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Australian uranium company Paladin Energy has left such a mess in Namibia and Malawi

Who cleans up the mess when an Australian uranium mining company leaves Africa?Jim Green, 18 June 2018, The Ecologist   www.theecologist.org/2018/jun/18/who-cleans-mess-when-australian-uranium-mining-company-leaves-africa

Australian mining companies have a poor track record operating in Africa. Australian uranium company Paladin Energy has now put two of its mines into ‘care-and-maintenance’ and bankruptcy looms. But who cleans up the company’s mess in Namibia and Malawi, asks JIM GREEN

Many Australian mining projects in Africa are outposts of good governance – this is what Julie Bishop, the country’s Foreign Minister, told the Africa Down Under mining conference in Western Australia in September 2017. The Australian government “encourages the people of Africa to see us as an open-cut mine for lessons-learned, for skills, for innovation and, I would like to think, inspiration,” the minister said.

But such claims sit uneasily with the highly critical findings arising from a detailed investigation by the International Consortium of Independent Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ noted in a 2015 report that since 2004, more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in off-site skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in Africa.

The ICIJ report further stated: “Multiple Australian mining companies are accused of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa, according to legal filings and community petitions gathered from South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Ghana.”

Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi provides a case study of the problems with Australian mining companies in Africa. Western Australia-based Paladin exploited Malawi’s poverty to secure numerous reductions and exemptions from payments normally required by foreign investors.

United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter noted in a 2013 report that “revenue losses from special incentives given to Australian mining company Paladin Energy, which manages the Kayelekera uranium mine, are estimated to amount to at least US$205 million (MWK 67 billion) and could be up to US$281 million (MWK 92 billion) over the 13-year lifespan of the mine.”

Paladin’s environmental and social record has also been the source of ongoing controversy and the subject of numerous critical reports

Standards at Kayelekera fall a long way short of Australian standards ‒ and efforts to force Australian mining companies to meet Australian standards when operating abroad have been strongly resisted. The Kayelekera project would not be approved in Australia due to major flaws in the assessment and design proposals, independent consultants concluded.

Care-and-maintenance

Kayelekera was put into care-and-maintenance in May 2014, another victim of the uranium industry’s post-Fukushima meltdown. And just last month, Paladin announced that its only other operating mine ‒ the Langer Heinrich mine (LHM) in Namibia ‒ will be put into care-and-maintenance.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the decision to mothball LHM is that Paladin claims it is the lowest cost open-pit uranium mine in the world. Moreover, the company wasn’t even paying to mine ore ‒ mining ceased in November 2016 and since then ore stockpiles have been processed. Thus a low-cost mine can’t even turn a profit processing mined stockpiles.

The cost of production was US$23.11 / lb uranium oxide in December 2017, and the average realised sale price in the second half of 2017 was $21.82.

Anticipating the decision to mothball LHM, Paladin Energy CEO Alex Molyneux said in late-April: “The uranium market has failed to recover since the Fukushima incident in 2011, with the average spot price so far in 2018 the lowest in 15 years. It’s deeply distressing to have to consider suspending operations at LHM because of the consequences for our employees, and the broader community. However, as there has yet to be a sustainable recovery in the uranium market, and with the aim of preserving maximum long-term value for all stakeholders, it is clearly prudent to consider these difficult actions.”

Paladin hopes to resume mining at LHM and Kayelekera following “normalization” of the uranium market, which it anticipates in the next few years. But with no operating mines, Paladin may not survive for long enough to witness a market upswing.

Paladin was placed into the hands of administrators in July 2017 as it was unable to pay French utility EDF a US$277 million debt.

In January 2018, Paladin’s administrator KPMG noted that an Independent Expert’s Report found that the company’s net debt materially exceeds the value of its assets, its shares have nil value, and if Paladin was placed into liquidation there would be no return to shareholders.

The company was restructured, with Deutsche Bank now the largest shareholder, and relisted on the Australian Securities Exchange in February 2018.

Perhaps LHM will be sold for a song, either before or after Paladin goes bankrupt. A subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has held a 25 percent stake in LHM since January 2014. Last year, the CNNC subsidiary considered exercising its contractual right to buy Paladin’s 75 percent stake in LHM, but chose not to exercise that right following an independent valuation of US$162 million for Paladin’s stake.

