Uranium Resources (URRE)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 11, 2012 11:00 PM ET


Deborah Pawlowski - IR

Don Ewigleben - President, CEO and COO

Rick Van Horn - SVP - Operations

Tom Ehrlich - VP and CFO

Mark Pelizza - SVP- Health, Safety, and Environmental Affairs


David Snow - Energy Equities

Anthony Young - Dahlman Rose

Benjamin Alan - Private Investor



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Greetings and welcome to the Uranium Resources Incorporated First Quarter 2012 update conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions).

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Deborah Pawlowski, Investor Relations for Uranium Resources Incorporated. Thank you Ms. Pawlowski; you may begin.

Deborah Pawlowski

Thank you very much Emilia and good morning everyone. We certainly appreciate your time today and your interest in Uranium Resources.

On the call I have with me President and CEO, Don Ewigleben, who will review the recent events of the last quarter, the great strides that we have made in the first part of this year and what our focus in strategic initiatives are for the company as we move forward. He’ll be joined by Tom Ehrlich, Chief Financial Officer; Rick Van Horn, Senior Vice President of Operations and Exploration; as well as Matt Lueras who is the Senior Vice President of Environment, Safety and Public Affairs.

We will conclude the call with an opportunity for the questions and answers. If you don't have today's news release, it can be found on our website at www.uraniumresources.com.

As you are aware, we may make some forward-looking statements during the formal presentation and Q&A portion of this teleconference. Those statements apply to future events, which are subject to risks and uncertainties, as well as other factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from where we are today.

These factors are outlined in the news release, as well as in documents filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You can find those on our website where we regularly post information about the company, as well as on the SEC's website at sec.gov. So please review our forward-looking statements in conjunction with these precautionary factors.

So with that, I’d like to turn the call over to Don to begin the discussion. Don.

Don Ewigleben

Thanks Debby. I too appreciate all of you participating this morning on this call and taking the time to hear an update about URI a and the various activities so far in 2012. Let me start with some of the macro issues and then I'll turn to the specifics. We are still encouraged that the Uranium market fundamentals remain strong for our industry. Although the Uranium spot prices still trading in the $50 to $55 range according to UX, we still see a steady, holding of that price pattern and what that tells us that we're not likely to see a return to sub-50 spot prices. That means that we can plan to move forward.

If you look at the base case uranium worldwide requirements, it's quite impressive in terms of growth. There will be increasing from a 173 million pounds U308 in 2012 to 224 mli pounds U308 by 2020 and if you take it all the way to 2030 we are up to 271 million pounds U308. By comparison, the world market production for 2012 from all sources such as new production, existing production, inventory drawdown, is estimated to be in the 180 to 195 million pound range comparable to those numbers that I just suggested with regard to growth. The 2011 world production was approximately 140 million pounds under the middle case scenario in that report.

We also note that the China Development Bank's arm is targeting resource yields in a number of areas including uranium. That's positive. Regarding a situation in Japan, everyone is aware that in the wake of the Fukushima disasters, a number of reactors in Japan were closed. You might not be aware that there is a new world economic forum report that has surged Japan will continue to rely on nuclear power. That report's based on cost and time associated with changing power sources as well as the slowdown in industry and the Japanese economy that would result in the absence of nuclear power availability. We see that as a positive sign.

We are also encouraged to see that others. We are also encouraged to see that others are following our lead with regard to M&A activity. On the heels of our announcement to acquire a neutron energy, we see that energy fuels are buying Denison US heads. We expect further consolidation activities in this sector in the future to get to the levels of production necessary to meet demand. The Canadian nuclear safety commission's authorization to power up unit 2 of the Bruce A nuclear power plant in Ontario is also encouraging. The reactor effectively means the construction and commissioning phases of the refurbishment project and it's been offline for more than 15 years. It appears that our competitors are experiencing increased volumes and increasing their 2012 production forecast as well. Our joint venture partner Cameco announced that its earnings are up in first quarter on higher production volumes and average selling price. We also saw URI up their 2012 production forecast. These are all positive signs for the coming year in the Uranium industry in our view.

Let's take a look at the things that will be closer to home for URI and I'll start with a presence status in Texas. As we previously stated, our objective in Texas is quite simple. Return to production as soon as the Uranium price recovers. All activities in Texas are putting URI in a position for that return to production. This includes the initiation of a prefeasibility study on possible lower zones adjacent to previously recovered 8 million pound areas. We're also in the midst of other maintenance activities to ensure that we are fully prepared to chargeback into production in the near term as the price increases.

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