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Home / Surging uranium price validates Etango development… as spot price hit 16-year high of US$106

Surging uranium price validates Etango development… as spot price hit 16-year high of US$106

2024-04-18  Edgar Brandt

Surging uranium price validates Etango development… as spot price hit 16-year high of US$106

“Now is the time for us to develop,” said Werner Ewald yesterday. 

Ewald is the managing director at Bannerman Mining Resources Namibia, whose Etango uranium project in the Erongo region anticipates some 30 months of construction, with a prospect of being commissioned in early 2027. 

New uranium mines are becoming more attractive due to increasing global prices and anticipated supply deficits for the foreseeable future.

Ewald’s comment emanated from a steadily increasing uranium spot price. 

The spot price is defined as the daily price at which spot and near-term transactions for significant quantities of natural uranium concentrates could be concluded as of the end of a specific week.

“Namibia needs to take advantage of new uranium off-take agreements as the spot price climbs,” said Ewald yesterday. 

The Bannerman MD further stated that the industry expects global uranium prices to increase steadily, as the world’s uranium demand is projected to outstrip supply during the next decade and more. 


Global price 

Current global uranium prices are about 30% higher than last year’s average after hitting a 16-year high of US$106 in February.  This is as the United States of America and 20 other countries announced plans to triple nuclear power by 2050. 

China leads the nuclear energy drive, currently building 22 of 58 global reactors, while Namibia, which is one of the top uranium producers in the world, still grapples with electricity production that forces it to import more than
two-thirds of its energy demand.  

Meanwhile, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has jeopardised the global supply of enriched nuclear fuel from Russia, which is the world’s top producer.

Since then, uranium prices have hovered just below U$S90 per pound in April, consolidating under the US$100 mark as investors continued to assess the future of uranium market dynamics, following the price surge in late 2023. 

Spot uranium prices reached a peak in February this year, not seen since 2007.

According to industry insiders, this recent price boom signifies a constrained nuclear fuel market, growing expectations for future demand and the imperative for additional mines. 

“The surge in uranium prices aligns with an increased focus on nuclear energy in global climate change mitigation efforts. Furthermore, rising uranium prices have spurred the revival of uranium mining operations, previously scaled back following the 2011 Fukushima disaster,” said one industry insider. 


Etango project

Bannerman’s Etango mining licence was granted in December 2023, and was followed swiftly by the commencement of early development works at the mine, some 30km outside Swakopmund. 

Bannerman has since awarded two contracts to local Namibian businesses for the construction of a temporary water pipeline and access road.

According to a Bannerman statement, Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies for Etango are well- progressed, in parallel with advancing offtake and project finance workstreams. 

In addition, to reinforce the technical and commercial viability of subsequent expansion, following construction and ramp-up at Etango, Bannerman completed a scoping study in February 2024, outlining two future-phase development options, namely an expansion of mine and plant throughput and a life-of-mine extension. 

Bannerman Mining Resources Namibia is a 95%-owned subsidiary of Bannerman Energy Ltd, which is an Australian-listed uranium development company. The Etango uranium project is a 95%-owned subsidiary of Bannerman Energy Ltd, with the One Economy Foundation of Namibia benefitting through 5% shareholding. 

The Etango project is one of the world’s largest advanced uranium assets that, Bannerman stated, has been strongly de-risked through extensive drilling, technical evaluation and operation of a process demonstration plant.


New chairperson

Bannerman Mining Resources Namibia yesterday announced that Twapewa Khadhikwa has assumed the position of company chairperson. 

She succeeds Mike Leech, who served as chairman for the last seven years and who will remain a non-executive director. 

Kadhikwa has been described as one of the few female chairpersons in the domestic corporate landscape. 

Originally from Gemengde in the heart of Katutura, Kadhikwa has built an impressive career from limited opportunities and has established herself as an entrepreneur of note. 

“I am honoured to step into the role of chairperson, and grateful for the opportunity to lead the board,” said Kadhikwa. 

Outgoing chairperson Mike Leech commented: “Twapewa’s outstanding contribution to our company over the last seven years merits her elevation to chairperson. Our business benefits from her outstanding qualities of entrepreneurism – most notably anticipation, innovation and resilience, which are perfectly balanced by her deep commitment to integrity and governance”.

2024-04-18  Edgar Brandt

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