Monday, August 25, 2008

South Africa to Curb Uranium Exports to Ensure Supply

From Bloomberg:
South Africa, which has Africa's biggest uranium reserves, may limit exports of the metal to ensure sufficient supply of fuel for its existing and planned nuclear power plants.

Minerals and Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica should approve the policy within the next few weeks, Bheki Khumalo, spokesman for the Department of Minerals and Energy, said in an interview today from the capital, Pretoria, declining to give more detail. South Africa holds 7 percent of the world's uranium reserves.

``There will be some regulations -- one of the ways of ensuring sufficient supply will be to regulate the rate of export of uranium in the medium term,'' he said, without defining medium term.

State-run Eskom Holdings Ltd., which supplies about 95 percent of the country's power, plans to build nuclear plants to generate an additional 18,000 megawatts of electricity by 2025 to help overcome a power shortage in South Africa. Uranium prices surged to a record $138 a pound last year and are currently trading at $64.50, six times higher than in 2003, according to Denver-based TradeTech LLC.

The country currently has just one plant, Koeberg near Cape Town, which has the capacity to produce 1,800 megawatts of power. Including coal, wind, hydro and gas-fired plants Eskom will double its total capacity to 80,000 megawatts by 2025....MORE