Paladin welcomes US decision on uranium quotas

SINGAPORE: Paladin Energy Limited has welcomed a decision by United States President Donald Trump to decline issuing quotas for US domestic uranium production.

A Section 232 Petition filed by two US-based uranium companies in January 2018 had called for a 25% quota on uranium to limit imports in support of US based producers. In a memorandum issued on Friday 12 July (US time), Trump announced he had declined to issue the quotas, saying he disagreed with a US Commerce Department investigation that found uranium imports threatened to impair US national security.

Trump instead ordered a 90-day governmental review by a working group of federal agencies with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain. Paladin Chief Executive Officer Scott Sullivan said Trump’s decision was welcomed by Paladin and it was expected to be good news for the company and other non-US producers.

“Since the petition was lodged early last year, we have seen a reluctance by both US utilities and non-US utilities to enter into long-term off-take agreements with producers and instead they have drawn down their inventories, which has contributed to suppressed uranium prices,” he said.

“Now that we have President Trump’s decision on the petition and have finally removed the uncertainty that has prevailed in the market, we expect a normalisation of the term market to follow and strengthening prices moving forward.”

Paladin’s Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia transitioned to care and maintenance in August 2018 due to the sustained low uranium spot price. Paladin commenced a two-stage PFS for the restart of Langer Heinrichin February 2019 after a concept study identified multiple options to reduce operating costs, improve uranium process reliability and potentially recover a saleable vanadium product.

The first stage of the PFS centred on a rapid restart strategy is expected to be completed in September 2019.

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