LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) – Canadian miner Cameco said it will hold down output until uranium prices recover and it could cut production further, although nuclear reactor life extensions in France and newbuilds in China, the UAE and Britain bring some hope.
Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan, Germany and other countries have closed dozens of reactors, which has depressed demand for nuclear fuel and forced miners to close or mothball mines as uranium prices plunged.
From a $140/pound high in 2007 and about $70 just before Fukushima, uranium fell to a low of $18/lb in 2016 and has since recovered slightly to $25 today as miners cut output.
A World Nuclear Association (WNA) report released on Thursday showed that world uranium production dropped from 62,200 tonnes in 2016 to 53,500 tonnes in 2018, with Canada, the world second-biggest producer, cutting output in half to 7,000 tonnes.
“We are not restarting mines until we see a better market and we may close more capacity, although no decision has been taken yet,” Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel told Reuters at the WNA’s annual conference.