We are a pure-play nuclear fuel supplier, focused on providing a clean source of energy and taking advantage of the long-term growth we see coming in our industry. Our strategy is to focus on our tier-one assets and profitably produce at a pace aligned with market signals in order to preserve the value of those assets and increase long-term value, and to do that with an emphasis on safety, people and the environment.
We have been executing our strategy on three fronts – operational, marketing and financial. We are taking the steps today and incurring the costs that we believe will allow us to restart our tier-one assets with more flexibility in the production rate, eliminate the care and maintenance costs incurred while our tier-one production is suspended and to benefit from the favourable life-of-mine economics our assets provide. We have undertaken a number of deliberate and disciplined actions: we have cut production below our committed sales level, we are actively purchasing material on the spot market to meet our sales commitments, we are focused on protecting and extending the value of our contract portfolio and providing a home for our future tier-one production, and we are prudently managing the company. As a result, our balance sheet is strong, and we are well-positioned to self-manage risk.
Around the globe there is an increasing focus on electrification for various reasons. There are countries looking to install baseload power, while others are looking for a reliable replacement to fossil fuel sources, and finally, there is new demand for things such as the electrification of transportation. This is occurring at precisely the same time that countries and companies around the world are committing to net-zero carbon targets. This has led to the recognition, from a policy point of view, that nuclear will be needed in the toolbox to sustainably achieve electrification and decarbonization goals.
Our uranium and fuel services products are used around the world in the generation of safe, carbon-free, affordable, base-load nuclear energy. As we seek to energize a clean-air world, we will do so in a manner that reflects our values. For over 30 years, as part of our commitment to identifying and addressing the environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities that could affect the long-term sustainability of our company, we have been working with our communities to improve the health and well-being of our employees and their families and support local business development and to protect the environment. In these uncertain times we will need to continue to work together to build on the strong foundation we have already established.
Uranium production is central to our strategy, as it is the biggest value driver of the nuclear fuel cycle and our business. In accordance with market conditions, and to mitigate risk, we will evaluate the optimal mix of our production, inventory and purchases in order to satisfy our contractual commitments and in order to return the best value possible. We will not produce from our tier-one assets to sell into an oversupplied spot market. During a prolonged period of uncertainty, this could mean leaving our uranium in the ground. As conditions improve, we expect to meet rising demand with production from our best margin operations.
Consistent with our actions, our McArthur River/Key Lake operation remains on care and maintenance for an indeterminate duration, removing 18 million pounds of uranium annually from the market. Some of our actions have a cost in the short term, and we must weigh these costs against the value we expect they will generate over the long term. Accordingly, we will adjust our actions based on market signals with the intent of being able to self-manage risk, and to ensure our tier-one assets are available to us in a market that values them appropriately.
Our fuel services division is a source of profit and supports our uranium segment while allowing us to vertically integrate across the fuel cycle.
The UF6 conversion market has gone through a transition that has seen the industry average North American spot price increase by more than 280% and the industry average North American term price increase by almost 40% since the end of 2017. In this environment, with our Port Hope facility the only UF6 plant currently operating in North America, we are focused on securing new long-term contracts that reflect today’s prices and that will allow us to continue to consistently support the long-term needs of our customers.
In addition, we are pursuing non-traditional markets for our UO2 and fuel fabrication business and have been actively securing new contracts for reactor components to support refurbishment of Canadian reactors.
Our focus will continue to be on maintaining and optimizing the profitability of this segment of our business.
We continue to explore opportunities in the second largest value driver of the fuel cycle. Having operational control of both uranium production and enrichment facilities would offer synergies that could enhance profit margins.
Our global marketing activities are consolidated as Cameco Marketing Inc. based out of Saskatoon.
Reserves and Resources
We hold about 455 million pounds of proven and probable reserves.
Supply & Demand
The uranium industry's long-term fundamentals are strong.
Caution about Forward-Looking Information
Please click here for additional information about the assumptions applied in making the forward-looking statements on this page and the factors that could cause results to differ materially.