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I’ve written a lot about renewable energy’s role in lowering our carbon footprint. But that’s not the only way we’re keeping carbon emissions in check.
Nuclear power makes carbon-free electricity. About 10% of the world’s electricity comes from 440 nuclear power plants.
Here in the U.S., 18.9% of our power is nuclear. However, nuclear power plants cost too much to build and operate.
Wind and solar are much cheaper alternatives. As a result, there will probably never be another big nuclear power plant built in the U.S. after the two currently under construction are completed.
But that’s not the case elsewhere. Today, there are 51 reactors being built worldwide, with 100 more planned.
As these plants are finished and put into service, they will need fuel. And that fuel will be made from uranium.
Nuclear Around the World
Uranium is one of the heavy metal elements. Utilities have used it as fuel for nuclear reactors for more than 60 years.
And it isn’t used just in commercial reactors. Defense, medicine and several other industries all use uranium isotopes.
Australia holds 28% of the world’s uranium resources. But Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of the heavy metal.
The demand for uranium has been fairly steady for years. But many of the new reactors being built today will come online during the next decade.
As a result, existing uranium stockpiles will quickly disappear. And that will cause demand to rapidly increase.
Last year, the demand from existing nuclear reactors was about 62,500 metric tons. By 2030, it’s expected to increase to 79,400 metric tons.
And by 2040, it should hit 112,300 metric tons. That’s nearly double today’s usage…
Which spells big opportunity for any company that mines uranium…
One U.S. company in particular mines not only uranium but a whole lot more as well.
Heavy Metal Leader
Mining uranium is one thing. But Energy Fuels (NYSE: UUUU) mines a lot more than just uranium.
Its mines yield many of the raw materials clean energy needs. But let’s start with uranium.
It’s the company’s bread and butter. And Energy Fuels has been the biggest U.S. miner of uranium since 2017.
Its uranium mill and its two mines are developed and licensed. And it’s building five new mines in Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.
The company also has a uranium recycling operation. In addition, it’s testing its existing process streams for the recovery of radio isotopes. These are used in emerging cancer therapies.
Energy Fuels also mines rare earth elements and vanadium, which is used to make steel and high-strength alloys. So it has advantages over its seven North American competitors, all of which mine only uranium.
But Energy Fuels’ biggest advantage is in rare earth elements. One of the highest rare earth element-bearing minerals is monazite.
Mining monazite is difficult because it also contains uranium, thorium and other radioactive elements. These need special handling.
But that’s no problem for Energy Fuels.
Its White Mesa Mill in Utah is the only place outside of China that can process monazite. It has the licenses and processes to separate out the radioactive materials.
Last year, the company began to process monazite on a commercial scale. The White Mesa Mill has a license to process 720,000 tons of monazite annually.
Today, it’s producing just 1,000 tons per year. But it plans to rapidly ramp up its annual production to 15,000 to 30,000 tons. Energy Fuels recovers about 50% of the feedstock as finished rare earth carbonate and uranium.
The Perfect Time for Investors to Get In
Energy Fuels claims it’s becoming the “Clean Energy and Critical Mineral Hub” of the U.S. And I can’t think of a better materials company to invest in.
As the demand for uranium, vanadium and rare earth elements grows, Energy Fuels’ shares should skyrocket.
Savvy investors will want to come along for the ride.