The world’s largest uranium miner issued a dire warning on Friday concerning its production outlook for 2024, sparking fears that nuclear fuel supply could be at risk.
London-based Kazatomprom—the largest uranium miner in the world—said on Friday that sulfuric acid shortages and construction delays at newly discovered deposits could lead to the company missing production targets—challenges that could remain into next year.
Uranium supply is already under threat, with spot prices for yellowcake-uranium concentrate used in nuclear power generation reaching a new 16-year high at $92.45 per pound this week. And analysts—including BofA—were already forecasting that the continued market tightness could lead to prices that reach more than $100, calling it a “third bull market”.
That was before Kazatomprom said it that while it was committed to fulfilling its contractual obligations for existing customers in 2024, 2025 plans would be subject to “considerable supply chain risks,” Bloomberg said on Friday.
Public sentiment surrounding nuclear energy has improved over the last year as governments attempt to balance energy independence and persistent calls for attention to climate concerns. Nuclear power—while getting a bad rap over some signficant nuclear disasters— has been hailed as a carbon-free energy source while serving as a baseload power source superior to the variability of solar and wind power sources.
Kazatomprom, controlled by the Kazakhstan government’s sovereign wealth fund, said it would detail the likely effect the sulfuric acid shortage and construction delays will have on its output in a trading update by February 1.
Kazakhstan is the largest producer and exporter of uranium globally, mining and exporting more than 40% of the world’s supply, according to The Jamestown Foundation. According to the Foundation, Kazakhstan has been the leading supplier of uranium to Russia, which uses more than twice as many tons of uranium as its domestic mines produce.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.