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Dave Forest

Dave Forest

Dave is Managing Geologist of the Pierce Points Daily E-Letter.

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Is This The Newest Nuclear Player In The Middle East?

Uranium prices continue to hover at multi-year lows, currently going for $20 per pound. 

But some global buyers see an opportunity in the current market crisis. With one of the world’s largest investors this week making a leap into the sector. 

That’s the sovereign wealth fund of Oman. Which agreed to invest up to $120 million to fund a uranium development project in Spain — and potentially take a significant chunk of the uranium supply from the operation. 

The Oman fund said it will make the investment as a combination of debt and equity in project developer Berkeley Energy. Which is advancing the Salamanca project, currently under construction and expected to begin output in 2019. 

The move is a big one for the Oman government. Representing the first entry by this major investment group into the uranium sector. 

And the timing isn’t a coincidence. With Oman’s first nuclear plant slated to come online next year — supplying baseload power to the nation. 

That appears to be a major motivation for this week’s investment. With the Oman government also securing rights to uranium offtake from the Salamanca mine as part of the deal. 

All of which is a major sign of life for the uranium market. Showing that end-use demand in the nuclear sector is staying strong as new reactors come online globally. 

Related: Is This Country About To Revive Biofuels?

The investment also shows that uranium consumers are thinking down the road in securing supply. Which could prompt more deals like this one, as buyers watch future supply being tied up by offtake agreements.

The Oman deal will also be an interesting test case on uranium trade policy. With the offtake agreement requiring approval from European nuclear agency Euratom. 

Watch to see how the regulator will react to the idea of uranium exports to the Middle East. And to see if this investment will spur more activity across the uranium space.

Here’s to buying in.

By Dave Forest

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  • Derrick Kaopuiki on September 25 2017 said:
    There is no indication on the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) website of any nuclear construction in the country of Oman. This article seems to be incorrect in stating "And the timing isn’t a coincidence. With Oman’s first nuclear plant slated to come online next year — supplying baseload power to the nation."

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