Energy Security is only attainable through bipartisan efforts. Amir Adnani – CEO of Uranium Energy Corp., talks about the updates on the Nuclear Security Act with Manchin and Barrasso, updated 40 min before we record this podcast. The act will place sanctions and penalties on the Russian uranium export markets.
Along with bipartisan efforts, we have to have nuclear and natural gas as critical components of the United States’ energy security. I had an absolute blast talking with Amir about the global energy crisis and the path to energy security and carbon net zero.
Amir and the team from Uranium Energy Corp. have their eye on the global energy market while keeping critical components of ESG and sustainability at the forefront. We discussed their upcoming announcements of a carbon-neutral path for uranium from recovery to the consumer. Their programs and reports, and information are coming out shortly.
It does not matter if you are in the wind, solar, oil, or gas sides. It is not about right or wrong; it is about energy security, and we need uranium and natural gas to get there.
Thank you, Amir, for stopping by the ENB podcast. I enjoyed your passion for the safety and future of your stakeholders and the United States. – Stu
Amir Adnani is the President, Chief Executive Officer, a director and a founder of Uranium Energy Corp (UEC: NYSE American). Under his leadership, the company has become the fastest growing uranium company listed on the NYSE American with the largest resource base of fully permitted ISR projects of any U.S. based producer.
Mr. Adnani is the founder and Chairman of GoldMining Inc. (GOLD: TSX; GLDG: NYSE American), a gold-resources acquisition and development company that has grown to control a sizeable portfolio of gold projects across the Americas and is the Chairman of Uranium Royalty Corp. (UROY: Nasdaq; URC: TSX-V) a uranium royalty company. By background, he is an entrepreneur, and earlier started and expanded two private companies.
Please reach out to Uranium Energy Corp for any additional information.
Automatic Video Transcription may be edited for grammar. We disavow any errors unless they make us look better or smarter. – Check out the YouTube or podcast for the actual language. (I am from Texas and Oklahoma, so I talk funny).
ENB Podcast with Amir Adnani
Stuart Turley [00:00:06] Hello, everybody. Today is a great day. My name’s Stuart Turley, president and CEO of the Sandstone Group. And I’ve got an incredibly special guest today. I have Amir Adnani, and he is the president and CEO of Uranium Energy Corp, a publicly traded corporation. And we need uranium really bad. We’ve got a lot of material to cover. So let me jump right on in, Amir. How are you?
Admir Adnani [00:00:32] Well, you know, I’m good. And I appreciate you having me on. And I don’t know if you planned it or timed it like this, but literally 41 minutes ago, U.S. Senators John Barrasso and Joe Manchin have introduced bipartisan legislation to ban imports of Russian uranium into the U.S.. This be.
Stuart Turley [00:00:53] Cool. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. This is big.
Admir Adnani [00:00:56] It’s big. It’s I mean, this is exactly really a validation of what we’re talking about, what we’re here to talk about, which is the fact that we need uranium desperately. It is the only commodity coming out of Russia, which hasn’t been sanctioned yet, which speaks to how reliant we are on it, that we can’t get ourselves off of this addiction to Russian uranium. And the reality is that it is absolutely an essential fuel, a critical mineral that’s powering one in every five home in America is powered by nuclear energy, and it’s also powering the nuclear navy, not to mention space travel by NASA and SpaceX. So this is a really critical metal that we need to produce here in the U.S. We have zero domestic production capabilities right now and again, became way too dependent on Russia. But I got to say, I am thrilled to see this bipartisan action being taken by Senators Barrasso and mentioned this is incredible stuff. And it was very timely to be with you talking about this.
Stuart Turley [00:01:59] I’ll tell you what, I’m going to have my production team really spin this around. We’ll get it out tomorrow so that we can help jump on that. This is critical because the geopolitical problems that we have right now with the energy crisis, we need modular reactors, We need everything else. And your company is phenomenal. I love the ability of your production. You have three point £1,000,000 million of contracted purchases through December 2025. That’s huge.
Admir Adnani [00:02:35] That’s that’s only what we’ve contracted to purchase. We have, in addition to the 3.1 million that has been contracted to be purchased.
Stuart Turley [00:02:43] Right.
