Since the drop in U3O8 prices post-Fukushima, these production cuts, cancellations and deferments have been announced:
- August 2012 – BHP Billiton shelved their $20B expansion of their Olympic Dam uranium mine in Australia. The expansion project was planned to raise production from 3500 tonnes/year to 5000 tonnes by 2018, and up to 10,000 tonnes (22M lbs) per year by 2025. Deferred until prices rise enough to warrant the massive expense of the expansion project. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/08/22/business/bhp-dam-expansion/index.html
- October 2012 – Areva postponed indefinitely the launch of its Trekkopje mine in Namibia. The new mine was expected to produce 3000 tonnes (6.6M lbs) per year but remains mothballed until prices rise enough to make the mine profitable.
- November 2013 – Uranium One’s Honeymoon ISL uranium mine in South Australia was mothballed due to low uranium prices and high operating costs. Placed into care and maintenance pending a recovery in uranium prices to well above current operating cost of $47/lb. Mine capacity is 400 tonnes (880,000 lbs) per year.
- February 2014 – Paladin placed its Kayelekera Uranium mine (KUM) on care and maintenance in Malawi, reducing world supply by 3.3M lbs/year.
- May 2014 – Cameco shelved its Millenium project, hosting an indicated mineral resource of 46.8 million pounds @ 4.53% U3O8. The proposed deep underground mine was slated to produce up to 7M lbs/year.
- May 2014 – Areva shelved its $1.9B Imouraren mine project in Niger. The massive pit mine employing “acid heap leaching” was expected to produce 5,000 tonnes (11M lbs) per year but is uneconomic to operate and remains on hold until prices rise sufficiently to become profitable.
- June 2014 – Rio Tinto reduced production at its Rossing mine in Namibia by about 40%, down to 1500 tonnes/year, a reduction in world supply of about 2M lbs/year.
- May 2015 – Areva shelved its Kiggavik Uranium Mine project near Baker Lake, Nunavut after failing to get government approval. The $2.1B project was expected to put the 148M lbs at average grade of 0.28% into production.
- June 2015 – Rio Tinto’s ERA canceled its Ranger 3 Deeps expansion project of expected production of 8.8M lbs/year in 2016.
- April 2016 – Cameco cuts production at Rabbit Lake, McArthur River and US operations by an overall 4.3M lbs per year.
- September 2016 – Paladin cuts production at its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia by about 25-30%, reducing its annual production by up to 1.5M lbs per year. Kayelekera (KUM) remains on care and maintenance in Malawi.
- September 2016 – Energy Fuels, with permitted production capacity of 4-6M lbs per year, reduces its US production guidance down to 800,000 lbs in 2017 until U3O8 prices recover.
- January 2017 – KazAtomProm, world’s largest producer, reduces 2017 production by 10% for a reduction in global uranium supply of over 4 Million lbs per year, about 3% of total global uranium production.
- July 2017 – Uranium One delayed production start at its $1B Tanzanian Mkuju River mine which was expected to begin producing 5-7M lbs per year as one of the top 10 producing mines in the world.
- October 2017 – Botswana’s Letlhakane uranium mine is deferred by another 2 years to 2020 due to low uranium prices. The new mine was expected to produce 3.75M lbs per year beginning in 2018.
- October 2017 – Areva cuts production by 21% at its Somair mine in Niger, trimming 880,000 lbs in 2018.
- October 2017 – Cameco announces 5% reduction in 2017, from 25.2M lbs down to 24M lbs, and indicates that further cuts are likely if U3O8 Spot Price remains below US$25/lb.
- November 2017 – Cameco announces the temporary suspension of the world’s largest uranium mine at McArthur River for at least 10 months beginning in January 2018. The mine is jointly owned with Areva Resources holding 30%. This shutdown is an approximately 17M lb production cut, about 12% of total global uranium production.
- November 2017 – HONEYWELL plans to temporarily idle production of UF6 at its Metropolis Site.