Mine-site rehabilitation 

Paladin hopes to resume mining following “normalization” of the uranium market ‒ but low prices could be the new normal. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd said in May 2014 that the industry is set for “a long period of relatively low prices”. Prices were far higher in 2014 than over the past twelve months. Paladin’s CEO Alexander Molyneux said that “it has never been a worse time for uranium miners” in 2016 and the situation has worsened since then for the industry ‒ prices have fallen further still.

Sooner or later ‒ probably sooner ‒ both the LHM and Kayelekera mine-sites will need to be rehabilitated. Yet it is extremely doubtful whether Paladin has set aside adequate funds for rehabilitation. Paladin’s 2017 Annual Report lists a ‘rehabilitation provision‘ of US$86.93 million to cover both LHM and Kayelekera.

One problem is that the funds might not be available for rehabilitation if Paladin goes bankrupt. A second problem is that even if the funds are available, they are unlikely to be sufficient.

For comparison, Energy Resources of Australia’s provision for rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine in Australia ‒ also an open-pit uranium mine, like LHM and Kayelekera ‒ is US$403 million (A$526 million). That figure is additional to US$346 million (A$452 million) already spent on water and rehabilitation activities since 2012 ‒ thus total rehabilitation costs could amount to US$749 million (A$978 million) … and the current cost estimates could easily increase as they have in the past.

Rehabilitation of LHM and Kayelekera could be cheaper than rehabilitation of Ranger for several reasons, such as the relative size of the mine-sites. However it stretches credulity to believe that the cost of rehabilitating both LHM and Kayelekera would be an order of magnitude lower than the cost of rehabilitating one mine in Australia.

Paladin was required to lodge a US$10 million Environmental Performance Bond with Malawian banks and presumably that money can be tapped to rehabilitate Kayelekera. But US$10 million won’t scratch the surface. According to a Malawian NGO, the Kayelekera rehabilitation cost is estimated at US$100 million.

Paladin has ignored repeated requests to provide information on the estimated cost of rehabilitating Kayelekera (and also ignored an invitation to comment on a draft of this article), but the figure will be multiples of the US$10 million bond and it is extremely unlikely that Paladin’s provision of US$86.93 million for the rehabilitation of both LHM and Kayelekera is adequate.

If Paladin goes bankrupt, it seems likely that most of the costs associated with the rehabilitation of LHM and Kayelekera will be borne by the Namibian and Malawian governments (with a small fraction of the cost for Kayelekera coming from the bond) ‒ or the mine-sites will not be rehabilitated at all.

Even if Paladin is able to honour its US$86.93 million provision, additional costs necessary for rehabilitation will likely come from the Malawian and Namibian governments, or rehabilitation will be sub-standard.

Problems most acute for Kayelekera

The problem of inadequate provisioning for rehabilitation is most acute for Kayelekera ‒ it is a smaller deposit than LHM and more expensive to mine (Paladin has said that a uranium price of about US$75 per pound would be required for Kayelekera to become economically viable ‒well over twice the current long-term contract price). Thus the prospects for a restart of Kayelekera (and the accumulation of funds for rehabilitation) are especially grim.

Is it reasonable for Australia, a relatively wealthy country, to leave it to the overstretched, under-resourced government of an impoverished nation to clean up the mess left behind by an Australian mining company? Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to a 2013 UN report, more than half of the population live below the poverty line.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should intervene to sort out the situation at Kayelekera and to prevent a repetition of this looming fiasco. The conservative Minister’s eyes might glaze over in response to a moral argument about the importance of Australia being a good global citizen. But there is also a hard-headed commercial argument for intervention to ensure that the Kayelekera mine-site is rehabilitated.

It does Australian companies investing in mining ventures abroad no good whatsoever to leave Kayelekera unrehabilitated, a permanent reminder of the untrustworthiness and unfulfilled promises of an Australian miner and the indifference of the Australian government.

Australia is set to become the biggest international miner on the African continent according to the Australia-Africa Minerals & Energy Group. But Australian companies can’t expect to be welcomed if problems such as Kayelekera remain unresolved.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where a version of this article was originally published. He is co-author of a new report titled ‘Undermining Africa: Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi’.

