Energy policy — nuclear: Energy Fuels is aggressively buying up uranium properties in the Uravan Mineral Belt


From The Telluride Daily Planet (Matthew Beaudin):

The newly purchased Crain Lease is located on approximately 640-acres in San Juan County, Utah, and is near the historic Calliham and Sage Mines, which are properties already controlled by Energy Fuels. It cost the company about $520,000.

Its deposit is historically rich, according to Energy Fuels, and it sits in the Uravan Mineral Belt, one of the richest deposits of uranium and associated elements, in the country. The company recently announced it had also bought two other properties, the Energy Queen and Whirlwind, and has spent “millions” buying up mineral leases.

According to Energy Fuels, it costs about $250,000 and 18 months to permit a new uranium mine, outside of land and mineral right costs…

At the mill, [Curtis Moore, an Energy Fuels spokesperson] said jobs will pay anywhere from $45,000 to $75,000 a year, with benefits. At the mines, those jobs are likely to pay $90,000 to six figures, he said. It’s estimated by the company that the mill would create 85 jobs at its full capacity and spawn 200 additional jobs in the area, from trucking to restaurants. The life of the mill is pegged at 40 years, or, in other words, a generation.

Hilary White, the executive director of Sheep Mountain Alliance, said the company was mining — for investors.

“Energy Fuels needs at least $150 million to build the Piñon Ridge Mill and they do not have all the state and federal permits or the water to start construction or operation of the proposed mill,” she wrote in an email.

“The price of uranium has tumbled since the DOE released stockpiles of ore and the unfortunate disaster in Japan. They are in need of cash just to continue day-to-day operations. It is not surprising that we continue to see these press releases from the company mainly aimed at investors … Even if the mill were built today, it would most likely be seeking radioactive waste to process as the processing of ore at today’s prices is not economically viable. These are the realities that they do not mention in the press release.”

More nuclear coverage here and here.

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