Admir Adnani [00:02:44] Over £300 million of uranium resources in the ground that we can develop and bring into a staged production growth for the company, which could be very much and is in fact the largest uranium resource base in North America. In the US. We’re the largest resource holder in Canada. We’re now a big player as well. We see Canada and us as the perfect one two punch in providing geopolitically stable uranium from reliable sources. Where would you rather get your uranium from? Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, or would you rather get it from Texas, Wyoming and Canada? Saskatchewan, which is also another very mining and energy friendly province. So this is the story of the new world order that we live in. We are unfortunately heading towards a bifurcated market where supply chains of important energy commodities are becoming bifurcated. Russia will hold anyone hostage who needs their energy resources to drive their own agenda. China could very much do the same thing, except China doesn’t have much in terms of energy resources. So they’re in competition with the US to secure their own access to uranium and natural gas and oil. So I think at the end of the day, we we are living through a paradigm shift in how people and how consumers think about supply chains. Right. You could argue it all started with COVID. You could argue it started when we woke up and we said, where do we get pharmaceuticals from? Where do we get the basic essentials that we need? When the supply chain stopped coming in with Russia, we have an energy supply chain crisis and of course we have a humanitarian crisis. What’s happening in Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis absolutely wrong, but it has this ripple effect into the whole world. And the world needs energy. Energy is life. And without controlling your own energy destiny, you might as well give up on controlling your your your ability to control industries and industrial activity and day to day life at home where we got to charge and recharge electric vehicles or. Devices and telephones that iPhones and Samsung, all this stuff. Right. So this is so vital to be able to control our own energy destiny.
Stuart Turley [00:05:08] I’ll tell you, with trying to get to carbon net zero, we won’t make it without nuclear and natural gas and without having your resources and the Uranium Energy Corporation. I don’t think it can happen. I believe that Russia may be 50% of the available uranium out there, Whatever that number is, it’s a lot. And so you sanction that and pull it out of the market. I love everything that I’ve ever seen about your corporation. Also with the small modular reactors and our problems with the grid. You have a long term viability for a market because I think we’re going to need those small modular reactors.
Admir Adnani [00:05:53] First of all, this is very much a long term game. We have been at this for 18 years. You might look at our company today, you might look at uranium energy and say, this is a cool company. Look at all the things they’re doing that’s so unique. And it is true. But it’s 18 years in the making, and in those 18 years we’ve had 15 bad years and three good years. And so for the most part, it’s been a ton of perseverance and a very dedicated focus and and commitment to the idea that, as you said, we believe for a long time as a company and our shareholders and our team and our stakeholders that nuclear energy was going to have to play a critical role in any energy mix moving forward. If we’re honest about decarbonization, these considerations really came to be accepted more broadly in the last year, year and a half. It wasn’t until last summer hasn’t even been a year since nuclear energy and natural gas, as you correctly point out, were both included in the European taxonomy as one example of acceptance. It wasn’t until 30 days ago that we saw an all time high public opinion poll in Japan in favor of nuclear energy. Yes. And that country, home to the Fukushima problems with nuclear power that started in 2011, now embracing nuclear energy now is saying that what happened at Fukushima is under control and not a tragedy because no one died. And now we understand that in order to have our own energy needs under control, we need to turn our reactors back on and we’ve got to build more reactors. The Japanese people are saying that the Japanese government has done this pivot. And here in the U.S., you have a Republican senator teaming up with a Democrat senator and a bipartisan fashion to advocate for US uranium and banning Russian uranium imports. How many things in Washington, how many causes or topics in Washington have this kind of bipartisan support? So you are absolutely right. And I think you hit it on the Hill and you hit the nail on the head that there is this acceptance and understanding now like never before, that to have a credible energy policy aimed at addressing atmospheric issues and decarbonization must include nuclear energy. And we’re seeing unprecedented level of support.
Stuart Turley [00:08:20] Oh, you bet.
Admir Adnani [00:08:21] Like never seen before.
Stuart Turley [00:08:22] Amir, when you take a look at the U.S. market, we have a ballpark of, what, 90 nuclear reactors? France has a ballpark of 50, and they may have a bunch of them offline for maintenance and things like that. Is the U.S. a the leading customer for your things and then France? And then who would be after that? Sorry.
