Scrappimg of Olympic Dam new uranium mine does not help the present plight of the uranium industry
Implications Of The Olympic Dam Expansion Delay For The Uranium Industry Seeking Alpha, August 24, 2012 Earlier this week, BHP Billiton (BHP) announced that it will investigate an alternative, less capital-intensive design of the Olympic Dam open-pit expansion, effectively shelving this massive, over $20 billion project. Though not unexpected, the decision is undoubtedly an important development for the world’s largest mining company.
But it has even larger long-term implications for the small and highly concentrated uranium mining industry.
Uranium is not a significant commodity for BHP Billiton, accounting
for less than 1% of total company revenue. At the same time, BHP’s
existing uranium operation accounts for 5% of global uranium supply
and the development of the Olympic Dam expansion would have raised
this contribution to over 17% by the beginning of the next decade.
Despite being primarily considered a copper mine, Olympic Dam is the
largest known uranium resource globally. Its announced uranium reserve
base is around 300 thousand tons or four times global annual uranium
demand. …. the delay does not come as a surprise and was widely
expected. In fact, it would have been more surprising if BHP announced
that it wants to move ahead with the project. As a result, the
implication of the recent announcement have already been largely
priced in by investors.
… the effects of the project delay are longer term and do little to address near-term challenges facing the uranium industry…
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