Paladin punished for African shut-downs,  THE AUSTRALIAN , November 01, 2011 SHARES in Africa-focused miner Paladin were punished after it reported a fall in uranium production amid weak market prices, despite record sales for the September quarter.

Paladin produced 1.24 million pounds of uranium in the September quarter, a 15 per cent fall compared with 1.46 million pounds in the previous quarter.

The fall was due to shutdowns at Paladin’s operations in Namibia and Malawi, including a ground movement that affected the Malawi mine and reduced its production by 30 per cent.

Paladin shares fell 6.5c, , or 4.2 per cent, to close at $1.50….

Chief executive John Borshoff said the persistent deterioration of the uranium spot price since the Fukushima nuclear accident in March was affecting financial returns..The effects of Fukushima on the industry had highlighted its inability to sustain production growth in an orderly way, he said.

Uranium prices had recently fallen to levels of about $US50 a pound, last seen after Japan’s nuclear accident, causing grief to struggling Australian producers such as Paladin. Paladin’s shares have slumped 70 per cent this year, mainly because of the Fukushima accident.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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