. The mine would employ some 20 people and be open for 10 years. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 30 August)

Operating permits for Denison's Tony M mine, part of the Henry Mountains Complex in Utah have been granted by the US Bureau of Land Management, enabling mining to begin. Full production of 16 000 tonnes of ore per month is due to be reached by mid-2008, and the ore is to be processed at Denison's White Mesa mill. Tony M has historical indicated resources of 1.16 million tonnes of ore, graded at 0.21% U3O8. Mining Tony M will facilitate access to the nearby undeveloped Bullfrog deposit and Denison anticipates also the start of ore production from its Arizona-1 mine in mid-2008. (WNN, 11 September)

Denison Mines Corp. has received all of the operating permits from the US Bureau of Land Management and the State of Utah for its Tony M mine within the Henry Mountains Complex of Utah. The mine is located west of the Denison's White Mesa Mill and has a historical indicated resource of 5.3 million pounds U3O8. Upon reaching full production by mid-2008, the Tony M mine is expected to produce 18 000 tons of ore per month. Mining is also underway at four of Denison's uranium mines in the Colorado Plateau District producing over 10 000 tons of ore per month. Currently, the ore is being stockpiled at the White Mesa Mill with processing scheduled to start in early 2008. (TradeTech, 14 September)

Nu-Mex Uranium Corp., based in London with operational offices in New Mexico, holds uranium properties in the southwestern USA and is focused on the development of in-ground uranium projects. Nu-Mex Uranium Corp. has completed its formal option and joint venture agreement with Strathmore Resources (US) Ltd. to form a joint venture to explore and develop Strathmore's Nose Rock properties in the Grants Mineral Belt of New Mexico. In addition, Strathmore has granted Nu-Mex a Right of First Refusal to negotiate a joint venture agreement for Strathmore's Dalton Pass, New Mexico uranium project. (TradeTech, 21 September)

Uranium Power Corp. to conduct pre-feasibility study at Sheep Mountain. (UxC, 10 September)

Strathmore Minerals Corp. has completed a joint venture agreement with American Uranium Corporation (AUC) to finance the development of the Pine Tree-Reno Creek project in Wyoming. The total land package has combined several nearby properties (Pine Tree, Four Mile Creek, and West Reno) and now comprises about 16 000 acres in the central Powder River. Strathmore will remain as operator of the project until AUC has completed its 60% earn-in commitment. (TradeTech, 7 September)

Zambia : Bermuda-based Zambezi Resources has signed a letter of intent with Rio Tinto covering uranium rights at Mulofwe Dome in Zambia, under which Rio Tinto will commit to spending at least $1 million to assess uranium mineralization over 1 250 square km. Rio Tinto may then elect to spend a further $5 million to earn 51% of the project's rights, in which case the two parties would incorporate a joint venture. Rio Tinto will manage the exploration program as well as any joint venture. Rio Tinto is one of the world's leading mining and exploration companies, with projects including aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy products, gold, industrial minerals and iron ore. Through its interests in the Ranger uranium mine in Australia and the Rössing mine in Namibia, currently ranked second and third in the in terms of output, it produced 18% of the world's uranium in 2006. (WNN,19 September)

Denison Mines of Canada plans to develop a uranium mine in the Lake Kariba area of Zambia. The company's president said that plans were to have the mine in production by late 2010 or early 2011. (miningmx.com, 24 September)

African Energy Resources Ltd. commences uranium study. Equinox to consider separate uranium plant. (UxC, 10 September)

World : The 13th World Nuclear Association (WNA) Market Report for 2007, entitled "The Global Nuclear Fuel Market, Supply and Demand 2007-2030", puts forward three scenarios for nuclear power generation, the "reference scenario" forecasting a steady growth of around 1.5% per year nuclear capacity from 368 GWe at the end of 2006 to 377 GWe by 2010, 454 GWe by 2020 and 529 GWe by 2030. On uranium supply, the report said that known reserves of uranium were "more than adequate to supply reactor requirements to well beyond 2030," but that a strong rise in production would come. Compared with 40 000 tonnes of uranium now, output could be expected to rise to between 64 000 tonnes and 82 000 tonnes by 2030, with new mines being likely to enter production in the period 2010-15. (WNN, 6 September)

For spot sales, the TradeTech's uranium spot price indicator was 85.00 bU3O8 on 21 September down $10.00 from previous month's level.


For long-term contracts, TradeTech (formerly Nuexco) publishes each month prices, for uranium, conversion and enrichment, which are an evaluation of the base price at which transactions for long-term delivery could be concluded. The current TradeTech long-term prices are 95 US$/lbU3O8, 13 US$/kgU as UF6, and 140 US$/SWU.


Source : Uranews, Sept. 2007