2018 was a down year for many commodities, with oil, coffee and sugar among the worst hit. One metal however emerged unscathed: uranium. The spot uranium price in December was actually up over 20% since the start of the year, and it has continued to hold within spitting distance of $30 a pound – trading at US$28.70 a pound as of Dec. 28.
Why did uranium do so well? In 2018, we at Ahead of the Herd wrote extensively on the coming bull market for uranium. In fact, the conclusion we reached was the uranium price must go up, due to a confluence of factors. In sum, these are:
The outlook for nuclear, and uranium, is expected to get even better. Louis James of Casey Research, who changed his name to Lobo Tiggre and now runs Independent Speculator, sees uranium as a better speculation this year than gold.
For Tiggre’s explanation, which reinforces our arguments, see his commentary in Kitco. In a recent video interview, he said, “What I love most about uranium is that it doesn’t matter what the global economy does,” which is not something that can be said about most commodities.
As for nuclear energy, we only need to look at the facts. China has the most reactors in the pipeline including 43 operating, 15 under construction and 179 planned or proposed. Globally there are 453 operating nuclear reactors and 55 new reactors under construction. Japan, which shut down all its reactors following the 2011 earthquake/ tsunami, now has nine reactors back online, up from just three in 2017.
Think what you like about Microsoft founder Bill Gates, but the billionaire philanthropist is certainly influential. In a year-end letter detailing what he learned in 2018, Gates writes one of his goals in 2019 is to persuade US leaders to “get into the game” of advanced nuclear energy.
“Nuclear is ideal for dealing with climate change, because it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day. The problems with today’s reactors, such as the risk of accidents, can be solved through innovation,” Gates says in his blog – clearly referring to his TerraPower venture.
The Bellevue, Washington-based company was hoping to build a pilot project in China to test its traveling-wave nuclear technology (which use depleted uranium as fuel and minimize waste), but the plan was derailed by new regulations from the Department of Energy that restrict nuclear partnerships between America and China.
The Trump Administration has stated its intention to keep ailing coal and nuclear plants online for national security reasons. In October the President signed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) into law. The act aims to eliminate financial and technological barriers standing in the way of nuclear innovation.
The administration also just announced an investment of $115 million over the next three years to reopen a uranium enrichment plant in southern Ohio. According to The Columbus Dispatch, the plant would house 16 centrifuges at the former American Centrifuge Project in Piketon.
So how can Ahead of the Herd investors benefit from all this positive nuclear and uranium news? Since retail investors can’t obviously buy uranium, the only way is through speculating in uranium stocks.
The best place to look for returns is the juniors, where the uranium bear market of the last seven years has decimated share prices, meaning very attractive entry points. And the preferred location is Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, home to the world’s highest-grade uranium jurisdiction, where the largest uranium mine (McArthur River) is, along with Cameco’s Cigar Lake Mine, and some very notable recent high-grade discoveries including Fission Uranium’s Patterson Lake South/Triple R, Rio Tinto’s Roughrider deposit and NexGen Energy’s high grade Arrow deposit. A lot of exploration is happening around the Basin, and one of the best companies to have amassed a large, prospective land position is Skyharbour Resources (TSXV:SYH).
The Vancouver-based company has just completed its fall drill program focusing on the Maverick Zone of its Moore property, located about 15 km east of Denison Mines’ Wheeler River project. The primary objective of the 3,800m program was to investigate the potential for uranium mineralization at depth, in the basement rocks.
Drilling at the western end of the Maverick Zone, SYH pulled up a 15.2m intercept containing 0.56% triuranium octoxide (U3O8) – including 3.11% U3O8 over 1.8m. More importantly though, the intercept – one of the broadest to date – occurred between 264.5m and 279.7m downhole, and most of the zone was below the unconformity in the basement rocks.
According to Skyharbour CEO Jordan Trimble, the high-grade intercept is proof that the basement rocks have a lot of potential to host more high-grade uranium mineralization, which was a key objective of the fall drill program.
“Conceptually it gives us a lot more confidence there’s probably a lot more to be found at depth.”
A recent $600,000 private placement means Skyharbour is fully cashed up for its next phase of exploration at Moore.
Richard (Rick) Mills
Ahead of the Herd is on Twitter
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This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Richard Mills has based this document on information obtained from sources he believes to be reliable but which has not been independently verified. Richard Mills makes no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Richard Mills only and are subject to change without notice. Richard Mills assumes no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this Report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, I, Richard Mills, assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information provided within this Report.
Richard owns shares of Skyharbour Resources (TSXV:SYH). SYH is an advertiser on his site aheadoftheherd.com