TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Sydney- and Toronto-listed uranium producer Paladin Energy on Wednesday said combined production from its two African uranium mines for the March quarter totalled 1.99-million pounds of triuranium pentoxide (U3O8), which was 95% of nameplate production, and a decrease of 9% from the record quarter ended December.
However, year-to-date, comprised of the first nine months of the current financial year, production of 6.11-million pounds was 26% ahead of production when compared with the same period in the previous year, and 96% of the combined nameplate capacity, which was in line with guidance.
Sales for the quarter totalled 1.92-million pounds of U3O8, which generated revenue of $106-million. The average sales price was $55.22/lb U3O8, well above the average spot price of $42.71/lb U3O8.
At the Langer Heinrich operation, in Namibia, production totalled 1.23-million pounds of U3O8, which was 13% lower than the previous quarter.
Paladin said the plant continued to perform well despite the limitations water utility NamWater’s infrastructure had imposed on it. NamWater acted in the period to upgrade its supply infrastructure in the region to accommodate the additional water requirements associated with new mining developments, mainly the new Husab uranium mine, which had resulted in production disruptions.
This action was part of a long-standing initiative by NamWater to transition from aquifer water to desalinated water later in the year. The company said it was negotiating an interim agreement with NamWater and Areva, the owners of the desalination plant, to access additional desalinated water, ahead of schedule, from May, to avoid further disruptions.
The company believed the combined strategy of a short-term agreement and water conservation measures would eliminate any further potential issues.
The Kayelekera operation, in Malawi, achieved 94% of its nameplate capacity in the period, and produced 761 992 lb of U3O8.
Paladin said it was in a good position to achieve its production target of 8-million to 8.5-million pounds of U3O8.
On Wednesday, Paladin’s TSX-listed stock closed 5.88% lower at C$0.80 apiece.
During this quarter, one new reactor, Hongyanhe-1, a 1 000 MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) was connected to the grid in China, and formal construction started on Virgil C Summer-2 and Vogtle-3, both 1 117 MWe PWRs, in the US.
Paladin said globally, there were now 68 nuclear power plants under construction in 15 countries, which was six plants more than what were under construction before the Fukushima accident in March, 2011.
With the exception of Japan, where there are still 48 plants offline pending the determination of new safety standards by the Nuclear Regulation Authority by July this year, the global nuclear fleet was performing well and was growing significantly in line with long-standing predictions, the company said.