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June 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Malawi, Namibia, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Thousands protest against uranium mine in Spain

 Mining.com 10 June 18 Valentina Ruiz Leotaud Spanish media are reporting that between 3,000 and 5,000 people hailing from different cities in Spain, as well as from Portugal and France, rallied this weekend in Salamanca to express their rejection to a uranium mine being built in the Retortillo municipality.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Spain, Uranium | Leave a comment

Tough times for uranium company Cameco – and no improvement in sight

Motley Fool 28th May 2018 , It has been a tough few years for one-time high-flying uranium miner Cameco Corp.. Over the last five years, its value has plummeted by 38% after nuclear power fell into disfavour after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, which caused the price of uranium to collapse.

Since then, uranium has remained caught in a protracted slump, despite claims by industry insiders and analysts that it is poised to rebound because of a combination of growing demand and emerging supply constraints. Nonetheless, despite these claims, there has been no sign of a sustained rally, and an upturn in the fortunes of the radioactive metal may never occur.

This is because the outlook for uranium is not as bright as claimed, and there is every indication that nuclear power will remain in disfavour. That will continue to weight on Cameco’s market value.
https://www.fool.ca/2018/05/28/despite-an-improved-1st-quarter-2018-the-outlook-for-cameco-corp-remains-poor/

June 1, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, Uranium | Leave a comment

Troubled Australian uranium company Paladin mothballs Langer Heinrich uranium mine, in Namibia

Paladin mothballs Namibia uranium mine   Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly 25TH MAY 2018  BY: ESMARIE SWANEPOEL  CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: AUSTRALASIA   PERTH (miningweekly.com) 27 May 18 – Dual-listed  Paladin Energy on Friday confirmed that its Langer Heinrich uranium mine, in Namibia, was being placed under care and maintenance, but said that the low-cost openpit operation would be one of the first to resume production when the uranium market normalised.

Paladin in April said that it was unlikely to resume physical mining activities at the mine despite the medium-grade ore stockpile currently feeding the processing plant set to be exhausted before mid-2019.

The ASX and TSX-listed company on Friday said that it had received consent from all the relevant stakeholders to place the operation under care and maintenance, and had now stopped presenting ore to the plant.

There would be a run-down phase of up to three months where various stages of the plant would be progressively suspended and cleaned, and during this time, there would be some continued production of finished uranium.

Paladin noted that once the run-down phase was complete, operations would have been completely suspended and Langer Heinrich would be under care and maintenance. ……http://www.miningweekly.com/article/paladin-mothballs-namibia-uranium-mine-2018-05-25

 

May 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Namibia, Uranium | Leave a comment

Grand Canyon – too important, too majestic, to be ruined by uranium mining

Renewed uranium mining is an unconscionable threat to the Grand Canyon   Chicago Sun Times, Thomas Frisbie, 05/26/2018,  @thomasfrisbie | email

The spectacular and majestic Grand Canyon, eons in the making, needs our help. Some Republican members of Congress want President Donald Trump to overturn a ban on new uranium mining nearby, along with other conservation measures. We need to urge Congress to protect this national jewel.

Some six million people arrive each year to view the vast, multi-hued and intricate canyon, though most don’t venture far from the rim. For them, it’s an inspiring and breath-taking sight. But hardy trekkers who explore remote trails might see something else: signs warning them they are entering an area of the canyon tainted by radioactivity spewed years ago from uranium mines. National Geographic reports uranium leaching from old mines has rendered 15 springs and five wells inside the canyon unsafe to drink. We don’t need more of that.

Uranium pollution is no way to treat an immense and ancient panorama of stunningly varied rock that has been called one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Recently, I had an opportunity to backpack with intrepid family members from the rim to the bottom and camp along Bright Angel Creek, near where it flows into the Colorado River. The ever-changing vista along the rocky trails was magnificent. Unafraid mule deer browsed just a few feet from us. A rare condor flew overhead. Bold rock squirrels waited for a chance to gnaw and rummage through any backpacks absent-mindedly left on the ground.

