‘At least 25 new uranium mines needed by 2020′
By: Martin Creamer
Published: 6 Sep 07 – 10:51
The world would need “at least” 25 new uranium mines by 2020 and global uranium marketing would change as fundamentally as oil marketing did in the 1970s, Paladin Resources MD John Borshoff said in Perth on Thursday.
Borshoff told the Africa Downunder conference that, in transforming from being inventory dominant to being mining dominant, uranium marketing would shed its current “cosy arrangement” between consumer and supplier and take on a new global dimension.
Borshoff, who is credited with accurately forecasting uranium’s renaissance well ahead of time, described the current uranium-price downturn as being “almost a shenanigan”.
On uranium coming down in price from $138/lb to $90/lb, he said: “Rest easy, because it’s going to start moving upwards again.”
He said that the price drop was part of an extremely sharp upturn and would continue on an upward path after an adjustment.
And on marketing, he added that “remarkable” uranium-marketing changes would be at a level of “the oil shock of the 1970s”.
Thirty-two nuclear reactors were currently under construction and proposed are another 288 reactors by 2025, compared to 35 in 2003 and 150 in 2005.
The current production of 103-million pounds of uranium a year would need to rise to 190-million pounds in 2013 and then between 230-million pounds and 250-million pounds going further forward.
“These are massive requirements from an industry that has almost been dead in the head for 20 years,” he said.
From that “sleeping mode”, the industry would have to prepare itself to achieve “huge” increases in the supply, which was not only needing to grow above the current 103-million-pound base, but that base was in the throes of diminishing as mines depleted.
There thus had to be both replacement and additive components and “at least 25 new mines would be required by 2020”, Borshoff said.
But, having reached that point, the industry would then immediately have to enter the next phase to find more uranium.
“Whether or not we get the 288 reactors by 2025, is not that relevant, but what is relevant is that the growth of nuclear reactors is going to outpace the supply of uranium,” he said.
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