Energy Fuels confident about $1.5bn investment in US uranium
The US Department of Energy tabled a request for the 2021 Budget to include funding for domestic uranium development over the next 10 years. The CEO of Energy Fuels, Mark Chalmers, is confident that this request will be granted: “Our allies in Congress and the Trump Administration are pushing hard to fund $150-million a year to create the US uranium reserve. We are encouraged that the US Department of Commerce appears committed to negotiating an agreement that will provide concrete benefits to the US uranium mining sector.”
These comments come after the US Government’s treatment of the country’s uranium industry had previously been described as “slow and uneven”.
Energy Fuels is well placed to capitalise on any investments made into the American uranium mining sector. Uranium spot prices are up 30% this year, as Covid-19-related mine closures have created a gap between supply and demand. The price was $32.25/lb as at 31 July. At the same time, the company is developing its production capacities, having resumed production at its White Mesa mill in Utah.
By the end of the year, Energy Fuels forecasts that it will have between 640,000lb and 690,000lb of finished uranium in its inventory.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.