ASX-listed Bannerman Resources CEO Brandon Munro says the company offers investors an “outstanding” opportunity with its Swakopmund, Namibia-based Etango uranium project as supply of the commodity has grown into an expanding deficit over the past few years.
Speaking during the Junior Indaba, in a session that showcased junior mining companies, projects and investment opportunities, on June 2, he pointed out that global uranium consumption was about 180-million pounds a year and that there was a 20-million-pound-a-year deficit in the market at present.
He noted that Covid-19 disruptions had affected two of the largest uranium-producing provinces of the world – Kazakhstan and Canada.
These disruptions resulted in about a doubling of the deficit, leading to the tightening of the uranium sector at a time when the sector was coming out of a ten-year, deep bear-market cycle, he added.
Adding to the deficit are Covid-19-related disruptions extending into this year, the largest uranium mine in the world being turned off for several months this year and continuing supply depletion over the next ten years, said Munro.
In addition, he said, major mines in Kazakhstan were starting to slow output as those tier one orebodies reach the end of their lives.
“There will also be longer-term effects of underinvestment in new production capacity in the uranium sector,” he noted.
Munro stated that Bannerman’s Etango project, in Namibia, held the key to addressing current and future uranium shortfalls, meeting future nuclear energy fuel demand, as well as replenishing uranium inventories, which were currently being depleted faster than they could be replaced.
Munro noted that nuclear power was still heavily relied upon in regions within the US, the European Union, China, Russia, India, South Korea and the Middle East, while there was no substitute for uranium used for nuclear power generation.
Production from the Etango project will go far to ensure current and future nuclear power stations are able to operate with sufficient fuel.
The Etango deposit was close to established infrastructure and was “globally significant” with its 271-million pounds of uranium contained in the resource, said Munro.
“It has a very low technical risk, and in many respects, is just like the Rossing uranium mine that has operated for 45 years,” he said.
Munro added that Namibia was an “excellent uranium jurisdiction with good social support and a good environmental regulatory regime and strong government development agendas at play”.
Etango had the concept of scalability built into the leverage offered to investors, he said, noting that the mine had more than 14 years of life, a throughout capacity of eight-million tonnes a year and an 87.8% processing yield.
The mine also has pre-production capital expenditure of $254-million, a post-tax net present value of $212-million and post-tax internal rate of return of 21.2%.
The payback period is 3.6 years, based on a life-of-mine uranium price of $65/lb and at a cash operating expenditure, excluding royalties, of $37/lb.
“We have a market capitalisation of more than A$200-million, a healthy cash balance, no debt and good institutional support,” said Munro.