Bannerman chief executive sees uranium bull market emerge fast – Etango ready to go
The top man of Australian uranium developer, Bannerman Resources has high hopes for their Etango project in Namibia once the current uranium bear market sheds the shackles holding it.
“The uranium sector’s current pricing doldrums are destined to mother a bull market in the near to short term” Munro said on the second day of the Paydirt 2017 Africa Downunder conference in Perth.
The current decade-low uranium price around US$20 per pound is unsustainable, according to Munro.
“While all commodity markets are cyclical – and it is said that the best remedy for low prices is low prices – uranium has unique dynamics that point to an abrupt return to higher prices when its time comes,” he said.
“Due to the long term nature of nuclear power plants and the accompanying buying timeframes, uranium cycles are longer than most other commodities.”
“We have been in a long term bear market since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”
“The recovery in the sector, bolstered by nuclear power’s clean, base load attributes, has been coming since 2006, although the global financial crisis and then the Fukushima accident stalled the recovery” Munro continued.
“Because of the magnitude and depth of this bear market gestation period, we expect the next bull to be born large and to grow quickly. So now is a compelling time in the cycle for high growth investment.”
Shifting to Bannerman’s vested interest in Etango, Munro said it is one of the few uranium projects in the world with a completed Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) and environmental permitting and will be a top 10 producer once developed.
Based on the DFS, production is expected to be 7 to 9 million pounds U3O8 per year for the first five years and 6 to 8 million pounds thereafter.
It will have a minimum mine life of 16 years with significant expansion potential through the conversion of existing Inferred Resource as well as the deposit being open at depth and along strike.
Etango is considered by Bannerman to be a low technical and environmental risk project, with conventional open pit mining and sulphuric acid heap leaching at 20 million tonnes per annum.
“The Etango project has all its environmental and social licences in place,” Munro emphasised.
“It also has all the necessary infrastructure on its doorstep making if effectively shovel ready when the sector turns around,” he added.
“During the last structurally driven bull market in the 1970s the real uranium spot price spent four years above US$140 a pound – and with the extent of supply constraints, I don’t see that being a totally unrealistic aspiration for the sector.”