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Vol 55 No 20

Published 10th October 2014

Uranium profits decline

The protracted slump in global uranium prices has dashed African hopes that higher mining taxes would boost economic growth

A geographical shift in uranium production should, in theory, have benefitted Malawi, Namibia, Niger and South Africa as, together with the world's biggest producer, Kazakhstan, they have become the source for over half of the global supply. But although at the end of last month the yellowcake spot market price ticked up from a trough of below US$30 per pound of uranium oxide (U3O8) to US$34/lb., it remained well below the $60 level needed for many mines to be economic to operate. The construction of planned new mines has been delayed until prices recover, including at Imouraren in Niger and Trekkopje in Namibia, in both of which France's Areva is already working.

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