2012 was an eventful year for our business and our industry – and another strong year for Cameco. We demonstrated resilience in 2012, exceeding our production target, delivering on our sales guidance, and achieving $2.3 billion in revenue, despite a challenging environment.
The economic malaise felt around the world, and the lingering effects of the events in Japan, overshadowed our industry, exerting significant downward pressure on uranium prices throughout the year. This resulted in many producers, including us, delaying or cancelling projects that had become uneconomic.
We also decided to slow our growth plans and focus primarily on projects with the most certainty, while pursuing our other projects at a more measured pace. As a result, we plan to provide 36 million pounds of annual supply by 2018, while at the same time maintaining optionality in our project portfolio – what we call our ‘bullpen’ – to allow us to be the first to respond when the market signals new production is needed. This will let us spread out our capital spend over a longer period of time to improve near-term results, and also prepare for the longer term picture.
We were, however, able to find opportunity in the current market environment, acquiring the NUKEM trading group, as well as the Yeelirrie project in Australia and an increased portion of the Millennium project in Saskatchewan. These are world-class assets, and our decision to acquire them reflects our confidence in the nuclear industry and our commitment to be ready to supply new production when it is needed.
Ours is still a growth plan, to prepare for the strong long-term demand we see for uranium. There is strong reactor growth around the world at a time when uranium supply is diminishing: the Russian Highly Enriched Uranium commercial agreement ends this year and, as I already mentioned, new uranium mining projects are being delayed and cancelled. Each day these projects don’t move forward, the larger the future supply-demand gap becomes.
At Cameco, we are maintaining a forward focus – continuing to move forward toward that increased long-term demand, but, as always, with an emphasis on achieving our growth plans safely, efficiently and profitably – and in line with our adjusted strategy to enhance our shorter term profitability. We have excellent people at Cameco who are accomplishing these goals every day and who achieved strong results again this year.
Despite the macro challenges of 2012, I’m pleased with the work accomplished at Cameco this year, with the opportunities that we acted upon and the progress we made towards our goals. I look forward to continuing that trend in 2013.
President and CEO
March 15, 2013