TORONTO, March 15, 2017 /CNW/ – U3O8 Corp. (TSX: UWE), (UWEFF) (“U3O8 Corp.” or the “Company”) notes that Argentina produced a 7,677 gigawatt-hours (“GWh”) of electricity from its two operating nuclear reactors in 2016 (Figure 1), according to CNEA (Argentine National Atomic Energy Commission). This represents 5.6% of Argentina’s electricity production, generated by the Atucha I and Atucha II nuclear reactors. When the Embalse power plant comes back to full production in mid-2018, the three reactors will generate approximately 9% of the country’s electricity. The Embalse reactor is currently off-line for refurbishment so that it can operate for another 30 years at a 6% higher power output. The Embalse reactor also produces about one third of the world’s Cobalt-60 isotope requirements, principally for diagnostic medicine.
The growing nuclear power output will increase yellowcake demand in Argentina from approximately 310,000 pounds per year to 650,000 pounds per year. Annual production from the Laguna Salada Deposit would start at one million pounds in year one and would average approximately 600,000 pounds of U3O8 per year over a ten-year mine life, according to the mining schedule modeled in the preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”)1. The latest publicly available data show that Argentina, which currently imports its entire uranium requirement, paid an average price of US$78 per pound in 2015. The estimated cash cost of production defined in the PEA on Laguna Salada starts at US$11.66 per pound of uranium in year one and averages US$21.62 per pound over the planned ten-year mine-life. (In compliance with NI 43-101, 2.3(3)(a), readers are alerted that the PEA includes inferred mineral resources that are considered too speculative geologically to have economic considerations applied to them that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves and there is no certainty that the results of the PEA will be realized. In addition, in compliance with NI 43-101, 3.4., readers are alerted that the PEA includes results of an economic analysis on mineral resources and that mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability).
At a conference in Vienna, the Undersecretary of Nuclear Energy in Argentina commented that Argentina plans to capture about 20% of the international small modular reactor (“SMR”) market with its CAREM design. A 25 megawatt (“MW”) prototype is under construction in Argentina and is designed principally for smaller, off-grid, outlying communities and for industries that have a high-intensity power requirement such as desalination plants for the production of fresh water from seawater. An up-scaled model that has a capacity of 120MW, the first of which is planned to be deployed in Formosa Province, Argentina, is expected to have wide appeal in the international market. This is the first time the Argentine government has publicly provided guidance on its market penetration target for Argentine SMRs. The Undersecretary estimated that the export of SMRs could contribute US$3 billion per year to the economy – that would represent 0.5% of Argentina’s GDP.
U3O8 Corp.’s CEO will be making a presentation entitled “The role of the Laguna Salada Uranium-Vanadium Deposit in further development of…