The first half of 2019 has proven challenging for the uranium sector with the current U3O8 spot price stuck at US$24.55 per pound, a US$4.45 decrease from the start of the year.
The flatlining spot prices have been attributed to ongoing tensions between China and the US and Iran and the US, which have impeded the global economy and dampened investor sentiment. Even though Q2 2019 has not been positive for the uranium sector, some miners and explorers have been able to turn a profit contributing to their share value growth.
Below we run through the five uranium stocks on the TSX and TSXV with the biggest share price gains year-to-date. All data was obtained on July 4, 2019 from TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies listed had market caps above C$10 million at that time.
1. ValOre Metals (TSXV:VO)
Year-to-date gain: 76.92 percent; share price: C$0.23
Diversified explorer ValOre Metals has three uranium projects in various stages of exploration and production. Two of the company’s uranium assets are located in Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, a jurisdiction well known for its high-grade deposits. Uranium major Cameco’s (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ) main project, Wheeler River, is also located in the Basin.
ValOre has a high-grade uranium asset in Nunavut, the Angilak property. The company has invested more than C$55 million in to the exploration of the property and believes it is well positioned to benefit from an upturn in the uranium market.
In mid-June 2018, ValOre adopted its new name, changing from its former title Kivalliq Energy, to highlight the company’s diversified focus.
The company had not released any quarterly financial updates or uranium project reviews this year.
2. Ur-Energy (TSX:URE)
Year-to-date gain: 30.25 percent; share price: C$1.12
Junior uranium miner Ur-Energy is focused on operating its in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium facility in Wyoming. The Lost Creek project, which came into production in 2013, has produced more than 2.46 million pounds of uranium.
Ur-Energy also has a uranium project in development in the Shirley Basin area of Wyoming, as well as the Great Divide basin and Gas Hill mine district of the state.
In 2018, Ur-Energy and Energy Fuels (TSX:EFR,NYSEAMERICAN:UUUU) were instrumental in getting the US department of commerce to launch a Section 232 investigation into foreign uranium imports into the US.
The probe in the name of national security aimed to examine the US’ dependency on foreign uranium, particular shipments originating in the eastern Europe.
The American uranium producers have proposed a 25 percent domestic uranium production quota, as well as a “Buy American” policy for US government entities that use uranium.
The Section 232 report was submitted to US President Donald Trump in mid-April. The president’s decision is due sometime this month.
While the company has yet to release its Q2 2019 results, it did make mention of early quarter activity in its Q1 update released in May.
“Early in 2019 Q2, we delivered 100,000 pounds into a scheduled term contract commitment and sold 165,000 pounds related to 2020 obligations under existing term agreements. We do not expect to make additional sales during Q2,” notes the report.
3. IsoEnergy (TSX:ISO)
Year-to-date gain: 10.42 percent; share price: C$0.53
IsoEnergy possesses an array of uranium assets all located in the Athabasca Basin of Saskatchewan. The explorer was busy during Q2 2019, exploring, testing and drafting reports for its various projects ahead of an expected spot price uptick.
Most recently, the uranium explorer announced it had commenced a summer drill program at the Hurricane uranium zone in Saskatchewan.
“Our summer drill program is our most significant drill program to date, and we look forward to reporting on results over the coming months. Hurricane is in an excellent location, at a relatively shallow depth, not covered by any bodies of water and is within 40 km of the modern, high-grade McClean Lake uranium mill that currently has excess capacity,” CEO Craig Parry noted.
“The program will be going ahead at an important time for the uranium industry with a number of potential catalysts for improving uranium prices set to emerge in coming months.”
4. enCore Energy (TSXV:EU)
Year-to-date gain: 7.38 percent; share price: C$0.14
US-focused uranium company enCore has a number of projects located around the US in New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona. The company holds a mix of both ISR and conventional mining projects.
Two of enCore’s New Mexico assets include the Crownpoint and the Hosta Butte uranium deposits, which are estimated to contain an indicated mineral resource of 26.6 million pounds of U3O8.
In early June, the company announced that it had appointed a new chief financial officer and executive vice president.
5. Purepoint Uranium Group (TSXV:PTU)
Year-to-date gain: 7.13 percent; share price: C$0.07
Saskatchewan-focused uranium explorer Purepoint has 10 ongoing projects, all in the Athabasca Basin region. Its flagship project Hook Lake is a joint venture with two of the largest global uranium producers, Cameco and private company Orano Canada.
In late June, Purepoint announced it was resuming work at its Smart Lake project, which it had placed on the back burner while focusing on Hook Lake.
“Immediately following our initial successful drill program at Smart Lake, our attention was redirected by the discoveries occurring at Hook Lake and the Patterson Lake corridor,” Scott Frostad, Purepoint’s vice president of exploration, said in the announcement. “With a new understanding of the western Athabasca geological setting acquired from our advanced work at Hook Lake, we believe that it is time to revisit our findings at Smart Lake.”