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Uranium remains bleak

The latest edition of the SME gazzete says that the outlook for the uranium sector remains downcast. According to the monthly publication booklet, Rio Tinto’s Rössing Uranium mine announced a turnover loss of N$380 million to N$2.88 billion. Rössing is Namibia’s biggest uranium producer, responsible for 4 percent of global output with 2699 tonnes of uranium oxide produced in 2012. The announcement by MD Chris Salisbury follows news of the retrenchment of close to 300 workers at Rössing, a delay in the expansion of Paladin’s Langer Heinrich and the moth balling of Areva’s Trekkopje mine.Uranium prices have failed to recover on the back of weak demand following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and traded at a spot price of US $40 per pound in the first week of June, down from apre-crisis level of US $75. The publication further revealed that the existing Namibian mines are estimated to be profitable at a price level of US $50 per pound of yellow cake. Salisbury, who will leave Rössing later this year, said there are no plans to sell the mine. Overall, the mining sector expanded by 11.2percent in 2012 and contributed 11.5 percent to GDP.

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