Wall Street Signals: Uranium, the Next BIG Commodity - Azincourt Uranium, Inc. (AZURF)

Uranium, the Next BIG Commodity - Azincourt Uranium, Inc. (AZURF)

How does the old saying go? Expect it when you least expect it? It's painfully cliche, but that doesn't mean it's bad advice. In fact, it's good advice even for investors... especially for investors. Just when you think something's a foregone conclusion, everything changes.
That's the crux of today's idea. Nobody saw it coming, but it's here, and this stock is up 250% since the beginning of the year because of this tidal shift. Don't worry though. We think there's plenty more upside left to go.
Azincourt Uranium Inc. (OTCMKTS:AZURF, CVE:AAZ) is, as the name suggests, a uranium play. Yes, we're talking about the fuel used by most nuclear power plants. Contrary to popular belief and despite a short-lived activist effort against them following the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, nuclear power is still going strong, and the world is still planning to add to the number of nuclear power plants in operation for the foreseeable future. What's changed in the very recent past is a rebound in the price of uranium. After years of a bearish supply/demand situation, this nuclear fuel is on the mend in a huge way. It's taking uranium miners with it.
There's no sense in pretending there's not an 800 pound gorilla in the room - nuclear power has its fair share of opponents, and they have some fair points. The biggest of those points is the potential for a meltdown and the subsequent release of radioactive gases. Fukushima and the 1988 disaster in Chernobyl are prime examples of how bad things can be when things go wrong.
When you get right down to it though, the global population is more pragmatic than not.
It matters. See. nuclear power makes good sense, and in many regards is still a superior option to traditional fossil fuel-based energy even in terms of safety. Though the study was done several years ago and the specific numbers likely improved somewhat, it's estimated that the pollution from coal-fired plants takes the lives of more than 13,000 people per year. Conversely, the Chernobyl reactor meltdown isn't expected to only claim 9000 once all of those victims pass away prematurely. Not to be calloused about it, but to the extent it is a numbers game, nuclear makes sense.
It should also be noted that the Fukushima and Chernobyl meltdowns were mostly the result of design flaws, and the lessons learned from both are being applied to existing and newly-built reactors.
In the meantime, until wind and solar can catch up price-wise with nuclear power in terms of production capacity -- they're cheaper to operate than nuclear power but will require huge capital to put in place -- than nuclear is the most feasible way to keep the lights turned on without making a bad greenhouse problem worse. For that matter, while wind and solar operate without emitting any greenhouse gases, manufacturing solar panels requires the use of some rather toxic chemicals, while the mining of the rare earth metals needed to make wind turbines can do a stunning amount of damage to the environment.
Point being, there's no such thing as 'clean energy.' It's just a question of when and where in the process you take your toll on the planet. All in all, nuclear still makes a great deal of sense.
Consumers, companies, governments and even environmentalists are starting to see the bigger picture too. That's why there are 450 nuclear reactors up and running all over the world right now, supplying about a tenth of the world's electricity. And, that's why 60 new nuclear power plants are under construction right now, with no immediate plans to shut down ones currently in use. We're going to need it if we're going to meet the world's 2030 electricity demands, which are projected to grow 73% from current levels.
The end result? While it was a tough go for the nuclear power industry and the uranium mining industry for a while there, the uranium supply/demand pendulum appears to finally be swinging upward again. Uranium prices are up 44% since early December, and Focus Economics believes uranium prices will grow another 30% by the end of the year. The chart below, which we found at InvestorIntel.com, tells the tale.
That forecast puts Azincourt Uranium in focus.
Azincourt is a 10% owner of the Patterson Lake North property in Canada's Athabasca Basin, in the province of Saskatchewan.
The Basin, as it is commonly known, provides nearly 20% of the world's high grade uranium and has an average grade of 2% (ten times higher than the world average). It is home to the world's largest high grade uranium mine... McArthur River Uranium Mine, the world's largest high-grade uranium deposit operated by Cameco Corp. There's plenty more uranium to be found there, though, and with more than 40 years of uranium mining, the Athabasca Basin is considered one of the world's most important uranium districts. Indeed, so important is the region that in 2011 (post Fukushima), Rio Tinto spent $654 million and won a takeover battle versus Cameco in order to acquire Hathor and its Roughrider discovery - which lay immediately adjacent to Fission Energy Corp's J-Zone discovery; Fission Energy owns the other 90% of the Patterson Lake North property
Better yet, both the provincial and federal government are pro-mining and the area has enjoyed sustained investment in infrastructure.
As for Patterson Lake North, this snippet from Azincourt's website tells you what you need to know:
"PLN lies within a large basin scale NE trending gravity low structural corridor that also incorporates the adjacent PLS property. The former Cluff Lake mine (>60M lbs U3O8 produced) and the UEX-Areva Shea Creek deposits (42 km and 27 km to the north respectively) lie along the western margin of this structural feature...
...To date Azincourt has spent $3M earning into PLN, primarily on targeting geophysics and diamond drilling. Prior to Azincourt's involvement, Fission has spent ~$4.7M on exploration on PLN ranging from airborne to ground geophysics to a first-pass drilling of a few select targets. There are three separate target areas that are drill-ready."
You get the idea.
This isn't a complicated trade to figure out. The higher uranium prices rise, the better AZURF (or AAZ for Canadian investors) looks. And, all indications are that uranium prices are poised to rise for the rest of the year, and beyond. And when we say 'beyond,' we mean beyond. As much as the world was hoping we'd be powered by nothing but renewable energy sources by now, it's becoming very clear that's not going to be feasible for a long, long time. We'll need nuclear power to get us from here to there, and ironically, when everything is weighed, nuclear is in many ways starting to look like the cleanest energy option we have.
In any case, this updated way of thinking and the potential of Azincourt Uranium is starting to spread. Like we said above, there's a reason that stock has advanced 250% just since the end of 2016. There's more room to keep climbing though. It's just a matter of how fast and how well the nuclear power story makes forward progress.Smart trading discipline is still called for, of course, if you decide you want to make a move in the mostly-overlook uranium recovery. Never allocate more to one trade than you can lose, use an entry limit, and then use a stop if you get in to protect yourself.
The flipside is, of course, you can't make any money on the rebounding uranium craze from the sidelines. AZURF is one of the few pure uranium plays out there, and easily the most underestimated one we could find. We've got a feeling the market's going to put two and two together over the course of the next few months, putting upward pressure on this particular name.