As we settle into a new year, one sector has demonstrated it’s full of energy: uranium. After what was an unequivocal terrible year in 2011, the sentiment towards uranium appears to be changing. In late December, Japanese governor of Aomori, Shingo Mimura announced he approved new safety measures by five nuclear-related companies, including J-Power and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd (JNFL), operator of the Rokkasho nuclear reprocessing plant, which is now operating on a test basis. And, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has said that nuclear power could play a role in Japan for decades, with measures to improve safety, after the March 11, 2011 earthquake triggered massive radioactive material leakage in the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Coupled with today’s announcement that Japan is likely to cut Iranian crude purchases in about three months, is the shadow finally being removed from the uranium sector? U.S. officials are touring Asia in an attempt to muster support for sanctions aimed at starving Iran of oil revenue and their arm-twisting might be working. During a regular press briefing Akihiko Tembo, president of the Petroleum Association of Japan (PAJ) stated, “I think each buyer is considering this in a practical way and making efforts to reduce nominations (for Iranian crude) as much as possible and find alternatives.”
The shift in market sentiment appears to be having an impact on uranium stocks. Mega Uranium Ltd. (profile TSX:MGA) is one of the top performing stocks this week and is currently trading at $0.36 up $0.09 (33.3%) from last Friday’s close. Earlier this year, Mega Uranium entered into a letter of intent with Titan Uranium Inc. (profile TSXV:TUE) to purchase all of Titan’s Canadian exploration properties, in exchange for 10 million common shares of Mega. The proposed acquisition includes 23 projects covering 1.2 million acres located in the Athabasca basin of Saskatchewan, the Thelon basin project located in Nunavut in which Mega and Titan are currently 51/49 joint venture partners, and the South Fork project in south-western Saskatchewan in which Mega and Titan currently each hold a 25 percent interest.
Another uranium stock on the move is Crosshair Energy Corp. (profile TSX:CXX) up 10.7% this morning on volume of 260,000 shares. Crosshair announced today that indicated resources at its uranium project in Wyoming, United States were up 36 percent. In mid-December, MiningFeeds connected with Stewart Wallis, President & CEO of Crosshair Energy, CLICK HERE for that exclusive interview. Crosshair, which develops uranium, vanadium and gold projects in North America, said indicated resources at its Bootheel project in southern Wyoming were at 1.48 million pounds of uranium oxide. Crosshair has a 75 percent interest in the project, with the rest being owned by Ur-Energy Inc. (profile TSX:URE). Ur-Energy, another company recently covered by MiningFeeds, was featured in the article “Uranium Stocks to Watch in 2012” – CLICK HERE – to read more.