Admir Adnani [00:08:44] U.S. is, number one, the largest consumer of uranium in the world or power generation is the U.S. with over 90 units currently operating. U.S. is also the epicenter of the emerging growth and technological innovation that we’re witnessing for small and advanced modular reactors. Right. The U.S. Navy, with over 100 aircraft carriers and submarines that are all powered by nuclear energy in the form of micro reactors or also an end user of nuclear, not to mention nuclear medicine in every hospital. And not to mention, again, even the needs of NASA and space for space travel. All of this requires uranium. But if we just focus on the following I mean, this is what I think people should pay attention to. This is the one takeaway from this interview is with all that demand that we have just in the U.S., Right. We produce no uranium today. This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. What other commodity do you know that plays such a critical role that we are such a large end user of and we produce none of it domestically. 60% six zero of uranium imports into the US last year were. From Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. We used to have a domestic uranium mining industry in the US, used to be the biggest in the world, and after the end of the Cold War, we basically destroyed that industry because we wanted to dismantle Soviet era warheads and took the uranium out of those warheads and blended them into use for electric utilities. Those days are over, right? We are witnessing a Russia that literally wants to take the clock back and reignite the Soviet Union era and is creating conflict that is just unseen. And so you have this issue now where Western end users are realizing that they cannot rely on Russia for their energy supply chains. And if you do, they’re going to hold you over a barrel. Look at what’s happening in Germany. Friends in England, my friends in Germany tell me their monthly energy bills is four times to ten times greater than what it used to be.
Stuart Turley [00:10:56] Some people saw an article this morning on that, a mirror on the BBC. It is amazing how expensive the energy has gotten.
Admir Adnani [00:11:04] And this. And these are the points that shouldn’t be lost. That again, true. And this is why I think it used to be that before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there was this movement that recognized that we have a megatrend with decarbonization that favors nuclear energy. Right. And then we realized that there was this other megatrend with electrification that also favored nuclear energy. Right. But now we have a different megatrend, which is energy security, which combined with the other two which haven’t gone away. You have decarbonization, electrification and now national security concerns. Those three megatrends converge and arrive at the doorsteps of nuclear energy, which is these are exactly the issues that nuclear energy has the perfect solution for.
Stuart Turley [00:11:50] I am sorry I did. I get so excited about talking about this with you because the megatrends that you just described, you’re not going to get to electrical vehicles. You’re not going to get anywhere there without nuclear. And I love the way you phrased megatrends because they are megatrends. I have not really even used that word before.
Admir Adnani [00:12:10] Well, and the other thing I would say is this We have this incredible sort of movement right now. I was at a mining conference recently. All the largest institutional investors are there and they’re meeting and the car end users were there. So this was never seen before. At a mining conference. You have representatives of Tesla, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes-Benz at this conference meeting with the mining companies and wanting to invest directly into the lithium mines. Let’s talk about lithium for one second, because lithium is used for the lithium ion batteries to build these electric vehicles. And so this year you have these car makers showing up to say, we believe we have to secure our access to the supply chain of the end material that we need. We can’t rely on any middlemen there at the conference. They want to buy the mines. And you have to remember that these batteries that go into these cars don’t just recharge on their own. They have to be charged with something. And so that’s where the uranium is so overlooked right now. There’s such a focus on electrification as a function of batteries. And the most basic thing we all know about batteries is batteries need to be recharged. They don’t recharge themselves. And so then if you anticipate where the ball is going, it’s ultimately going to go back to the grid because grid reliability and stability is how all the things that we want to electrify will ultimately need to be recharged. And I think the same way that you’re seeing Teslas in the world, that General Motors of the world show up in mining conferences to want to buy lithium mines. A couple of years from now, you’re going to have the utilities around uses of uranium show up at these conferences to want to buy uranium mines, because ultimately we have to have this supply chain covered from start to end.
Stuart Turley [00:13:57] And was that Iran that just discovered lithium in their country?
Admir Adnani [00:14:04] I saw that. Yeah, that was an interesting article. Someone sent that to me. But that’s the thing with lithium is lithium is quite abundant. Right. But if you’re Tesla, does it really matter to you that Iran that’s under sanction and we can’t accept their supply stories just as much as we can accept Russian uranium has lithium deposits the same problem with uranium. You might find uranium in the many different jurisdictions. But the problem is, is it economically viable? Is there a political and mining framework to be able to get permits and approvals and community acceptance? And there’s so many checkpoints before you can say that I can socially and sustainably and economically build a mine. So, oh yeah, this, these are and these are the hurdles that we’ve cleared as a company. I mean, for the past 18 years our focus has been on identifying projects and land and. Areas and building infrastructure and acquiring infrastructure that was conducive to future uranium extraction and recovery, and to be positioning ourselves in states and jurisdictions that welcome it, that have a history of it, that understand it. And there’s a regulatory framework. So, again, it takes a long time. This is the thing about metals and mining industries. It’s capital intensive. It’s very long term. Right. And so what that also means is that if a company has an 18 year head start, that’s a real competitive advantage and it allows you to be able to move that much faster to react to favorable market conditions as they emerge. And you have to remember, uranium has not been a favorable market for most of the last decade. So this has been a very contrarian and counter-cyclical type of commodity to be in or to still be in today. You were having this conversation, but the mainstream media and mainstream investors are not paying attention to uranium because it’s still a very small niche industry, but a very critical one and definitely a very critical mineral.
