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Apr 22, 2016 - The European Commission reports in a new policy paper on nuclear investments that it expects a substantial nuclear new build program worth €350-500 billion (US$565-678 billion) to maintain 95-105 GWe of nuclear generation capacity in Europe over the long term. France's Economy Ministry said this week it will be outlining technical details for construction of the £18 billion (US$25 billion) Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in the UK over the comings week as state-controlled utility EDF and French government officials struggle to secure financing for the project. However, it was uranium production developments that dominated industry news this week. In first quarter results, Rio Tinto posted uranium production of nearly 1.6 million pounds U3O8 from its interests in Energy Resources of Australia and Rossing Uranium. BHP Billiton reported in its quarterly results that it had cut mining of all its major commodities except metallurgical coal. Uranium production at the Olympic Dam mine totaled 961 tU3O8 (2.1 million pounds U3O8) for the quarter ended March 31.
Kazatomprom, in remarks at the MINEX Forum in Astanta, Kazakhstan, said that although it will not cut production, it does intend to move forward with plans to establish a uranium fund. The company plans to deposit material into the fund for the next several years, in anticipation of higher prices in the future. Cameco confirmed this week that it would be shuttering production at its Rabbit Lake Mine in Canada and US uranium operations, as well as eliminating about 585 jobs and nearly 5 million pounds from its supply profile. The company said it will be taking a strategic, measured approach to future production and plans to expand production slowly at Cigar Lake, the world's largest uranium mine, and hold off on growing it to full capacity; instead, the company will focus on controlling expenses while awaiting higher prices.
These developments halted the price slide that has gripped the spot uranium market since October last year. While the loss of approximately 5 million pounds from the market is not insignificant, it is the psychological impact of the Cameco announcement that created ripples throughout the market. The move by Cameco, viewed as one of the strongest companies in the uranium mining sector, underscored the struggle that uranium miners face in
a market characterized by low demand and oversupply. Traders stepped in as buyers immediately following the Cameco announcement. Along with utility buying that occurred earlier in the week, a total of 10 transactions involving were recorded for the week.
Offer prices rose throughout the day and prices in transactions concluded today reflected prices at, or very near, today's Weekly U3O8 Spot Price Indicator. TradeTech's Weekly U3O8 Spot Price Indicator rose to $27.60 per pound U3O8, an increase of $2.10 from last week's Indicator and up $0.85 from the April 21 Daily U3O8 Spot Price Indicator. read more