No. 1 uranium miner backs physical fund in nod to robust demand

(Image courtesy of Kazatomprom.)

Kazatomprom, the world’s largest uranium miner, is backing a new uranium fund that aims to invest in the radioactive metal used to power nuclear reactors.

ANU Energy OEIC Ltd. was established as a fund to hold physical uranium as a long-term investment, with initial purchases financed from a $50 million investment by Kazatomprom, the National Investment Corporation of the National Bank of Kazakhstan and United Arab Emirates-based fund manager Genchi Global Ltd., Kazakhstan’s national atomic company said in a Monday statement.

“The establishment of ANU Energy is a project that has been in development for almost four years as part of Kazatomprom’s broader value-focused strategy,” Chief Executive Officer Mazhit Sharipov said in the statement. “The fund will be operating in an environment of tightening supply, driving positive benefits for its stakeholders.”

The fund comes just a few months after the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust helped fuel a rally in prices that renewed debate on whether nuclear power can be part of a global push to for less polluting energy sources to replace fossil fuels. Kazatomprom’s support also signals market optimism from a firm that accounted for about 23% of the world’s uranium production last year. The fund is established on Kazakhstan’s Astana International Financial Centre.

The fund “removes more uranium from the spot market, which could again provide further upward momentum,” according to Jonathan Hinze, president of UxC LLC, a leading nuclear fuel market research and analysis firm. 

Shares of uranium companies jumped Monday, lead by Cameco Corp. and Energy Fuels Inc. Cameco, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, rose as much as 8.5% in Toronto trading, while Lakewood, Colorado-based Energy Fuels gained 9.1% in New York.

ANU Energy OEIC plans to raise up to $500 million from institutional and/or private investors in its second stage of development, with proceeds to be used for additional uranium purchases, according to the statement.

The new fund is meant to focus on investors from Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East, which is a different market than those targeted by Sprott and Yellow Cake Plc, UxC’s Hinze said.

“It remains to be seen how much capital beyond the initial $50 million this ANU Fund will be able to raise, but I will be watching further developments very closely as it could add to already high levels of spot uranium demand from the financial community,” he said.

(By Yvonne Yue Li)


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