Uranium is shining right now, as concerns about short-term supply diminish and long-term demand prospects rise. The spot price of the radioactive metal is currently at its highest level in over a year. The uranium sector experienced a boost after the US avoided a debt limit crisis as a result of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, which could have compromised the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Despite the uncertain near-term macroenvironment, a uranium supply deficit could result in speculators competing with energy providers for uranium, which might help the spot price to rally further. Cameco (TSX:CCO) (NYSE:CCJ) announced in April that it would extend a long-standing arrangement to supply fuel until 2040 to Bruce Power, Canada’s only private sector nuclear generator. According to Jacob White, ETF product manager at Sprott Asset Management, the Cameco deal suggests that enough uranium supplies have been placed aside for future contract deliveries. This should help to strengthen the long-term uranium spot price, benefiting uranium companies like ATHA Energy Corp (CSE:SASK) (OTCQB:SASKF) (FRA:X5U), NexGen Energy (TSX:NXE) (NYSE:NXE), Uranium Energy Corp (NYSE-A:UEC), and Denison Mines Corp. (TSX:DML) (NYSE-A:DNN).
ATHA Energy Corp (CSE:SASK) (OTCQB:SASKF) (FRA:X5U) is a junior mineral exploration company focused on the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral resource properties in Canada. ATHA holds the largest cumulative exploration package in the Athabasca Basin, the world’s most prominent uranium basin, with 3.4 million acres as well as a 10% carried interest portfolio of claims run by Nexgen Energy and IsoEnergy Ltd.
In May, ATHA Energy signed a binding letter of intent (LOI) with Stallion Discoveries Corp. to negotiate a definitive option and joint venture agreement that would allow Stallion to acquire a 70% interest in 47 of ATHA’s mineral claims in the Athabasca Basin in exchange for 3.33 million shares and C$12 million in Saskatchewan Exploration Expenditures. Stallion’s planned C$12 million investment into the SW mineral claims will not only enhance the value of that project but free up ATHA’s capital to be spent on other targets throughout ATHA’s vast exploration portfolio.
“We believe the exploration commitment being made by Stallion is a testament to the potential in the SW area of the Athabasca Basin, where many of our neighbours have had tremendous success,” said Mike Castanho, CEO of ATHA Energy. “Exploration through partnership continues to be a key tenant for ATHA as we seek to leverage the largest land position in the Athabasca Basin to create value for our shareholders.”
ATHA Energy also closed a C$33.7 million dollar financing at the end of 2022, positioning the company as one of the most well-funded explorers in the Athabasca Basin with the largest exploration package.
For more information about ATHA Energy Corp (CSE:SASK), please click here.
Uranium Companies Make Progress Amid Elevated Prices
Cameco (TSX:CCO) (NYSE:CCJ) has signed a 10-year contract with Westinghouse to provide enough natural uranium hexafluoride (UF6) to run the Kozloduy 5 Reactor at the Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), which is the only nuclear power plant in the Republic of Bulgaria. Cameco will be a part of a nuclear fuel supply agreement led by Westinghouse that also involves Urenco. The contracted enriched uranium product will be shipped to a Westinghouse factory in Sweden and utilized to manufacture the fuel assemblies for the Kozloduy NPP.
NexGen Energy (TSX:NXE) (NYSE:NXE) recently announced the start of the summer exploration drill program on its 100% owned SW2 and SW1 properties in Saskatchewan’s southwest Athabasca Basin. Geophysical studies and a review of previous drilling have selected probable sites for rapid drill testing. Drilling will be used to test the highest priority locations of probable pathways identified by an intensive geophysical survey program that began in 2022 and will be completed in 2023. Drilling preparation has proceeded throughout about 22,000 hectares of NexGen property, effectively supporting strategic appraisal of targets this year and in future projects. The summer drilling program will prioritize follow-up drilling of favorable historical results during the winter of 2023. A total of 17,000 meters are anticipated for the summer, with up to three drill rigs in operation, increasing the total scheduled exploration meters for 2023 to 22,500.
Uranium Energy Corp (NYSE-A:UEC) has appointed SLR Consulting (Canada) Ltd. and Wood (Canada) Ltd. to conduct an S-K 1300 Initial Assessment Economic Study for its 100% owned Roughrider Project. Furthermore, the company has chosen Canada North Environmental Services to perform environmental baseline work for the Roughrider Project. The planned development work at the Roughrider Project will benefit from previous work by former owner Rio Tinto, including a detailed technical, community involvement, and an environmental evaluation and review process with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, albeit no longer current.
Denison Mines Corp. (TSX:DML) (NYSE-A:DNN) reported in April that drill hole MS-23-10A from the recently completed winter exploration program at the Moon Lake South property intersected 1.38% U3O8 equivalent (eU3O8) over 8.7 meters (m) including a sub-interval grading 2.88% eU3O8 over 3.1 m, approximately 30 m above the unconformity in the Athabasca sandstone. Uranium mineralization was discovered in four of the six drill holes performed during the 2023 winter program, which was meant to assess the strike length of low-grade mineralized occurrences that were identified in the 2021 and 2016 drill programs.
ATHA Energy announced on June 6 that Doug Engdahl will join the board of directors and take on the job of Managing Director, bringing extensive experience within the Athabasca basin from his time as a Senior Mine Geologist at Cameco’s McArthur River Mine – the largest high-grade uranium mine in the world. ATHA also hired five technical team members ahead of its first exploration program this summer.
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