AVL 0.00% 2.1¢ australian vanadium limited

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  1. 183 Posts.
    Yet Another Commodity "Gap"

    China's prolonged growth spurt has created a number of profit opportunities in recent years. In the commodities market, they've come in the form of wide supply and demand gaps.

    In the past three years, for example, China's:

    Insatiable demand for steel caused prices to double. And investors made 553% on international Mittal Steel Company in 13 months.

    Copper requirements pushed Phelps-Dodge, the world's largest miner, up 253% in 16 months.

    Voracious need for oil drained supply from OPEC and pushed prices up by 63%… Investors in Valero Energy, the nation's largest refinery, made a tidy 431% in 24 months.

    Coal demands launched Fording Canadian Coal 268%.

    Aluminum demands, to supply its soaring appliance and auto factories, pushed Empire Resources higher by 1,257%…
    If you didn't cash in on these opportunities, uranium is your "second chance."

    A $50 Billion Nuclear Initiative

    The tide of global opinion has turned toward a solution for climate change, and as the world's second largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, pressure has been put on China to clean up its act.

    The health of the Chinese population is suffering from densely contaminated air. China burns more coal than the European Union, United States, and Japan combined, and pollutants from coal-fired power plants account for approximately 400,000 premature deaths a year.

    So it comes as no surprise that China is making a massive effort to embrace alternative energy sources like nuclear power. In addition to the nine nuclear reactors already operating in China, the government in Beijing is looking to build 30 more plants.

    Efficient, Practical, Clean
    Why Uranium Is the Fuel
    of the Future

    The International Energy Agency has stated that the world only has enough fossil fuels to meet energy demand until 2030. It won't be long until fossil fuels are a thing of the past.

    What will take their place?

    The overwhelming consensus seems to be nuclear power. So far, the implementation of nuclear power plants has reduced global carbon dioxide emissions by 1.6 million tons and prevented 90,000 tons of heavy metals from being released into the earth's atmosphere.

    Nuclear energy supplies 16% of the world's power - 441 power plants in 36 countries depend on uranium, and those numbers are destined to increase as fossil fuels are phased out.

    Today, there are 104 nuclear power plants that are fully licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to operate in the United States. Fifteen of those power plants have had their licenses extended from 40 years to 60 years, and there are more than 20 proposed nuclear facilities currently undergoing regulatory review.

    Federal and state governments have also passed energy legislation that includes special tax and loan incentives to encourage nuclear reactor development in the U.S.

    The search for a viable fuel source to replace coal, oil, and natural gas has suddenly reached a new level of urgency. And it's clear that for at least the next 20-30 years, nuclear power is going to be the solution for the world's number one producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

    That's the largest nuclear power initiative ever undertaken, and the price tag is likely to exceed $50 billion USD. For its money, China would end up with 11% of the world's nuclear energy capability.

    What this all adds up to is a huge run on uranium…

    At the end 2003, when China first announced its plan, uranium was valued at $14.50 per pound. Now it sells for $133 - a 820% increase. And it's not done yet…

    According to the Australian Foreign Ministry, with whom China has been negotiating, imports of uranium to China are set to increase from 2.5 million pounds per year, to an unprecedented level of 44 million pounds per year. That would be an increase of 1,760%, and close to one-quarter of the world's total uranium supply.

    Unfortunately, supplies are running out…

    The Commodity Crunch Leading To Record Profits

    The world's leading uranium-mining countries have both seen a decline in production in recent years. Between 2005 and 2006, production has dropped from 11,628 tons to 9,862 tons in Canada, and from 9,516 tons to 7,593 tons in Australia.

    Last year, the world's largest undeveloped uranium deposit (Canada's Cigar Lake mine, owned by Cameco) was suddenly rendered useless by a flood. This disaster put a halt to the extraction of 7 million pounds of uranium that were expected to be made available this year. Even worse, another 12 million pounds of uranium will come off the market through 2009.

    What used to be a uranium surplus has also evaporated…

    In 1993, the United States and Russia agreed to dismantle nuclear warheads left over from the Cold War and use the uranium to power nuclear reactors. This resulted in an excess supply of uranium for more than a decade. Now, more than 80% of that excess has been used up.

    The industry's leading journal, The Uranium Market Outlook, has stated that above-ground uranium is at an all-time low, citing 30 years of underinvestment, stringent regulations, and an overall lack of exploration of uranium deposits.

    International Nuclear, Inc., has reported that commercial reserves of uranium fell by 50% from 1985 to 2003. It has also reported that in 2004, only 54% of the uranium consumed in the world came from mining. The rest came from the depletion of existing reserves.

    Countries like Japan and France rely heavily on uranium as a power source and are determined to secure supplies. But China's future demand remains a challenge.

    There simply isn't enough uranium to satisfy the world's current needs. Indeed, $133 a pound may seem cheap in a matter of months
 
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