September 25, 2012

Condolence As Black Range Minerals Reports Passing Of CEO Tony Simpson

Published on Tuesday September 25 2012 (AEST)

Black Range Minerals (ASX: BLR) has advised with deep regret that is its managing director Tony Simpson has passed away late on 21 September 2012. 
 “On behalf of my fellow directors, our staff, and all the members of our project team I extend our deepest sympathies to Tony’s family,” chairman Alan Scott said. “On behalf of my fellow directors, our staff, and all the members of our project team I extend our deepest sympathies to Tony’s family,” chairman Alan Scott said. 

Tony  Simpson joined Black Range in December 2011 and brought a huge amount of drive and energy to the company and assembled a first class, experienced team of professionals to advance the company’s projects through the development phase. 

Scott said he always believed that people made projects happen and that a strong team was vital. Black Range has appointed chief financial officer Mike Drew as the interim chief executive officer and will make an announcement regarding ongoing management in the coming days. 

Black Range Minerals (ASX:BLR) is developing the Hansen/Taylor uranium project in Colorado which has a JORC resource of approximately 90.1mlbs U308, production is targeted for 2016.


September 19, 2012

Uranium Recovery Postponed as Price Drops to 2-Year Low

Published on Wednesday September 19 2012 (AEST)  

Uranium’s recovery from the Fukushima nuclear accident may take one or two years longer than analysts estimated as stockpiles in Japan and Germany keep prices low and cause mining companies to defer new development. 

The price of uranium for immediate delivery declined to $47 a pound as of Sept. 17, its lowest in two years, according to Ux Consulting, a Roswell, Georgia-based uranium information provider. BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Paladin Energy Ltd. (PDN) have slowed or deferred development this year of some projects to produce the raw material in nuclear reactor fuel. 

Japan temporarily shut all of its nuclear reactors after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant. That nation’s return to nuclear power and demand for electricity in China, which is building 25 reactors, was supposed to help drive prices for the fuel back up in 2015, said Thomas Neff, a retired physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That date that may be pushed back a year or two.

“There was a wave of optimism the Japanese would come back on fast and that China would resume rapid development,” Neff, who now works as an energy industry researcher for the university’s Center for International Studies, said yesterday by phone from Jackson, Wyoming. “Day-to-day spot prices are reflecting the belief that the short-term outlook -- at least two to three years out -- is less certain than it was.” 

Japan will end the use of atomic power by the 2030s, the government said Sept. 14, and Germany’s government has also decided to phase out nuclear energy. China continues to review approvals for new reactors amid concerns about safety, Heenal Patel, a London-based energy analyst with Bloomberg Industries, said yesterday. 

Net Demand

“Japanese and German inventories and displaced supply would result in no net new demand until after 2015,” Neff said, citing a January study his group did. The new target for a return to uranium demand is 2016 or 2017, he said.
Not everyone expects the uranium price to languish.
“We retain strong conviction in starkly higher prices on compelling supply-demand fundamentals and the prices required to incentivize new supply,” David Sadowski, a Vancouver-based analyst at Raymond James Ltd., said in a Sept. 8 note to clients. 

Sadowski expects prices to average $60 a pound next year, $72 in 2014 and $75 in 2015, according to the note.
Prices this year have averaged $50.84 a pound. Uranium next year may average $64 a pound, the median estimate of four economists and analysts. Three analysts expect $70 in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

BHP, the world’s largest mining company, last month put on hold an expansion that would make its Olympic Dam project in Australia the biggest uranium mine. 

‘Economic Challenges’

Cameco Corp. (CCO), the world’s third-largest producer, said in July that its Kintyre uranium project in Australia would need a $67 uranium price to be economical. The company sold uranium for $42 a pound during the second quarter. 

“To fuel the more than 60 reactors currently under construction and the further growth we expect by 2021, production will have to come from new primary sources,” Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco said in a July 27 statement. “In today’s environment, those sources of production pose economic challenges, for us and other producers, similar to those we have identified at Kintyre.”
Paladin, an Australian company that mines uranium in Africa, is delaying a feasibility study on phase four of its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia, the company said on a conference call in May. 