Stuart Turley [00:16:08] I did see your great interview on CNN and and so I was kind of watching that one for a little bit. And I think that the acceptance is coming more. You know, and you’re visiting with folks like me that get the reach out there in different areas other than the mainstream news. Yeah, I think that’s critical for you. Do you get tired of podcasts?
Admir Adnani [00:16:32] Absolutely not. I’m extremely passionate about what we do and what our company has built, and I think it’s really important to tell our story and get our message out. And so absolutely, we feel really privileged when we get an opportunity like this to speak with different outlets and platforms.
Stuart Turley [00:16:53] I’ll tell you, Uranium Energy, I was looking at some of your data points as well, and I did not know on some of your production plants you don’t have to use the overall strip mining in order to get the uranium. And I love the fact that you could pump that down in and go into that. It’s not what people think about the mining and getting out uranium. Is that a correct statement?
Admir Adnani [00:17:18] Absolutely. In fact, it’s better and probably more correct not to call it mining. It’s basically recovery and it’s solution recovery. And it’s an incredibly unique technology that was developed in the U.S. many decades ago. And then we forgot about it. And then the Kazakhs and Newsmax decided to use the same technology to mine their deposits this way, which is basically an alternative to strip mining. So there is no digging and there’s no excavations. There’s no big hole in the ground. Right. Very attractive features because again, if you can have an environmentally friendly way of recovering uranium, right, you will only have that that much more support from from your end users, from your local communities and etc.. So ultimately, we have a big advantage in the U.S. We have an advantage that the best way to recover uranium is this in-situ recovery. Technology is very innovative, it’s very low cost and it’s environmentally friendly and it’s a made in America technology. And we still have many of the knowhow and expertise around it in this country. And one of the areas that I’m so proud of with our company is that we focused on recruiting and building a team. So our human capital is really rich in expertise and experience with this method of mining. And the folks we have in Texas and Wyoming are some of the pioneers of just really great method.
Stuart Turley [00:18:40] You know, you hit almost your company. I’m sorry for getting excited because we need this energy security and your company is hitting every one of my check boxes because we need to provide the lowest cost energy to the population, the consumers, with the least amount of impact on the environment. And you’re hitting every single one of those.
Admir Adnani [00:19:03] Well, this is part of what we’re trying to capture as well in our inaugural sustainability report that we’re releasing. Hopefully by next week, we take this we take this very seriously. In fact, one of the areas that we also paid attention to is to measure the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that our operations had, because we felt that if we can recover uranium and we know the uranium that we get out of the ground is ultimately going to be used in a nuclear power plant to generate emission free electricity. Now, what if we were able to clear as build a supply chain from the ground out decarbonized all the way to the plant that generates emission free electricity, if you can create that continuous chain is huge. That’s huge. And so we are embarking on this. We’ve talked about it a bit, but we are embarking on establishing the first in the world network. Zero uranium recovery operations. And so we’ve done the measurements in Texas. We’re going to do the same thing in Wyoming. We believe that through our innovation and this is really American ingenuity and innovation, we start to apply ourselves to an industry that we left alone for 30 years. We come back and we start to bring our principles, our Western principles, of transparency, of innovation. These ideas can lead to even better ways of recovering uranium. Cleaner ways of recovering uranium. Emission free net zero uranium ore emission free electricity generation. So we really believe in it. And again, we’re talking about it. We’re spending investing in this and we’ll talk more about it in our sustainability report that’s coming out.
Stuart Turley [00:20:44] This is exciting because when you take a look at the investors for ESG, BlackRock lost $1.7 billion. Now 1.7, was it 1.7 trillion last year in the first half of the year? I mean, it was just amazing because they were investing in renewables that were supposed to be ESG. What Amir, what you just described is truly ESG. When you consider that baseline that nuclear power brings in in carbon zero from the mine to the plant, man, all bets are off.
