The Kazakh uranium miner produced 7.6 million pounds of U3O8 in the December quarter, taking its full-year attributable production to 29.8Mlb, a 7% fall year-on-year and in line with its plan to keep 20% below permitted output.
Kazatomprom’s London listing means it now has to put out quarterly total and attributable production numbers, although the costs will likely come in the interim financial results out in March.
BMO analyst Alexander Pearce said all the numbers were in line with estimates.
The average realised price for the year was US$24.56 per pound, 3% below forecasts.
Kazatomprom said the uranium market had tightened considerably in 2018.
“Additional demand began to materialise in May and it generally persisted, supporting a gradual improvement of the spot price to $22.55/lb U3O8 by the end of June,” the company said.
“More substantial improvement was marked by the July initial public offering of Yellow Cake plc, which acquired over 8 million pounds of U3O8 from the spot market.
“Later that month, Cameco Corporation’s announcement that the McArthur River facilities would remain shut down for an indeterminate period due to weak market conditions, helped trigger a further rise in the spot price. ”
Spot hit $29.15/lb in the fourth quarter.
Kazatomprom said tightness would continue.
“After a prolonged period of oversupply in the uranium market, 2018 saw a shift in balance toward undersupply, with the market being in slight deficit,” the miner said.
“The shift can be partially attributed to emerging interest in physical uranium from financial institutions throughout the year, although major production cuts from the world’s largest uranium producers played a prominent role in the modest improvement.”
Kazatomprom was down 3% to $13.81 per share in London on the December update.
Source: Mining Journal