With projected operating costs of less than US $10/lb (CAD $13.02) and a minimal environmental footprint, Fission continues to build strong community support and is moving through the permitting and environmental impact assessment phase in the run up to a formal construction decision.
Fission has an elite team headed up by President and CEO, Ross McElroy, a multiple award winning geologist and uranium expert. He is supported by Gary Haywood, Fission’s VP of Project Development – one of the industry’s leading mine engineers and the former general manager for Cameco’s huge McArthur River uranium mine.
The team also includes environmental manager, Jeff Pryznyk, an environmental, health and safety professional with 15 years of uranium mining experience, and Mark Wittrup –one of the top regulatory and permitting experts in Canada.
With a current enterprise value per pound below that of its peers, Fission Uranium is well positioned to add significant value
With the world’s only major, high-grade ore body at shallow depth, the PLS project benefits from a straightforward, comparatively short construction timeline. Life of mine, as outlined by the feasibility study, is 10 years, and the deposit remains open in multiple directions, including two high-grade zones not included in the current mine plan.
Fission is advancing along the development path to schedule, most recently submitting its application for the mine and mill construction permit. The company is also well underway with its front end engineering design work and environmental impact assessment.
With a current enterprise value per pound below that of its peers – NexGen Energy (TSX:NSE) and Denison Mines (TSX:DML) – Fission Uranium (TSX:FCU OTCQX:FCUUF FSE:2FU) is well positioned to add significant value as it continues to hit major development milestones, value that will become even more apparent as uranium prices rise.
Global population growth, climate targets and the Ukraine war have put the world on track to add as much clean power in the next 5 years as it did in the last 20 years, overtaking coal as the largest source of electricity by early 2025.
There's no better energy that's clean, reliable and cost effective. It doesn't produce a lot of CO2. The cost is very reasonable compared to other modes of energy. And it's reliable. Once it's up and running, it stays up and running.
Wind, solar and hydro are great clean energy sources, but the wind doesn't always blow, the sun doesn't always shine, and water levels for many hydroelectric projects are being impacted by climate change. In contrast, nuclear energy – one of the cleanest forms of power in existence – is always available, making it indispensable to national power grids.
Nuclear already supplies around 10% of today’s global electricity needs, with nuclear power stations operating in 30 countries – the largest users being the US, China and France. In the US, over 50% of the country’s clean energy comes from nuclear power.
The global commercial nuclear fleet sits at 440 reactors and it’s growing fast. 60 reactors are under construction, 96 more are in the planning phase, and a further 332 are in the proposal stage. Added to which are another 420+ operating reactors used to create radioisotopes for medicine, agriculture, food preservation, and industry, and to power a wide range of ships.
All of these new reactors mean the world is going to need a lot more uranium, but after ten years of underinvestment, uranium supply is not positioned for growth.
The ongoing supply deficit has come into the spotlight over the past couple of years, uranium is completely demand inelastic, utilities must have it or run the risk of hundreds of millions of dollars in losses resulting from plant closure.
Starting in 2011, a decade of low uranium prices saw operating mines shuttered, mine reserves depleted, and most exploration and development projects shelved.
Uranium prices may have nearly doubled in the last two years, but analysts and producers like Cameco (NYSE:CCJ TSX:CCO) are clear: much higher prices are needed to incentivize new production. While estimates vary, consensus is currently in the US $90/lb range – nearly double today’s price levels.
Additionally, aggressive purchasing from buy-and-hold financial players like the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust (TSX:U.UN) has further tightened the already tight market.
Nuclear power utilities require a constant supply throughout their 60 – 80 years of reactor life and, as we saw in the last uranium bull market, utilities will as easily pay $140/lb as they will $40 or $50/lb for their uranium supply. In other words, end users will not hold out for low prices in a high price environment. For utilities, the only thing that matters is that uranium is available when needed.
As we saw in the last uranium bull market, utilities will as easily pay $140/lb as they will $40 or $50/lb.
Which brings us to new production. Uranium deposits are not that rare. Economic uranium deposits, on the other hand, are extremely rare, which is one reason why so few uranium plays have the size and economics to enter production this cycle.
Today’s geopolitical risk is also key: most uranium production comes from just three countries: Canada, Australia, and by far the biggest producer, Kazakhstan, which borders both Russia and Ukraine. That’s right, nearly half of global uranium production comes from a former USSR country in Russia’s sphere of influence.
Fortunately, Canada, the world number two in uranium production, has been exploring for, developing, and mining this vital metal for 70 years. In fact, the crown jewel of uranium districts – the Athabasca Basin – lies in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. Uranium grades in the Basin are, on average, around 20 times higher than anywhere else on the planet. The Federal and Provincial governments are pro mining and, with such a long history of production, Canada has a skilled and highly experienced workforce.
It should be no surprise therefore, to learn that of the few uranium projects that managed to advance along the development path during the downturn, three of them are located in the Athabasca Basin. One of these – the only one that combines size, bedrock-hosted mineralization, and high grades at shallow depth – is Fission Uranium’s PLS project.