Admir Adnani [00:21:18] Honestly, you can call it whatever you want, but what about just common sense, Right? And so and I think I think that’s the part of ESG that really appeals to us is to unpack it and say, what’s the common sense here that we can actually make a difference with as a company? And so this idea of net zero uranium is what we felt was what ESG was trying to achieve. And but you have to break it down. It can be high level kind of management consultancy talk. It’s got to be tangible action that you can say, how do I as a company actually make a difference and impact to a supply chain? Or to some degree, it’s some equation that more than anything makes a product or service available, right? But again, does it with principles and standards that are relevant and top of mind in today’s world. And everyone’s wondering about this, you know, and then right from, you know, my own kids wonder about how, you know, how to reduce their carbon footprint. So nothing, nothing wrong with the good no kind of common sense approach.
Stuart Turley [00:22:22] I’ll tell you, Mary, I cannot wait to read your report. And I’ve always said also that there is no ESG without accountability. So, you know, it sounds like with not knowing what you’ve already got in there, it sounds like you’ve already got your accountability to your shareholders in place and rolling through this plan. That’s darn cool.
Admir Adnani [00:22:41] Well, look, I mean, we wouldn’t be where we are without our shareholders. We’re a public company. We have some of the biggest institutions in America as shareholders management have been here since day one. We’ve got thick skin in the game and we were really aligned with our shareholders. And over the years as a US public company, you evolve with the evolution of the capital markets, you evolve with the ongoing need for increased transparency, increased communication, and I’ve always found it to be really these are all great principles. These are, you know, it’s it’s like if you learn to run, you’ll learn over time. It’s good to stretch a lot and it’s good to be consistent and it’s good to develop practices that again, creates sustainability. And ultimately, I think that’s the other aspect of this that we’ve got to come back to. When you as a utility or end user buy uranium from a US company like ours, right? We are operating under a certain framework and mentality that aligns with a US buyer. We’re all public, we all talk the same language and legally and from a practical point of view, when you buy uranium from a state owned company in Russia, you’re where is the accountability? Where is the accountability? I mean, isn’t this the thing where Senator Barrasso is talking about today, they’re saying, hey, us utilities, if you buy uranium from the Russian government, you’re basically assisting them in war. You’re basically sending us dollars over to a state that’s engaged in war and you’re basically funding war. Not only are you funding war, this company has zero alignment with US values today, with all this stuff we’re talking about here today. Yes, your transparency, sustainability, these are very North American concepts and they may be very much Western concepts that we don’t see exercised by state owned companies. Now, we’ve relied heavily in this country on our uranium imports, on state owned companies of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Russia. And that’s another area to just wake up and say, Hey, look, put your money where your mouth is. If you want to keep telling us public companies to do business a certain way, why not support those companies as well who are talking, walking the talk as opposed to saying, oh, well, let’s just buy it from the state owned companies because maybe that’s cheaper? Well, again, there’s a price you pay with everything and aligning yourselves with states and actors that are. Engaging in war doesn’t really sound like an appealing alignment with to me.
Stuart Turley [00:25:03] Oh, absolutely. No. You and I have had a battle of excitement to talk about your company and the uranium. We had about 2 minutes. Can we have your great news about the legislation? We have your great news of your ESG and your sustainability report coming out. What’s coming around the corner? I mean, those do great things. You got anything else for the last 2 minutes?
Admir Adnani [00:25:27] The last one, I think. I think I think really for the last 2 minutes, I would I would really just step out for one second and sort of say that, hey, we are talking about an industry here that has really spent too many years in the doghouse and is now coming out and flying like people have never seen before in terms of, again, the broad acceptance that we talked about and the bipartisan support that we’re witnessing. What that means is that I think we are entering a long term period of positive developments and growth for the nuclear industry in the US and globally, and hand in hand with that. The uranium industry. The uranium industry today is tiny. The combined market cap of all publicly listed companies, including the all global players, is less than $20 billion. That is less than, let’s say, a audio streaming company like Spotify. You’re talking about a strategic metal and that’s how tiny it is. At its peak in 2010 or 2011, when it was a much better market, that same number was 150 billion. So this is an industry that has again been through a very long nuclear winter, how things have churn. And so what I would really leave your audience with is to say there’s many years, I believe, of positive progress, growth ahead of us for our company, for our industry, both as an uranium industry and also as a nuclear industry. And I think if you follow this company and this industry, it could be very rewarding and it could be very interesting. And all that information is out there as a you know, as a public company, very easy to track and follow your shareholders.
Stuart Turley [00:27:11] This is critical. This is such a great thing. Thank you, Amir, for so much. I just really appreciate you. We have so many followers and listeners will be passing that out. Thank you for stopping by the podcast.
Admir Adnani [00:27:23] My pleasure. Thanks for having me. And let’s hopefully do this again soon.
Stuart Turley [00:27:27] Absolutely.