The International Uranium Corp (IUC) has commenced ore production at its Sunday Mine Complex on the Colorado Plateau region of the US. With its vanadium credit, IUC expects the Sunday Mine Complex to be one of the lowest cost producers of uranium in the industry. With production from this mine plus production for all other sources, IUC expects to recover a total of approximately 1 million pounds of uranium in 1998, increasing to 1.5 million pounds in 1999, based on average grades of 0.25% uranium.
The recent increases in the price of uranium (see below) and vanadium have made the Complex economic. IUC had already initiated operations which involved mine restoration and pre-production work such as surface facility preparation, mine de-watering, drift repair etc. Actual ore production commenced on 30 October. The ore will be stockpiled at IUC’s White Mesa Mill. In addition to its own mined ore, IUC is negotiating with other parties in the Colorado Plateau to purchase their ore.
RISING SPOT MARKET PRICES The spot-market price of a pound of US uranium is expected to rise to $12.40 in 1998, up from $11.20 this year, according to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. The EIA forecast was based primarily on market studies showing greater purchases by utilities that operate nuclear power reactors. The spot market price for uranium was $15.60 per pound in 1996. The EIA also said current levels of commercial uranium inventories are likely to decline in the next several years as imports from the republics of the former Soviet Union – a major contribution to excess supplies – decline. By 2003, EIA projects that the spot-market price will rise to $15.00 per pound (in 1996 inflation-adjusted dollars).