….. We now have a president who last year ordered federal agencies to review anything that could interfere with domestic energy production. In response, the Forest Service in November recommended reopening land near the Grand Canyon for uranium mining. In March, groups representing the mining industry asked the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the ban on new uranium mining on public land bordering the Grand Canyon National Park.

Uranium mining is extremely risky for the environment. Mining releases radioactive dust into the air and contaminates the land and water with radioactive and toxic substances.

“Uranium mining has left a toxic trail across the West — including at the Grand
Canyon itself,” the environmental group Environment America wrote in its April report update, “Grand Canyon at Risk: Uranium Mining Threatens a National Treasure.”

The waste rock and dirt left behind can remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years and also contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic that can contaminate the surrounding environment and make the mines themselves permanently hazardous, the report says.

Steve Blackledge, Environment America’s conservation program director, says, “Some places are too majestic, too important to ruin. At a time of energy abundance and the remarkable growth of clean renewables, messing with the Grand Canyon to turn on a few more light bulbs is beyond absurd.”……https://chicago.suntimes.com/working/renewed-uranium-mining-is-an-unconscionable-threat-to-the-grand-canyon/

May 28, 2018 Posted by | environment, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium

Times 12th May 2018 Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium, prompting fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East after President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal. Riyadh says it wants to make nuclear fuel to diversify its energy sources but recent public warnings from Saudi leaders about acquiring a nuclear bomb have raised doubts about their commitment to non-proliferation as the Iran nuclear agreement teeters.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned during a trip to the US in March that if Iran developed a nuclear bomb his country would “follow suit as soon as possible”. That warning was repeated by his foreign minister this
week after Mr Trump withdrew from the deal with Iran and its leaders threatened to resume enrichment. Saudi Arabia would “do whatever it takes to protect our people,” Adel al-Jub eir told CNN. “We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/saudis-bid-to-match-iran-by-enriching-uranium-vrj7q9rms

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, Uranium | Leave a comment

The uses of enriched uranium

Times 12th May 2018 Uranium is mined and then processed as nuclear fuel for military or civilian purposes. The ore is ground up and chemically treated to yield “yellowcake”, a coarse powder of uranium oxide. Converted into purified fuel rods, it can be used in pressurised heavy water reactors.

For other uses, the uranium oxide is converted into uranium hexafluoride gas so that it can be enriched. The enrichment process increases the percentage of a particular isotope, uranium-235, which makes up 0.7 per cent of natural uranium. The rest is uranium-238. The commonest method of enrichment is isotope separation by gas centrifuge. Centrifuges rotate at high speed, separating the isotopes by weight and sending the heavier uranium-238 to the outside of the cylinder while the lighter 235 collects at the centre.

The slightly enriched stream is extracted and fed into the next centrifuge, where the process is repeated, enriching it further. Most nuclear power reactors use uranium that has been enriched to a composition of between 3 and 5 per cent uranium-235.  Anything up to 20 per cent uranium-235 is called low-enriched uranium. Uranium enriched to between 12 and 19.75 per cent is used in the production of medical isotopes in research reactors.

Uranium enriched above 20 per cent is called highly enriched uranium, while 20 per cent is the lowest theoretical threshold for weapons-grade uranium. Most weapons use uranium that is 90 per cent enriched. The first stages
require more centrifuges due to the volume of uranium. The process gets easier as purity increases, making the leap from low to high-enrichment easier than the leap from natural uranium to low-enriched. Once the 20 per cent threshold is breached, weapons grade is within reach.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/iran-saudi-arabia-uranium-from-ore-to-weapons-grade-mf0jdqr86

May 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium market looking crook – again!

Uranium Loses Power as U.S. Miners Seek Protection, WSJ By Rhiannon Hoyle, 
 Fears that uranium will be the next commodity swept up in the U.S.’s trade offensive have the market grinding to a halt.

The price of U3O8, a common uranium compound used mainly in nuclear-power generation, has already sunk 12% this year to roughly $21 a pound—near its 12-year low of $18, struck in 2016—according to the Ux Consulting Co…..   (subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/uranium-loses-power-as-u-s-miners-seek-protection-1525424829

May 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Pretty much permanent now- the slump in the uranium industry

Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the water, Chain Reaction magazine, Dr Jim Green, April 2018

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss. Many companies have been loathe to close operating mines, or to put them into care-and-maintenance, even if the only other option is operating at a loss. They have been playing chicken, hoping that other companies and mines will fold first and that the resultant loss of production will drive up prices. “We have to recognise that we over-produce, and we are responsible for this fall in the price,” said Areva executive Jacques Peythieu in April 2017.

