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Miner goes nuclear with uranium drum

Supplied Editorial Aerial images of Honeymoon uranium project 80km north-west of Broken
 Hill. Supplied by Boss Energy
Aerial images of Honeymoon uranium project 80km north-west of Broken Hill. Supplied by Boss Energy

The value of uranium mining company Boss Energy continues to go nuclear, with the miner jumping three per cent in trading on Monday after announcing its first production of yellowcake from the recommissioned Honeymoon project in remote South Australia.

The jump has pushed the market capitalisation of Boss to almost $2bn from just $37m in 2015, when the company took on the abandoned mine site about 400km northeast of Adelaide.

Production at the mine is expected to ramp up to 2.45 million pounds of uranium for export each year from a total resource 71.6 million pounds and comes as global uranium prices surge, moving from about $77 per pound in January 2023 to about $140 per pound this week.

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Boss managing director Duncan Craib said the milestone showed “conclusively” the company’s mining and processing strategy was working.

“This is pivotal because it paves the way for strong organic production growth by unlocking the value of our large resource and leveraging the infrastructure we have in place,” he said on Monday.

Supplied Editorial Aerial images of Honeymoon uranium project 80km north-west of Broken\n Hill. Supplied by Boss Energy
The Honeymoon uranium project is 80km northwest of Broken Hill in NSW and about 400km northeast of Adelaide. Picture: Supplied

“We have also made extensive provision in the Honeymoon plant for increased throughput.

“Increased utilisation of these highly valuable assets will enable us to further capitalise on the strong outlook for the uranium price.”

Uranium is used as an fuel for nuclear power generation.

Nuclear energy is a low carbon power source and governments around the world are looking more closely at the energy option to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and hit net zero targets.

Australia does not have domestic nuclear power and so miners export abroad.

Boss holds a uranium mineral export license for 3.3 million pounds per year and in December, it announced a binding sales contract to supply uranium to an unnamed US power company.

Boss will sell a million pounds of uranium to the public utility over a seven-year period, commencing in 2025.

Supplied Editorial Boss Energy managing director Duncan Craib. Supplied by Boss Energy
Boss Energy managing director Duncan Craib said the first drum from Honeymoon marked the start of production and cashflow at the recommissioned mine. Picture: Supplied

The agreement is based on market-related pricing with a ceiling and floor price that is above Boss’ forecast production costs at Honeymoon, the company stated at the time.

The company is also pursuing growth outside of Australia.

In February, Boss announced the acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in the Alta Mesa uranium project in South Texas for about $90m, which Mr Craib said would grow the company’s inventory, production and cashflow in “tier-one locations”.

“The Alta Mesa project has many key similarities to our Honeymoon project in South Australia, where the commissioning process is well on track,” he said.

“Alta Mesa will also enable us to diversify our production on both a project and geographical basis.

“Our strong production and growth outlook is underpinned by a robust balance sheet with no debt and a strategic uranium stockpile now worth US$195m ($302m) based on current spot prices.”

South Australian Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said Honeymoon’s restart demonstrated the “significant potential” for long-term uranium production and expansion in the state.

“South Australia hosts 23 per cent of the world’s uranium resource but only accounts for 10 per cent of the world’s uranium production,” he said.

“There is significant potential for long term production and expansion in South Australia and with the price of uranium booming, there is no shortage of demand.”

Stock in Boss was trading at $4.74 per share on Monday afternoon.