Our strategy is set within the context of a challenging market environment, which we expect to give way to strong long-term fundamentals driven by increasing populations, and the impact of growing electricity demand on the world’s climate. Nuclear energy must be a central part of the solution to the world’s shift to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy. It is an option that can provide the power needed, not only reliably, but also safely and affordably, and in a way that will help avoid some of the worst consequences of climate change.
We are a pure-play nuclear fuel investment, 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 shareholder value, and to do that with an emphasis on safety, people and the environment.
We evaluate our strategy in the context of our market environment and continue to adjust our actions in accordance with our marketing framework. You can read more about our strategy in our 2019 Q4 MD&A.
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 461 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.