Current prices would need to more than double to encourage new mines ‒ a long-term contract price of about US$70–$80 is typically cited as being required to encourage the development of new mines.

The patterns outlined above were repeated in 2017. It was another miserable year for the uranium industry. A great year for those of us living in uranium producing countries who don’t want to see new mines open and who look forward to the closure of existing mines. And a great year for the nuclear power industry ‒ in the narrow sense that the plentiful availability of cheap uranium allows the industry to focus on other problems.

Cut-backs announced 

The patterns that have prevailed over the past five years or so might be changed by decisions taken by Cameco and Kazatomprom (Kazakhstan) in late 2017 to significantly reduce production. Canada closed McArthur River in Canada in January and plans to keep it closed for around 10 months ‒ it had been producing more uranium than any other mine in the world. Kazakhstan has been producing almost 40% of world supply in recent years and plans to reduce production by 20% from 2018‒2020.

Previous cut-backs in Canada and Kazakhstan have had little or no effect, and so far the late-2017 announcements have had no effect. But the cut-backs are significant and their impact might yet be felt.

A late-2017 report by Cantor Fitzgerald equity research argued that the decisions by Cameco and Kazatomprom could result in a “step change” for uranium prices. But Warwick Grigor from Far East Capital was downbeat about Cameco’s announcement. “I don’t see this as a turnaround for the uranium price; at best they will stay where they are, but it doesn’t signal a boom in price,” he said in November 2017.

BHP marketing vice-president Vicky Binns said in December 2017 that uranium markets would remain oversupplied for close to a decade, with downward pressure remaining on uranium prices despite Cameco’s production cuts. She said that demand for uranium could outstrip supply by the late 2020s but that could change if developed nations close their nuclear reactors earlier than expected, or if renewables take a larger than expected market share.

Equally downbeat comments have been made by other industry insiders and analysts in recent years. Former Paladin Energy chief executive John Borshoff said in 2013 that the uranium industry “is definitely in crisis” and “is showing all the symptoms of a mid-term paralysis”. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd in May 2014 predicted “a long period of relatively low prices”. Nick Carter from Ux Consulting said in April 2016 that he did not see a supply deficit in the market until “the late 2020s”.

Perhaps a uranium price increase is on the way but it will do little to salvage Australia’s uranium industry. Apart from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in SA, the only other operating uranium mine in Australia is Beverley Four Mile in SA. At Ranger in the NT, mining has ceased, stockpiles of ore are being processed, and ERA is planning a $500 million project to decommission and rehabilitate the mine site.

And with the cost of a single power reactor climbing to as much as $20 billion, proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia seem more and more quixotic and are now largely limited to the far right ‒ in particular, Australians Conservatives’ luminary Senator Cory Bernardi and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Even Dr Ziggy Switkowski ‒ who used to be nuclear power’s head cheerleader in Australia and was appointed to lead the Howard government’s review of nuclear power ‒ recently said that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”. He said nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables and the levelised cost of electricity is rapidly diverging in favour of renewables.  https://www.foe.org.au/uranium_industry_slumps

Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter produced by the World Information Service on Energy and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.

Published in Chain Reaction #132, April 2018. National magazine of Friends of the Earth Australia. www.foe.org.au/chain_reaction_132

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium company Paladin looks to closing its loss-making Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Paladin Energy has flagged the potential closure of its flagship Langer Heinrich uranium mine, just two months after it returned to the Australian Stock Exchange after an $800 million debt re­structuring. … (subscribers only)
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/paladin-may-shut-lossmaking-langer-heinrich-uranium-mine/news-story/53c1dda5b5b01ff36771af7b683aaafc

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Who REALLY benefits from uranium mining in Grand Canyon country?

