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Kazatomprom tips uranium deficit

Kazatomprom tips uranium deficitGlobal uranium leader, Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom, says it will maintain mine-site restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19 for at least another three months, which could contribute to a 10% uranium market deficit 2020.

Uranium spot prices have recently crossed into US$30/lb territory as production cuts are deepened by COVID-19 restrictions. The market has also received a shot in the arm from the recent positive policy measures by the USA, set to create a premium for domestic product.

Third-party estimates indicate primary uranium supply could decrease by more than 10% over 2019, when supply-demand was generally in balance, according Kazatomprom.

The company’s March quarter output was 5,221 tonnes uranium, on a 100% basis, down from 5,294t in the comparable prior-year period.

The company in April announced measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to its insitu recovery operations, resulting in a lower level of wellfield development activity and thus lower production volumes.

It has revised its 2020 guidance and now expects to produce 19,000-19,500t, down from previous forecasts of 22,750-22,800t.

The reduced production level was not expected to impact 2020 sales or prevent the company from meeting contractual commitments to customers, Kazatomprom said.

Meanwhile, delays to the construction schedule for Kazatomprom’s nuclear fuel assembly plant in Kazakhstan have been caused by lockdowns and travel restrictions in many countries that have prevented equipment suppliers from sending specialists to site for installation and calibration of equipment. The company said a new completion and commissioning timeline was yet to be determined.

Source: Mining Journal