Rio completes Rössing sale

Diversified miner Rio Tinto has completed the sale of its interest in the Rössing uranium mine in Namibia to China National Uranium Corporation (CNUC). The two companies in November of last year struck an agreement under which Rio would divest of its 68.62% stake in the project in exchange for $106.5-million in cash.

Cameco disappointed with uranium ruling

Cameco Corp. [CCO-TSX; CCJ-NYSE] says a tribunal of international arbitrators has ruled in favour of the uranium giant in its contract dispute with Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO).

The Tribunal rejected TEPCO’s assertion that it had the right to terminate its uranium supply agreement alleging force majeure, and awarded damages to Cameco of US $40.3 million. Damages were based on the Tribunal’s interpretation of losses under the supply agreement.

“We are pleased that the Tribunal agreed that TEPCO was not entitled to terminate the supply agreement, but we are disappointed with the amount of damages awarded,” said Cameco President and CEO Tim Gitzel.

Cameco filed a statement of claim for US$682 million, plus interest and legal costs.

“However, remember we had already removed this contract from our financial outlook. So overall the result is a positive for us,” Gitzel said.

Investors evidently didn’t see it that way as Cameco’s share price fell 5.88% or $0.085 to $13.61 on volume of 1.19 million. The shares are trading in a 52-week range of $12.31 and $17.12.

The dispute stems from TEPCO’s decision in January, 2017 to issue a termination notice for a $1.3 billion supply contract with Cameco by claiming “force majeure.”

Termination of the Cameco contract raised concerns about what would happen to 9.3 million pounds of uranium that was scheduled to be delivered between 2017 and 2018, an amount that equals 775,000 pounds annually.

The Japanese company said the decision was prompted by forces beyond its control and arise from the 2011 Fukushima accident that prevented the operation of its plants.

Cameco has said it saw no basis for terminating the agreement and vowed to pursue all its legal rights and remedies against TEPCO.

Cameco said the supply agreement does not allow for an appeal of the Tribunal’s decision. “The decision of the Tribunal is subject to a confidentially order which limits the information that we are able to disclose,” Cameco said.

The uranium industry has been struggling since a 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan disabled three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing their cores to melt down, that resulted in Japan shutting down 50 nuclear reactors that remained intact.

The devastating repercussions in Japan sent uranium prices tumbling, and convinced some countries to decommission their nuclear reactors and switch to other fuels.

Trading at US$24.80 a pound last week, the spot price of uranium is still a long way from US$72.63, the level reached before the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Cameco remains among the world’s largest providers of uranium fuel. Its competitive position is based on a controlling ownership of the world’s largest high-grade reserves and low-cost operations. Its head office is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, the Trump Administration has elected not to proceed with a recommendation by the U.S. Commerce Department to apply punitive tariffs on imported uranium and/or quotas on domestically source uranium supply.

The decision is being viewed as positive news as it removes some market uncertainty and prevents more uneconomic U3O8 supply from depressing a still fragile market.

Cameco awarded $40m in Tepco dispute

A tribunal of international arbitrators has ordered Japan’s Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) to pay Canadian miner Cameco $40.3-million in damages, following the termination of a multibillion-dollar supply agreement in 2017. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco’s claim was for damages of $700-million and president and CEO Tim Gitzel said at the weekend that the company was disappointed with the amount of damages awarded.

Yellow Cake expects market activity to return to ‘more normal’ levels

London-listed uranium fund Yellow Cake said on Monday that activity in the uranium market should pick up in the near term, following US President Donald Trump’s decision at the weekend to steer clear from imposing import tariffs on uranium. The Section 232 investigation, which started in April last year, has created substantial uncertainty in the global uranium market and “severely restricted” activity, Yellow Cake CEO Andrew Liebenberg said in a statement.

Uranium market activity seen returning to ‘more normal’ levels

London-listed uranium fund Yellow Cake said on Monday that activity in the uranium market should pick up in the near term, following US President Donald Trump’s decision at the weekend to steer clear from imposing import tariffs on uranium. The Section 232 investigation, which started early last year, has created substantial uncertainty in the global uranium market and “severely restricted” activity, Yellow Cake CEO Andrew Liebenberg said in a statement.

Canadian, Australian miners cheer Trump’s uranium import decision

US President Donald Trump’s decision to back away from implementing new trade restrictions on uranium imports into the US has won praise from Canadian and Australian producers, which argue that the uranium they supply is not a threat to US national security. Trump has rejected the recommendation by the Commerce Department to require US power producers to source up to 25% of their uranium from domestic mines, and instead created a working group to review the country’s nuclear fuel supply chain.

MCA welcomes US uranium decision

The Minerals Council of Australia has welcomed US President Donald Trump’s decision not to impose quotas on uranium imports, following an investigation by the US Department of Commerce into foreign imports of uranium. Trump rejected findings by the Commerce Secretary that foreign uranium posed a threat to US national security, saying that although the Secretary’s finding’s raised significant concerns around the impact of uranium imports on national security, with respect to domestic mining, a fuller analysis of national security considerations with respect to the entire nuclear fuel supply chain was necessary.

Paladin sells idled Malawi mine to Hylea

Uranium miner Paladin Energy has struck a deal with ASX-listed Hylea Metals to divest of its shareholding in the Kayelekera mine, in Malawi, for A$5-million. Paladin owns 65% of the Kayelekera project, joint venture partner Chichewa holds a 20% interest and the Malawi government a 15% stake.