The demand for uranium is limited to nuclear power production and medical equipment. Annual global demand is 150 million pounds, with nuclear power plants looking to secure contracts roughly two years ahead of use. While uranium demand is not immune to economic downturns, it is less exposed than other industrial metals and commodities. The bulk of demand is distributed across some 445 nuclear power plants operating in 32 countries, with supply concentrated in a handful of mines. Kazakhstan is easily the largest producer with over 40% of output, followed by Australia (13%) and Namibia (11%). Combined with recent optimistic releases about nuclear power from the World Nuclear Association and the International Atomic Energy Agency (the IAEA upped its projections for future nuclear-power use for the first time since Fukushima) this is all making investors more bullish about future uranium demand. The effect on the price has also been multiplied by issues on the supply side. Due to the previously low prices, uranium mines around the world have been mothballed for several years. For example, Cameco, the world’s largest listed uranium company, suspended production at its McArthur River mine in Canada in 2018.
The Conversation 24th Sept 2021 read more »