Uranium in Canyon Country: Part 2 of 2: Who benefits from uranium mining? Grand Canyon News, By Erin Ford , 27 Mar 18,   GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — There are currently 831 mining claims in the roughly 1 million acres withdrawn by former Interior Secretary in 2012, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

There may be a healthy profit to be made on the claims, as legal action by mining industry groups and a recommended review of the ban by the Forest Service seems to indicate. But who is making the profit?

The BLM’s report indicates that only about 2 percent of the 831 mining claims are held by U.S.-based companies – those belong to Liberty Star Uranium and Metals in Tucson, Arizona. The rest, discounting privately-held claims (5 percent), belong to foreign-based companies. Of the remaining 93 percent, companies based out of Canada hold 712 claims (86 percent) and a UK-based Vane Minerals holds 60 claims (7 percent).

Uranium production in the U.S. has not been a profitable enterprise since the bottom fell out of the uranium market in the early 1990s. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are currently 61 nuclear-based power plants in the U.S. — no new plants have been commissioned since the near-catastrophic incident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island facility in 1979. The end of the Cold War in 1991 meant that proliferation of nuclear weapons was suspended, a pact that remains largely in place. As a result, demand for uranium fell sharply, prices bottomed out and uranium extraction became a pricey enterprise with low return on investment.

………Where’s the profit?

In a petition filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), Energy Fuels Inc., a Canadian company with a 12 percent stake in uranium mining claims around Grand Canyon, asserts that the commercial uranium stockpile was 6 percent higher than 2015 levels.

If demand is lower and supplies are higher, how do these companies plan to profit off increased mining activity?

The answer may lie in three things: President Donald Trump’s energy dominance agenda, potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling and Energy Fuels’ petition to the DOC……….

Who benefits?

Energy Fuels, Inc. recently filed a petition with the DOC for relief under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. In simplest terms, the company is asking the administration to issue a buy American requirement by limiting uranium imports as a threat to national security. The premise is the same as the tariffs to be potentially imposed on steel and aluminum imports — to revive a U.S.-based industry by steeply taxing competitors or eliminating them altogether.

But Reimondo points out that uranium mining isn’t a strong economic driver in northern Arizona, and even if it was, the U.S. doesn’t reap any rewards. The government, which receives royalty payments from industries that extract minerals or other commodities from federal lands, doesn’t receive royalties from uranium mining.

Comparatively, the tourism and travel economy pumps more than 900 million into the region each year, and supports nearly 20,000 jobs, according to a joint 2011 report by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Forest Service and BLM. The report also estimates that uranium mining could support only about 650 local jobs — and those jobs aren’t permanent. Once a mine is depleted, on-site jobs will evaporate. Energy Fuels says its Canyon mine, which is currently permitted to operate near Red Butte about six miles from the South Rim, is expected to employ about 60 people at peak production.

“Mining does not drive our economy here,” said Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott in an interview. “Access to public lands, that’s what is our important economic driver here.” https://www.grandcanyonnews.com/news/2018/mar/27/uranium-canyon-country-part-2-2-who-benefits-urani/

 

March 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. mining industry files petitions to overturn prohibition on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

Guardian 10th March 2018, The US mining industry has asked the supreme court to overturn an Obama-era
rule prohibiting the mining of uranium on public lands adjacent to the
Grand Canyon. The National Mining Association (NMA) and the American
Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) filed petitions on Friday asking
the court to reverse the 2012 ban on new uranium mining claims on more than
1 million acres of public land surrounding Grand Canyon national park.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/10/grand-canyon-uranium-mining-ban-supreme-court

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Legal, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

INTERVIEW:  Niger: “In Arlit, people drink water contaminated by radioactivity”

 This fear is also present in
 The word Areva is scary. It’s a taboo subject unless it’s to magnify the business. People want to talk, but like the Nigerian government, they feel helpless against this multinational. When I was doing my scouting, many people told me that I was putting myself in danger. Here, when you talk about Areva, it’s like a God, you should not call your name out loud.

In the documentary, you show this radioactive dust, poisoned water, houses built with land mines, contaminated food, livestock dying .

Houses must even be destroyed because the clay walls contain radioactivity.

The uranium deposits exploited by Orano (formerly Areva) are poisoning the population, explains Amina Weira, author of a documentary on the subject.

