Posts Tagged ‘uranium suppliers’

Utility Demand Should Continue Driving Uranium Prices Higher

A recent news release issued by uranium mining  Resources (OTC BB: URRE), emphasizes the underlying stress this uranium bull market is creating for utilities. The company’s appears to confirm that spot uranium prices should run much higher over, at least, the short term. Uranium Resources announced it was restructuring its long-term sales contracts in order to establish a “market related” contract with Itochu Corporation. This the multi-national Japanese-based conglomerate has more than 150 offices in 80 countries and over 4,000 employees. This should give Uranium Resources a strong boost in the international uranium mining community, which is growing more populated each month.

On February 10th, we talked to Paul Willmott, chairman and chief executive of Uranium Resources about the nature of the current uranium cycle. He told us, “…everybody is entering into ‘market related contracts,’ which is the price at the time of delivery. Because it’s a seller’s market, they are able to get floors that protect them in the same way they would be protected by having a long-term price.”

Willmott did just that. He is willing to pay Atlanta-based UG USA, a uranium broker and trading company, $12 million to terminate a long-term uranium supply contract. Otherwise, it would have run through 2008 on prices, which would not have been favorable to Uranium Resources. His terms with Itochu Corporation established a floor of at least $30/pound on the first 3.65 million pounds of uranium deliveries. Uranium Resources also plans to raise up to $45 million, plans to forward split its stock 1-for-4, and hopes to list on the NASDAQ National Market. With a market capitalization in excess of $300 million, and climbing, there is no surprise with the latter of those announcements.

What Uranium Resources accomplished with their recent news announcement was two-fold: (a) it points to a higher spot uranium price over the next several months; (b) other utilities have been alerted and may begin pursuing deals with other U.S. uranium juniors. We have frequently written that there is a scramble on for uranium by U.S. and Asian utilities. At least two uranium juniors have told us they’ve met with utility companies about contracting for their not-yet-mined uranium. These were early negotiations. Uranium Resources’ news announcement has primed the pump for these and other negotiations to accelerate.

Uranium Resources also announced a joint venture with Itochu Corporation to develop the company’s Church Rock (New Mexico) property. Itochu has agreed to fund development costs, estimated at $32 million, in exchange for 50 percent of the profits. Itochu will also pay the cost of a feasibility study, about $675,000. That Itochu has decided to pursue this joint venture is a very positive sign for not only Uranium Resources, but for others who plan to develop their New Mexico uranium properties. The two top contenders include Strathmore Minerals (TSX: STM; Other OTC: STHJF) and Energy Metals (TSX: EMC). Both have properties nearby (within walking distance) of Uranium Resources’ Church Rock property. What is good for Uranium Resources will also be good for these two uranium development companies.