Podcast: NexGen Energy's Leigh Curyer on uranium project's potential

01 March 2024

NexGen Energy President and CEO Leigh Curyer discusses the uranium market outlook and outlines progress on the Rook 1 project in Canada, which he says will potentially supply 25-30% of the world's mined uranium supply.


The project, in Saskatchewan's southwestern Athabasca Basin, includes underground and surface facilities to support the mining and processing of uranium ore from the Arrow Deposit. NexGen describes Rook I as the largest development-stage uranium project in Canada. Rook I hosts the Arrow deposit with measured and indicated mineral resources of 256.7 million pounds U3O8 (98,739 tU) supporting an initial 10.7 year mine-life outlined in the 2021 feasibility study for the project.

It is 10 years since discovery, with provincial environmental approval issued in November, and the company hopes for a federal permit in the near future. Curyer says that from that moment, the estimated construction timeline is 42 months, which would mean an expectation of production at the end of 2027 or early 2028 - "so from discovery through to production, you're looking at around 15 years".

During the interview Curyer talks about his background and the decision to found NexGen Energy, and, reflecting on the wider uranium market during the 2010s, also what it was like to have discovered "the world's best project in one of the world's worst markets".

"From my perspective, and also the team's perspective at NexGen, it was OK with us because it actually allowed us to get on with developing the project to the stage that we have done, without being distracted with all the market noise that happens with a rising uranium price."

He says that they were always confident that the upturn in uranium prices over the past two years was coming, saying "it has been building since 2011" and he sees the fundamentals locked in, with energy security, environmental and geopolitical influences. This is all part, he says, of a positive outlook for the broader nuclear energy market, including a change of mood in his native Australia.

Also in this edition Claire Maden reports on developments in India's nuclear energy programme, and Warwick Pipe on the recent International Energy Agency's ministerial meeting communique recognising nuclear as one technology for achieving energy security and decarbonisation.

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Episode credit:  Presenter Alex Hunt. Co-produced and mixed by Pixelkisser Production

Researched and written by World Nuclear News