Editorial: Global geopolitics sideswipe African uranium miners – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – June 18, 2019)

Northern Miner

The global uranium mining market in the 2010s took a hit from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011 — which cut global uranium demand some 10% for many years — and the simultaneous ramping up of low-cost uranium production out of Kazakhstan that has transformed the country into the world’s largest uranium producer.

Thanks to the massive devaluation of the Kazakhstan tenge currency in 2014 and 2015, the country is also easily the lowest-cost producer in the world, with its in-situ recovery mines operated by Kazatomprom and Uranium One dominating the first two quartiles of uranium mining costs globally in 2018.

With Kremlin-backed Russian interests heavily influencing Kazatomprom and Uranium One, and the Russian government striking numerous nuclear-energy cooperation deals in developing countries across the globe, it couldn’t be clearer that the global nuclear fuel cycle is increasingly controlled by Russia, with all its geopolitical implications for the rest of this century.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin plays the long game, leaders in the West don’t seem to realize any game is being played at all, with domestic U.S. uranium production controlled by Americans reduced to almost nil, and Canada’s uranium leader Cameco forced to indefinitely suspend mining at arguably the richest uranium mine, McArthur River in Saskatchewan, which nevertheless sat in the third quartile of global uranium mines on a cost basis before the suspension.

With our latest issue focused on mineral development and mining in Africa, it’s worth taking a look at the havoc low uranium prices have played on African uranium mining and exploration.

For the rest of this editorial: https://www.northernminer.com/news/editorial-global-geopolitics-sideswipe-african-uranium-miners/1003807342/?utm_source=NM&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NM-EN06202019&e=xr20y4rW20w0380wx8w8w69vpsw0yM2vx

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