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Project Generators: Exploration Risk for a Lower Cost

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Project Generators: Exploration Risk for a Lower Cost

Project Generators: Exploration Risk for a Lower Cost

Sponsored by: Altus Strategies

In a bear market for junior miners, exploration capital can be hard to come by. However, one type of company strategy does its best to bypass this risk and fund multiple projects without having to constantly raise capital through equity.

Enter the Project Generator model. How does it work? Basically, a company gets more established companies with substantial capital to joint venture on its wide portfolio of properties. The funding companies have the money to spend and may not have a depth of exploration projects themselves. Therefore, it can be a perfect match for both parties.

The downside of this model is that shareholders of the project generator do not get all of the discovery upside, but the benefits are still quite numerous. First, it decreases dilution risk by having much of the exploration capital provided by majors and midtiers. Also, it spreads the odds of making a discovery to a portfolio of multiple properties and commodities, rather than just focusing on one which may or may not work out. Last, by having the big boys come in on projects, shareholders have reassurance of the technical validity and due diligence of prospects.

There is some very supportive data for the model as well. Over the last five years, shares in project generators are up 121% while shares in listed juniors (under $50 million market cap) are down -55%. Project generators also have more skin in the game (11.0% vs. 7.6%) and are able to secure more overall funding on average.

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Energy

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.

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A cropped chart visualizing the distribution of the global uranium reserves, by country.

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.

But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.

Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)

Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.

But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.

Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.

CountryShare of Global
Reserves
Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
🇦🇺 Australia28%1.7M
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan13%815K
🇨🇦 Canada10%589K
🇷🇺 Russia8%481K
🇳🇦 Namibia8%470K
🇿🇦 South Africa5%321K
🇧🇷 Brazil5%311K
🇳🇪 Niger5%277K
🇨🇳 China4%224K
🇲🇳 Mongolia2%145K
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2%131K
🇺🇦 Ukraine2%107K
🌍 Rest of World9%524K
Total100%6M

Figures are rounded.

Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.

South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.

China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.

A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.

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