* Spot prices still too low to justify new mines
* Chinese expansion driving demand
CAPE TOWN Feb 9 Uranium markets are showing
signs of strength that should enable Canadian-listed producer
Goviex to bring its Madaouela mine in Niger onstream by
2020, the company's CEO said on Thursday.
Spot prices of uranium, used to make fuel for nuclear power
production, have been depressed since the 2011 Fukushima
disaster led Japan to shut down its reactors and created high
Goviex CEO Daniel Major said prices are still around $30
dollars per pound compared with the level of $50-to-$55 Goviex
says it needs to build a mine.
But he said the fundamentals are stronger as China
aggressively builds reactors and uranium markets start to face a
"The uranium market is permanently in operational production
deficit. It survives by taking material out of stockpiles all
the time. It doesn't take much to tighten it up," Major said on
the sidelines of a conference in Cape Town.
Goviex operates in Africa, which Major says is a good
environment for a uranium miner as licences are easily
obtainable and the quality of the ore is good enough.
"It's not just about the grade in our industry and the key
thing is you can get permits in Africa," Major said, adding that
nations such as Niger, heavily reliant on resources income, were
likely to facilitate operations.
In addition to Niger, Goviex has Mutanga in Zambia, which is
expected to come onstream in 2023 and Falea in Mali which is due
about three years after that, provided uranium prices are strong
(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by Jason Neely)