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Uranium In 2016: Time To Watch The Athabasca Basin

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Dave Forest

Dave Forest

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

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This Major Uranium Event Is Finished Already

It had threatened to be one of the biggest events in the uranium market for some time.

But it now appears that a mineworkers strike at the critical McArthur River mine will be only a footnote for the sector.

McArthur's operator Cameco announced late last week that the strike appears to be finished. With workers having reportedly taken down their picket lines at the mine site as of Friday morning.

The two sides have apparently reached a tentative labor settlement. Which the mineworkers' union will now vote on at month-end to bring final closure to the strike.

With the mine shut-down having barely reached two weeks in length, there should be little effect on uranium output. Cameco noted that "preparations are under way to return workers to the sites and safely resume production."

Barring any unforeseen complications, that should be that for this issue. Once again leaving the direction for uranium prices in question.

The uranium oxide spot market had rallied significantly in the face of the potential supply disruption at McArthur. With prices up over 15% since the beginning of August, to a current $32.75 per pound.

But much of those gains could now be lost as bullish sentiment over McArthur dissipates. Meaning the market will shift back to focusing on normal supply-demand fundamentals.

That means a few factors are going to become critical for uranium investors.

First, the timing of restarts for nuclear power plants in Japan. Where a couple of recent approvals have yet to transform into any apparent progress on actual flipping of switches.

Also, ongoing cuts to world mine supply. Which could worsen if uranium prices languish at currently-low levels--where few producers outside of Canada's Athabasca Basin are making much profit.

We'll see what the coming months bring.

Here's to being over before it started,

Dave Forest


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