Talking of charts here are a couple of my own, generated from data supplied by those nice (and industry standard benchmark reliable) people at the World Nuclear Association. First up is the production of U (not U308, but actual tonnage of the metal which is lower) in the period 2003 to 2009. The main takeaway here is that, unbeknown to many, there’s been a pretty decent pop in production recently. Last year saw North of 50KMT produced, which supplied 76% of the world market for U (breeder/reprocessor reactors and old nuke warheads make up a lot of the gap, which is pretty normal).
So in passing let’s check on the company breakdown of U production, where we see that in 2009 just ten companies supplied 89% of the world’s mined uranium. That’s a concentrated market, people.
The point of adding that last 2015 column is to show that there’s no real big supply problem in the works here. Normal run-of-industry expansion between now and then needs no stretching of the imagination to supply what will be needed. Especially when you consider things like the recent Ukrainian decision to decommision a pile of its nukes, or trifles such as the brand new uranium mine being built by Areva in Niger that’ll be good for 5000 tonnes per year as from 2012 onwards.
The bottom line is that there’s seemingly no supply squeeze on the horizon and it doesn’t matter what the market shillers might think. Uranium gets pumped to no result from time to time and this time seems no different, just the reasons (“OMG!!! Chinese Stockpiling!!!”) change. DYODD, dude.
UPDATE: Welcome biiwii readers! If you’re wondering what to get Gary for Xmas this year, here’s a great gift idea.