Uranium mining companies reversed a 10-year decline in exploration budgets in 2021 and funding is poised to rise further in 2022 as companies aim to capitalize on higher yellowcake prices and a rosier demand outlook.
Uranium exploration budgets rose 10.7% year over year in 2021, with Canada leading the pack and budgeting $67 million, followed by the U.S. at $10.1 million, according to S&P Global Capital IQ data.
Globally, uranium exploration budgets for juniors reached about $94.3 million in 2021, while majors’ exploration budgets for uranium totaled approximately $22.7 million, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis found.
The global exploration budget remains far from peaks seen in the late 2000s, but even modest increases represent new hope for the moribund industry. Prices rose to the mid-$40s per pound in 2021, more than double the lows around $20/lb in 2017 and 2018.