Interview by Matteo Maillard (Dakar, correspondence) http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2018/02/26/niger-a-arlit-les-gens-boivent-de-l-eau-contaminee-par-la-radioactivite_5262875_3212.html  THE WORLD  27.02.2018

It was a Tuareg encampment swept by bursts of Saharan simoun. Today it is a city that bears the mark of its development as its decadence. In Arlit, in northern Niger, uranium has been a source of hope since the French group Areva (renamed Orano in January) began mining the deposits in the 1970s.

Many nomads and workers came to this arid region. the workers’ city which was then called “the second Paris”. None knew the invisible danger of radioactivity.

Forty years later, Niger became the second largest supplier of uranium to Areva, but the mining of Cominak and Somair contaminated the population in its daily activities. It is in the sanded streets of her childhood that Amina Weira, a 29-year-old Nigerian filmmaker, posed her camera in front of the elders who lived through the early days of mining. In this film entitled La Rage dans le vent, presented in Dakar as part of the Films Femmes Afrique festival, she shows the invisible threat hanging over Arlit. Interview.

In your movie, the main protagonist is your father. You visit your relatives and tell the city of your childhood. Why did you choose this intimate setting?

 Amina Weira:   Because mine has always been part of our lives. My father worked there as an electrician. When my sisters and I saw him go to work, we imagined he was going to an office. The mine was visible from a distance, until in 2010 we visited his place of work and realized that he was going down into this big hole. I decided to make a film about it. I quickly understood, after research, that behind this activity was hiding something else less visible: irradiation. So I directed my film on the health aspect.

How did you realize the impact of the mine on the health of the inhabitants? 

When I was little already, the mother of one of my classmates had health problems every time she came to Arlit. It was necessary to evacuate it to Niamey, more than a thousand kilometers, to cure it. I did not understand why she could not live here. Later, when I wanted to do the film, I asked scientists and doctors about the dangers of mining. In Arlit, there are many health problems. Respiratory difficulties, cancers, women who give birth to poorly trained children … Small, we saw all that, but we did not make the link. People used to say, as often in Africa, “it’s his destiny, it’s God who gave him a child like that”. It is mostly mine retirees who are affected. Many die of paralysis and strange diseases.

 In the documentary, you show this radioactive dust, poisoned water, houses built with land mines, contaminated food, livestock dying …

I wanted to bring out everyday life, show all the activities of the city. We see the manufacture of pots: people recover the scrap metal from the mine, melt it and transform it into kitchen utensils that they sell to the population or export to Nigeria. They do not measure the danger of this activity. When they melt iron, the radioactivity is released. This is where Areva must intervene, preventing the population from recovering this contaminated scrap metal.

Houses must even be destroyed because the clay walls contain radioactivity.

 It should be understood that in the beginning, Arlit was a camp, a city of miners, then people came to settle, hoping to take advantage of this activity. Today, there are nearly 150,000 inhabitants, including about 4,000 mine workers. Areva created this city from scratch. The workers had to have all the conditions to stay. They had children, it took schools. They were sick, it took hospitals. To build, the inhabitants used the contaminated clay around them. Some neighborhoods are within 200 meters of the mine. The standards are not respected. And sandstorms propagate radioactivity in the city.

We also see women whose livestock die inexplicably.

When we drink Arlit’s water, we feel that it is not quite drinkable, that it is different from the rest of the country. The women talk about Areva employees who only drink mineral water, when they can not afford it. One of the mines is below the water table. Some are therefore deliver water from neighboring regions. A water tower has just been built, but it is not enough to supply the entire city.

 You do not present your film as an investigation, there are no scientists or organizations that support your remarks. Why ?

 I did not want to dwell on the numbers, but to give the floor to the people. Too often, we give the floor to the leaders of Areva. But many organizations have researched and analyzed radioactivity in the region, such as the Criirad [Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity], Greenpeace, WHO [World Health Organization]. Radioactivity levels are higher than the rest of the country.

What do you say to Areva?