A lack of investment in new mines may lead to a substantial increase in prices toward the end of the decade, said Dustin Garrow, Paladin’s executive general manager of marketing. 

“You’d have to see $85 uranium on a sustained basis to justify construction of new mines to meet supply requirements through 2020,” Garrow said yesterday by phone from Littleton, Colorado. 


September 8, 2012

Colorado Mining Towns Hope For Uranium Comeback

Published on Saturday September 08 2012 (AEST)  

URAVAN, Colorado USA . (AP) — Sharon Johannsen rolls along Highway 141, the sun baking the sandstone hills of southwestern Colorado's Paradox Valley. 

She pulls over at a wire fence: This was the baseball field; that was Main Street. All of it buried, with signs warning visitors about radiation. Uravan, where Johanssen grew up, was a company town of 800 people with a uranium mill along the San Miguel River. Johannsen's grandfather and father worked at the mill and a uranium mine nearby. The U.S. Vanadium Corp. built Uravan's housing, community pool and a recreation center, and Uravan helped supply the uranium used to develop the first U.S. atomic bombs that ended World War II. Uravan and other towns in the Four Corners region went on to supply uranium for nuclear weapons and the nuclear power industry. But the boom collapsed with the end of the Cold War and troubles with nuclear energy starting with Three Mile Island in 1979. Uravan's own troubles were worse: Some 12 million tons of radioactive tailings and other waste pushed radon levels well above safety standards. The town was declared a Superfund site, evacuated and razed in the 1980s. "They buried the Coca-Cola glasses out of the drug store," said Johannsen's sister, Jane Thompson. "They buried everything.

" Today, a Canadian company's plan to build the first conventional uranium mill licensed in the U.S. since 1979 has area residents hoping the region can once again become the uranium capital of the U.S. But there are obstacles, especially since uranium prices crashed after the 2011 meltdown at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant. The spot price of uranium was more than $135 a pound when Energy Fuels Inc. announced plans for the Pinon Ridge Mill in 2007. Today it's around $49 per pound, and CEO Steve Anthony said it won't make sense to build the $150 million mill until uranium hits $80 per pound. Nicolas Carter, senior vice president of uranium at nuclear consulting company UxC, said global demand for uranium is expected to increase over the next few years with new reactors in China, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. UxC projects there will be 516 operating reactors in the world by 2020, compared to 435 today. Energy Fuels is eying the domestic market, too. 

The nation's 104 commercial nuclear power reactors consume around 55 million pounds of uranium per year, but only 4 million pounds is domestically produced, Energy Fuels says. Russia supplies half of U.S. demand by shipping down-blended uranium from decommissioned nuclear weapons under a "Megatons to Megawatts" treaty that expires in 2013. Pinon Ridge would produce 850,000 pounds of uranium, in addition to steel-strengthening vanadium, per year. Energy Fuels owns the nation's only operating conventional uranium mill in Blanding, Utah, processing 1.5 million pounds a year. U.S. production is boosted by a handful of uranium in-situ-leach plants. Serguey Novikov, a spokesman for Rosatom, Russia's nuclear energy agency, said the U.S. Commerce Department will allow Russia to send 12 million pounds — 20 percent of U.S. demand — after the treaty expires. In Colorado, Energy Fuels promises 85 jobs at Pinon Ridge that would pay from $40,000 to $75,000 a year. It insists the mill will support 200 existing uranium and vanadium mining jobs in the region. Opponents filed a lawsuit that has forced the state health department to hold a new public hearing Oct. 15 on the operating license it issued the company — though the project is expected to clear that hurdle. 

The Telluride-based Sheep Mountain Alliance argued that air quality in the resort town 65 miles away could be threatened if anything goes wrong. "Dust and pollution don't know county lines," said Joan May, a San Miguel County commissioner. Others worry about the mining-dependent region's historical boom and bust cycles. Highway 141 is dotted with small towns hit hard by the collapse of mining — Redvale, Vancorum, Naturita. Still others worry Pinon Ridge will reduce local property values because of fears about uranium. Energy Fuels — and the state — insist tougher safety controls minimize any risk to mill workers and area residents. It plans to use plant and personal detectors to track airborne radioactivity, according to documents filed with the state health department. "We just live in a different world that controls all this much better," said Steve White, Montrose County's planning and development director, who helped issue a permit allowing agricultural land to be used for the mill. 

