Steady demand in the second hand market has saved some of the older container ships from the breaking yard, including tonnage initially intended to be sold to scrap buyers, but eventually acquired for further trading as the charter market staged a mini recovery earlier this year, according to shipping industry analyst Alphaliner.The total capacity of container ships scrapped from January to August this year has fallen to only 95,000 TEU, compared to 323,000 TEU in the corresponding period of 2014.Only 54 cellular container ships have been scrapped so far this year, with an average size of 1,765 TEU and average age of 23 years. By contrast, a total of 130 ships were scrapped in the first eight months of last year, with an average size of 2,505 TEU at 22 years.The fall in scrapping figures is also related to tumbling scrap prices, down from a high of USD 500 per light displacement ton (ldt) last year to only USD 320/ldt currently, while average charter rates are 30% higher so far this year.Illustrating this trend, of the 16 Hapag-Lloyd container ships (dubbed ‘Old Ladies’) that the company announced it was planning to dispose earlier this year, only five were actually sold for scrap. The remaining 11 vessels were acquired for further trading. This included nine units aged 20 years or more, reflecting the continued market demand for older tonnage.
Further to statements in May regarding the signing of an Memorandum Of Understanding for uranium exploration of CanAlaska Uranium’s Cree East project in conjunction with a Korean Consortium led by Hanwha Corp, CanAlaska has announced further details on the progress of the proposed transaction. Preliminary agreement has been reached between Hanwha and CanAlaska towards the overall contribution of C$19 million by the Korean consortium to effect an earn-in of a 50% ownership interest in the Cree East project over a four-year period. Both the structure of the proposed transaction and the composition of the Korean consortium are presently being finalized. Cree East is located in the southeast of the Athabasca basin, approximately 25 km west of the Key Lake uranium mine, and 20 km south west of the newly announced Millenium uranium deposit of Cameco. The project was staked by CanAlaska in 2004, and covers 559 km2 of the Wollaston-Mudjatik domain rocks. Historical drilling tested alteration zones and targets, generally to the south and east of the property, and current exploration by other companies is revisiting these areas. The depth to the unconformity varies from 100 m in the south to an inferred 800 m in the north. From geophysical evidence and past drilling, there appears to be a number of step structures at the unconformity boundary and in the basement. CanAlaska carried out airborne surveys across the property area in 2005 and determined priority targets. In 2006, detailed collection of over 2,000 surface rock samples and over 400 lake sediment samples by CanAlaska’s field crews defined three large areas of dravite and clay alteration on surface, and localised boulder samples containing anomalous uranium (highest at 13.1 ppm uranium). It is thought that the dravite and clay alteration, coupled with the anomalous uranium in the lakes and boulders in this vicinity indicates the proximity of unconformity and basement style uranium mineralization. The shallow depth to basement also allows close definition of conductive zones and geological structures, using the airborne survey data. Initial ground geophysical data from the first lines of IP-Resistivity surveys have also provided the Company with evidence of strong alteration in the sandstone horizons overlying these basement conductors.