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TheStreet Open House

Kazakh Storm Has Limited Impact On Uranium Production

Uranium Spot Prices May Rise on Kazakh Storm

The uranium spot price bounced up $1.50, to $43.75 per pound U3O8, in the last week of January, although some transactions are fetching $44 per pound, TradeTech reported. Important factors at play in supply/demand fundamentals going forward include “[r]ecent production cutbacks and the political crisis and military contingent in Mali” and “the recent news regarding stringent new safety measures proposed by Japan's new Nuclear Regulatory Authority,” according to the consultancy firm.

An extremely destructive storm in the Sozak region of Kazakhstan last month led to a temporary suspension of uranium mining in the area, reported World Nuclear News. This week, state-owned nuclear company Kazatomprom announced that it may take up to six weeks to restore power to a key power line, which includes several of its uranium mining operations. However, the company  limited the power cut's impact by installing temporary power systems within four days of the storm.

Kazkhstan is the world's leading uranium producer, with about 37 percent of global output.

The Nigerian government is in talks with France's AREVA (EPA:AREVA) to glean a bigger piece of the profits that the miner reaps from its uranium mines in the African country, reported Reuters. Niger is the world's third-biggest producer of uranium, but is extremely impoverished with an estimated 2011 GDP of about $6 billion. AREVA is currently working on a bringing its third Nigerian uranium mine, Imouraren, into production; it could reportedly produce 5,000 metric tons (MT) of yellowcake annually.

Virginia Energy Resources (TSXV:VUI) and Virginia Uranium, its subsidiary, experienced a huge setback last week in plans to bring the Coles Hill project into construction. Citing insufficient support, Senator John C. Watkins withdrew the bill that — if passed — would have essentially lifted the uranium mining ban in the state of Virginia, reported The Wall Street Journal.

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