 That they have monopolized our wealth without warning the workers of the risks incurred. They have relied on the ignorance of the people to make profit. The workers live in a city where they pay neither water nor electricity nor rent. There is a certain luxury that keeps them in silence, because it is difficult to spit in the soup. Niger has a very high unemployment rate. An unemployed youth is not going to think twice about offering these benefits. He gets used to this luxury and even if he realizes the harmful effects on his health, he will not say anything for fear of losing his job.

 Have you been pressured by Areva during filming?

No, not at all, it is rather the Nigerian authorities who wanted to block me. I had obtained filming authorizations from the National Film Center and Arlit Town Hall. We were arrested twice, but since I was in good standing, they left me alone. The title of the movie, Anger in the Wind, helped me a lot. They thought I was making a film about the wind, the desert, without much knowledge of the synopsis.
 
Why was the film censored in Niger?
By fear. When I propose the film to movie theater operators, they say they do not want any problems. They are afraid that my producers, who are part of the alternative environment, are perceived as opponents. I broadcast my film in several French institutes in Africa. That of Niamey also wanted to disseminate it, but it has not received the approval of the Embassy of France.

 This fear is also present in the population?

 The word Areva is scary. It’s a taboo subject unless it’s to magnify the business. People want to talk, but like the Nigerian government, they feel helpless against this multinational. When I was doing my scouting, many people told me that I was putting myself in danger. Here, when you talk about Areva, it’s like a God, you should not call your name out loud.

 Has the film been successful abroad?
Yes, it has been around the world since 2016 and has won a dozen awards. After Brazil and the United States, I was invited to Japan. I did not think one day make a movie that would be seen until there. It’s a pride, I tell myself that my work has served something. But I made this film for my country first and I hope that someday it can be seen there.

Towards the end of the film, a group of young Nigerians said, “We have richness in our basement, but all we are left with is radioactivity. Is it a shared feeling?
 
These young people are part of an association whose slogan is “the post-mine”. They say that uranium is a natural resource that will run out one day or another. In Arlit, which exists only by uranium, if this resource disappears or if Areva decides to no longer exploit it, what will become of it? Will the city continue to exist? If Areva leaves today, the only legacy left to them is this radioactive waste. This “post-mine” must be planned now. You have to prepare for that.

February 28, 2018 Posted by | health, Niger, secrets,lies and civil liberties, Uranium | Leave a comment

Navajo, Havasupai resist uranium mining

 By Williams-Grand Canyon News , 27 Feb 18, SUPAI, Ariz. – Vice President Jonathan Nez joined Arizona State Rep. Eric Descheenie and six other runners on a run to the village of Supai Feb. 14 to collect handwritten letters from the students of Havasupai Elementary School.

The letters are addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump in response to speculation that he plans to lift a 20-year ban on uranium mining in the greater Grand Canyon region, which was established by the Obama administration in 2012.

“We came to support the efforts of Representative Eric Descheenie and the Havasupai tribe to elevate the voice of the Havasupai youth.” Vice President Jonathan Nez said. “Their voice needs to be heard, especially on issues that impact their health and way of life.”

“Uranium has killed fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers across the Navajo Nation. It has contaminated the water supply in numerous areas poisoning plants, animals and people. For this reason, mining and transportation of uranium are banned on Diné Bikéyah, said Vice President Nez.

At an assembly held at the school Rep. Descheenie said, “We are going to make sure your words are received and read by the president of the United States so when he makes decisions that impact your lives he does so with you in mind. You have a powerful voice and it must be heard.”

Rep. Eric Descheenie and Havasupai Chairwoman Carletta Tilousi are scheduled to hand-deliver the letters to the White House Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. …….. https://www.grandcanyonnews.com/news/2018/feb/27/navajo-havasupai-resist-uranium-mining/

 

 

 

February 27, 2018 Posted by | indigenous issues, opposition to nuclear, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Yet another loss for uranium mining company Cameco

Uranium miner Cameco Corp. reports $62-million Q4 loss, revenue down,  SASKATOON  11 Feb 18, — Cameco Corp. lost $62 million in its latest quarter, an improvement from the year-earlier loss of $144 million…… Revenue in what was its fourth-quarter totalled $809 million compared with $887 million in the year-earlier quarterhttp://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/uranium-miner-cameco-corp-reports-62-million-q4-loss-revenue-down

February 12, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, Uranium | Leave a comment