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Low uranium prices shelve Central African mine

Ripples of the Fukushima nuclear disaster are still being felt in the uranium sector.

French nuclear power company Areva (AREVA:PA) said on Wednesday it is suspending a uranium project in the Central African Republic due to slumping uranium prices, which are down about 30% since the disaster in March.

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami has taken the steam out of uranium mining and nuclear power which prior to the accident had been touted as a safe and economic alternative to fossil fuels.

Some countries, including Germany, have cancelled their nuclear programs or put them on hold.

An Areva spokesman told AFP that “work on developing the Bakouma mine, which is estimated to hold about 32,000 tonnes of uranium, has been suspended until the market value of the commodity rises again.”

But the company remains hopeful that the price of the ingredient needed to produce the nuclear reaction will rise again:

“We are convinced that the conditions of the uranium market will become propitious again in the next two years, once the impact of Fukushima has passed,” Areva’s vice-president in charge of mining, Sebastien de Montessus, said in a statement.

The company has spent 106 million euros since 2007 developing the mine, reports AFP.





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