John Borshoff: The Epic Story of Paladin and Where Uranium Will Go Next
John describes his early career and how he became involved with uranium after the 1970’s oil shock. He received a very broad-based education into the field which led to a consulting company and in 1993 he founded Paladin.
The history of uranium mining is quite short having started in the 1950s for the weapons industry, and then electrical uses began to drive demand in the 1960s. There were few juniors back then, with one of the few companies being Denison Mines. Paladin was the second company that developed an extensive knowledge base of the uranium space, and one that became respected.
The dynamic today is a bit different than during the last bull market. Back then no one believed the sector could move and equity was very difficult to raise. Things today are opaque due to the lack of information on reactors, the lingering Fukushima effect, and the difficulty in knowing the what is left of above ground supply.
The circular nature of the industry and the occasional accident has resulted in some loss of talent over the years. Uranium differs a lot from other commodities in that it’s history is very short, as a result, there is a general lack of knowledge with investors and mining companies. The number of companies seriously involved with uranium remains quite small.
John feels that KazAtomProm will have a difficult time increasing production significantly. Supply in uranium will not easily follow demand.
He discusses Deep Yellow Limited and their efforts in Namibia to create a big uranium platform as well as the overall strategy.
Time Stamp Reference:
01:00 – John’s background in uranium and junior mining.
05:00 – The early history of uranium mining.
10:10 – Paladins initial difficulties with uranium and the fantastic results.
12:00 – Current production levels are unsustainable.
15:30 – Differences with uranium compared to other metals.
17:00 – Recent decline in knowledgeable people in the uranium space.
19:00 – Industry requirements in the uranium space.
23:50 – KazAtomProm history and production; costs are increasing.
27:00 – Next phase of uranium bull run will have greater depth.
31:00 – Cameco’s position on uranium and long-term contracts.
35:00 – DeepYellow’s strategy and geographical focus.
Talking Points From This Week’s Episode:
• Uranium’s short history and Paladin’s success.
• Even now there are few companies in the space.
• Supply shortages will appear by 2023.
• Uranium supply will not easily follow demand.
Mr. Borshoff was appointed Managing Director and CEO of Deep Yellow Limited in October 2016. He is an experienced mining executive and geologist with more than 30 years of uranium industry experience. He spent more than a decade at the start of his career as a senior geologist and manager of the Australian activities of German uranium miner Uranerz.
In 1993, following the withdrawal of Uranerz from Australia, Mr. Borshoff founded Paladin Energy Ltd. He built the company from a junior explorer into a multi-mine uranium producer with a global asset base and valuation of more than US$5 billion at its peak.
At Paladin, Mr. Borshoff led the team that completed the drill out, feasibility studies, financing, construction, commissioning and safe operation of the first two conventional uranium mines built in the world for 20 years. He also oversaw numerous successful, large public market transactions including acquisitions and major capital raisings before leaving Paladin in 2015.
Mr. Borshoff is recognized as a global uranium industry expert and has a vast international network across the uranium and nuclear industries, as well as the mining investment market. He has a Bachelor of Science (Geology) from the University of Western Australia and is a Fellow of both the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy.
Deep Yellow Limited’s website is deepyellow.com.au