Australian Uranium Hopefuls Bolstered By Global Uranium Production Predictions

Global uranium production is tipped to increase by 3.1% in 2021, bolstering the hopes of a handful of Australian uranium hopefuls.
Experts at data analyst consultancy GlobalData have predicted 51,200 tonnes of uranium will be produced this year, largely thanks to the return of production at Cigar Lake in Canada and increased output growth from leading uranium producers Kazakhstan and Russia.
The production increase comes despite a predicted 21.2% drop in Australian uranium production due to the renowned Ranger mine in the Northern Territory closing down after 40 years of service.
Market on road to recovery
Associate project manager at Global Data Vinneth Bajaj said uranium would begin its recovery this year after several years of decline.
“Global uranium production has been limited in recent years, mainly due to a sluggish market. This was further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic from early 2020,” he said.
“In fact, global production of uranium fell by 9.2% to 49,700 tonnes in 2020, with the most significant declines observed in Canada (43.9%) and Kazakhstan (14.6%) – globally, almost 60% of uranium originates from these two countries.
Uranium production
“Global uranium production is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2% over the forecast period (2021-2025) to reach 65,200 tonnes in 2025.
“Kazakhstan, which holds some of the world’s largest uranium deposits, is expected to remain the world’s largest supplier for the next few years.
“With potential open pit uranium mines, Namibia is also expected to remain a prominent supplier of uranium to the global markets.
“Furthermore, the restart of Cigar Lake, in April 2021 is expected to provide a much-needed boost to Canada’s uranium supply.”
Renewed interest in uranium
The uranium market has been in decline in recent years due to fears surrounding nuclear energy, though as governments around the world make commitments moving away from fossil fuels, interest has been renewed.
The US is currently evaluating extending the operating life of its nuclear power plants for up to 100 years.
Other countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, as well as the EU, all upgraded their climate change policies during 2020, indicating higher demand for nuclear power going forward, alongside higher electricity generated from sources other than coal.
ASX-listed hopefuls
Though the Ranger mine processed its final ore in January of this year, there are a number of ASX-listed companies hoping to become significant global producers of uranium.
As reported today by Proactive, GTI Resources Ltd (ASX:GTR) will start drilling for uranium at its Henry Mountains Uranium & Vanadium Project in Utah as soon as late June following approval from the state.
The company owns around 1,500 hectares of land in the Henry Mountains region, which forms part of the prolific Colorado Plateau uranium province, once the most important uranium resource in the US.
Peninsula Energy Ltd (ASX:PEN) (OTCMKTS:PENMF) (FRA:P1M) recently raised $13.4 million from institutional and high net worth investors, which will settle the purchase of 300,000 pounds of natural uranium concentrates at a price of US$31.35 per pound, which is reflective of the prevailing uranium spot price.
Peninsula managing director and CEO Wayne Heili said: “The acquisition of physical uranium underpins our focus on the transition of the Lance Project to a low pH ISR operation.”
Lotus Resources Ltd (ASX:LOT) (OTCMKTS:LTSRF) in May started ore sorting test-work on ore from Kayelekera Uranium Project in Malawi with strong initial results revealing the potential to improve project economics.
The test-work is underway on 500 kilograms of run of mine ore and this is taking place at STEINERT’s testing facility in Perth, Australia.
Eclipse Metals Ltd (ASX:EPM) yesterday revealed shallow uranium-vanadium-strontium mineralisation in RAB drilling results at its tenement ELA31501 in Ngalia Basin of the Northern Territory.
Other hopefuls include Marmota Ltd (ASX:MEU), a South Australian mining exploration company focused on gold, copper and uranium, and Valor Resources Ltd (ASX:VAL), which is focused on precious and base metals along with uranium through acquisitions and exploration activities at projects in Peru and Canada.