Friday, April 27, 2012

South Australian Four Mile Uranium Mine Attains 10-Year Lease

Published on Friday April 27 2012 (AEST)
A joint venture group has accepted a 10-year mining lease to develop the Four Mile uranium deposit in South Australia's north. 

Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the lease would allow Quasar and Alliance Resources to develop a mining and rehabilitation plan. 

The Four Mile deposit is located near the existing Beverley uranium mine which will be used to process ore from the new project. 


"Since the discovery of the resource in 2005, the joint venturers have been working through some challenges to realise the potential of this mine believed to contain a grade of uranium that is 10 times higher than that found at Olympic Dam," Mr Koutsantonis said. 

"I am confident that Four Mile is the latest in a pipeline of uranium projects that will help realise the benefits of the mining boom for all South Australians and tap into the growing global demand for energy." 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Paladin Energy To Issue $US225 Convertible Bond To Meet Debt

Published on Tuesday April 24 2012 (AEST)

URANIUM miner Paladin Energy was a step closer to fixing its debt problems last night, after tapping the bond market for up to $US275 million.

John Borschoff, Managing Director
of Paladin Energy.
Paladin executives were looking to complete their book-build in early European trading last night, as they seek to calm market fears about a short-term debt that is due to mature next year.

The company was recently downgraded to a ''sell'' rating by Patersons Securities on the grounds that it would struggle to cover a $US325 million convertible note that is due to mature in March.

Paladin expects to cover about 60 per cent - or $US200 million - of that convertible note with yesterday's issue of bonds, which are due in 2017.

Paladin was initially offering $US225 million of bonds, but said that could be scaled up to $US275 million in case of strong demand.

The company is considering a sell-down of stakes in several non-core uranium assets, and funds from those sales are planned to cover a large portion of the remaining debt.

The Australian branch of UBS is working with the Royal Bank of Canada and British bank Barclays on the offering.

Paladin shares last traded at $1.68 and will emerge from a trading halt as early as today.

Most analysts spoken to yesterday said the offering might see the share price fall initially, but any progress on covering the $US325 million convertible note would instil confidence in the stock in the longer term.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Decision On Lynas Corporation TOL As Soon As Possible

Published on Wednesday April 18 2012 (AEST)
BANGI (April 18, 2012): Last updated on 18 April 2012 - 10:20am
 Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili (pix) will decide on an appeal by three petitioners to revoke the temporary operating licence (TOL) for the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) as soon as possible.

Ongkili heard submissions from the three petitioners today and will study the documents tendered as well as consult with related experts and authorities.

“The minister heard and went through the 14 points they (the petitioners) raised as the basis of their appeal.

“The counsel also brought forward four information providers who gave their testimonies to support a number of issues the appellants deemed pertinent,” said a ministry press statement given to the media waiting outside Nuclear Malaysia’s headquarters here today.

The three petitioners are Ismail Abu Bakar, Tan Ah Meng and Abujavalli V Raman – all residents who claimed to be affected by the decision of Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) in approving the TOL to Lynas Corporation to operate the LAMP in Gebeng, Kuantan, Pahang.

They were represented by lawyers Datuk Bastian Vendargon, R. Sarengapani and Hon Kai Ping and a team of expert witnesses.

Ongkili and 14 of his ministry’s staff spend almost six hours listening to the petitioners’ submission, as well as four expert witnesses from the Public Consultation Assessment Committee, the Department of Environment and an academician.

However, Ongkili left without speaking to the press, leaving it to his press secretary to give a statement to the media.

Ismail, who is also “Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas” deputy chairman, said he was happy with their submission but was keeping his fingers crossed on the likely outcome of the appeal.

“His (Ongkili) body language is good but I don’t know what’s going on in his mind,” he said.

Ismail said he and the other appealants will be committed and continue the fight to halt the plant’s operation.

“We will discuss after this and may ask for a judicial review if the ministry does not revoke the TOL,” he said.

Ongkili agreed last month to hear an appeal made by Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas coalition on behalf of affected residents to review AELB’s decision to grant Lynas the TOL.

The appeal was made under Section 32 of the Atomic Energy Licensing Act.

On Feb 26, thousands of anti-Lynas protesters took part in a rally dubbed as Himpunan Hijau 2.0 to protest the rare earth processing plant, which has stoked fears of environmental pollution.

The Australian miner maintains that waste from the Gebeng plant will not be hazardous and can be easily recycled for commercial applications.

The Parliament approved a select committee on Lynas on March 20, which was boycotted by Pakatan Rakyat. The opposition coalition said the nine-man panel would be used to “whitewash” the issue.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mid-Term Outlook For Uranium Still Strong

Published on Sunday April 01 2012 (AEST)

The mid-term outlook for the uranium sector has again been reinforced, with research firm Resource Capital Research (RCR) reporting that the emergence of strong strategic investor support and acquisition activity in the uranium sector proved that point.

In the long-term, the uranium market fundamentals were considered solid, RCR said, with growth in nuclear power reactors expected in several countries, particularly China and India.

There were currently some 80 nuclear power reactors expected to be commissioned globally by 2017, with 61 currently under construction and a further 491 planned or proposed.

“Nuclear remains a key aspect of energy policy for many countries including China, India, Russia and the USA. There are currently 491 nuclear energy reactors planned or proposed globally, 9 more than prior to Fukushima,” said RCR MD John Wilson.

“The key lesson from Japan’s nuclear crisis points to the need for, and benefit of, greater transparency and accountability of democratic governments and their institutions, and stricter oversight of government agencies in general; in this case nuclear agencies specifically,” said Wilson.

He said that since the Fukushima incident had occurred over a year ago, the impact on the uranium sector had now been factored in, adding that the market was expected to be broadly balanced for the next 12 to 18 months.

RCR reported that uranium equities have staged a recovery over the past six months. A broad sector index, the Merrill Lynch Uranium Equity Index was up 37%, having bottomed at 202 on October 4, 2011.

The uptrend since then, however, has been volatile, RCR stated. The index was down 5% in the last month, up 20% in the past three months, and down 38% for the 12 months.

Over the past month, the Australian uranium majors have outperformed their Canadian peers with the Australian stocks up 0% to 5% and the Canadians down 5% to 15%. With the exception of ASX-listed Energy Resources of Australia, the global majors in the above table have performed strongly in the past six months.

Wilson noted that while the sector outlook had stabilized, there remained the uncertainty around when Japan will restart its reactors. At present, only one of its 54 reactors was operating with the rest shut down for maintenance or safety reviews.

Buying opportunities continue to emerge driven by perceptions of a floor to the uranium spot price holding at around $50/lb, and strong strategic investor support and acquisition activity at the large end of the market, RCR reported.

The long-term contract uranium price is $60.00/lb, down from $62.50/lb at the end of November last year and $73.00/lb at the end of February last year.

“While it may trend a little weaker in the near term, we expect the contract price to remain around the $60/lb to $70/lb mark. This level should support development decisions at a number of advanced uranium development projects, particularly in Namibia,” said Wilson.

The World Nuclear Association has forecast a modest market surplus in 2013 and 2015, and a modest deficit in 2014, which RCR said would lead to an overall balanced market through 2015.

Key factors that could impact the balanced market outlook include disruption and delays to existing and new projects, and the extent of new commercial deals for secondary supply post HEU in 2013.

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