Cameco Corp., the world’s second-largest producer of uranium, is emerging as a rare bright spot among Canada’s largest mining companies on signs nuclear power is shaking off its post-Fukushima slump.
Shares of Cameco have climbed 12 percent in Toronto in the past month. By comparison, Teck Resources Ltd., the world’s second-largest exporter of seaborne metallurgical coal, fell 16 percent and Barrick Gold Corp., No. 1 for bullion production, slid 18 percent.
A U.S. plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants may support new reactors and the restart of a Kyushu Electric Power Co. plant this week is highlighting a drive to get more atomic stations online in Japan. The improved prospect for uranium, the raw material in reactor fuel, is in contrast to slowing demand and ample supply for metals such as aluminum and zinc, which sent the Bloomberg World Mining Index to a six-year low in July.
“What we’re seeing is the U.S. and Japan really renewing their commitment to nuclear power,” Rob Chang, a Toronto-based analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald LP, said Aug. 11 in a phone interview. “You’ve also got India and China pushing ahead with their nuclear expansion.”
Uranium futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange have climbed 18 percent in the past year to $36 a pound, while the benchmark price for steelmaking coal has fallen 23 percent to $93 a metric ton and gold futures have dropped 14 percent.
U.S. President Barack Obama this month unveiled a blueprint for reducing carbon emissions from the nation’s power plants by almost a third from 2005 levels by 2030, allowing new reactors to count more toward individual states’ efforts to meet federal targets for carbon-free electric power.
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