Global uranium producer Cameco says it is anticipating a positive 2013, with a forecast total of 23.3 million pounds of uranium to be produced at its properties and half of that production already under contract for purchase.

The company’s net earnings for 2012 were Can$266 million, which was down on 2011’s Can$450 million, however Cameco says lower uranium prices and lower taxes impacted on the financial outcome.

Its Inkai uranium deposit in central Kazakhstan is among the company’s three top properties, and will be instrumental in helping to record a positive 2013 outcome producing almost 3 million pounds of uranium or almost 15% of the total production forecast.

Cameco’s president Tim Gitzel says, “Our focus in 2013 will be on execution and reducing costs without compromising on our values. Cameco remains committed to nuclear energy. We see a great opportunity to grow our business and build value for shareholders and are working to realize it.

“Over the next several years, we expect to invest significantly in expanding production at existing mines and advancing projects, subject to market conditions, as we pursue our growth strategy. The projects are at various stages of development, from exploration and evaluation to construction,” he says.

During this year, Cameco anticipates Inkai will receive the necessary government permits to produce at an annual rate of 5.2 million pounds of uranium. The completion of a feasibility study for the production increase and a pre-feasibility study on a uranium refinery will be part of the company’s work with 40% joint venture partner Kazatomprom.

Cameco says it will also complete delineation drilling, complete construction of the test leach facility and extend power lines to facilities at the project’s third block.

Inkai consists of two production areas and an exploration area. Cameco employed 200 workers during construction of the Inkai project and will require almost 500 employees as it moves to full production of 3.9 million pounds of uranium. The company’s Kazakh office is in Almaty where the majority of employees are Kazakh nationals.

Tim Gitzel says the company believes the long-term outlook for the uranium market remains positive with China, Japan, Belgium, Canada and France among the nations making changes to their nuclear programs.

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