Over the decades, many area miners contracted lung disease from poor mine ventilation and from smoking. Despite that legacy, some residents insist that their fathers, brothers and grandfathers would have continued to mine and work the mills, even if they knew it would make them sick. The ethic of putting food on the table and a devotion to the industry trump worries over health, they said. "If it wasn't safe, we would be the first people to not want it here," said John Reams, who owns a construction company in nearby Naturita and was a miner in the area from 1977 to 1981. 

Richard Espinoza lived in Uravan from 1951 to 1964 while his father worked at the mill. The company ran everything from the gas station to the drug store to the Uranium Drive-in. "It's like if you ever played SimCity," Espinoza said, referring to the simulated video games where players build entire communities online. "It's almost like when you moved in, there was a welcoming committee. ... It's just the way people were." Elva Archer Ayers is a Redvale resident who has lived in the area since 1930. She said her family worked in the Uravan mill and nearby mines — some of them during the secret Manhattan Project. "I lost five brothers, my husband, two brothers — lost with cancer," Ayers said. "I don't have a feeling that we shouldn't go ahead (with the mill.) Our kids has got to live." 


September 5, 2012

LYNAS Corporation Receives TOL Temporary Operating License

Published on Wednesday September 05 2012 (AEST)

LYNAS Corp has gained a temporary operating license for its rare-earths refinery in Malaysia and expects to begin operations at the plant next month. "Receiving this licence from the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board is a significant milestone for Lynas," said Lynas Executive Chairman Nicholas Curtis in a statement.

Lynas' share price had Wednesday traded at just one third of where it stood 12 months ago, after continued uncertainty over the Malaysian project weighed on the stock in recent months. Lynas's $US230 million Malaysian processing plant is intended to produce about a sixth of the world's supply of rare-earths at full production. Rare earths are used in products ranging from electric car batteries to smartphone touch screens. The company finished construction on the first phase of the plant last month, moving the company closer to its goal of breaking China's grip on the industry.

Chinese firms currently account for about 95 per cent of global output, and steps by the government there to limit exports of raw materials to help develop its own manufacturing industries has piqued worldwide concern over a potential supply shortfall and over-reliance on a single source for the raw materials. Still, Lynas' project has run into opposition from activists and politicians in Malaysia because of the perceived hazard from radioactive waste.

Thousands of people had rallied in protest against the plant in February on concern that radioactive waste may seep into the ground and water, harming the environment and people's health. Lynas has insisted the plant is safe, and that any radioactive waste produced wouldn't harm human health. The refinery, located in the eastern Malaysian state of Pahang, will process material extracted from Lynas' Mount Weld rare-earths deposit in Australia.



1. The Atomic Energy Licensing Board (Board) at its meeting on 30 January 2012 had decided to approve the application for a TOL by Lynas (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. (Lynas), subject to several conditions. The TOL, however, was not issued since Lynas need to fulfil additional conditions under Act 304 and its subsidiary regulations.

2. The Board at its meeting on Monday, 3 September 2012, was satisfied that Lynas has fulfilled all technical aspects, including the institution of dust control measures and radioactivity immobilisation methodologies in its residue management system, and all regulatory requirements. The Board also took note that Lynas has made a commitment to remove from Malaysia the Water Leach Purification residue arising from its LAMP project. In this regard, the Board has decided to issue the TOL to Lynas, to be effective for two years from 3 September 2012 to 2 September 2014. The TOL will enable Lynas to conduct trial processing of lanthanide concentrates in stages and in limited quantities under close and continuous surveillance by the authorities.

Atomic Energy Licensing Board

Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI)
5 September 2012


A Press Briefing will be held at 10 am, Bilik Mesyuarat Lembaga, Ibu Pejabat Lembaga Perlesenan Tenaga Atom, Batu 24 Jalan Dengkil, 43800 Selangor on Friday 7 September 2012.