April 26, 2013

Energy Fuels Receives License for Proposed Colorado Pinon Ridge Uranium Mill

Published on Friday April 26 2013 (AEST)  

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Apr 25, 2013) - Energy Fuels Inc. (EFR.TO) ("Energy Fuels" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that today the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ("CDPHE") re-issued the final Radioactive Materials License (the "License") for the Company's proposed Piñon Ridge Mill (the "Mill"). 

 The Company considers the License to be a valuable addition 
to its portfolio of assets."

When built, the Piñon Ridge Mill would be the first new uranium mill in the United States constructed in over 30 years. Energy Fuels also owns and operates the White Mesa Mill near Blanding, Utah, which is the only operating uranium mill in the United States. As was previously announced, CDPHE first issued Energy Fuels a radioactive materials license for the Piñon Ridge Mill in March 2011. 

Soon thereafter, a non-government organization filed suit against the State of Colorado seeking to nullify this license. In June 2012, Denver District Court Judge John N. McMullen issued a decision upholding the previously issued license decision on 10 of the 11 substantive environmental, health and safety claims. However, the license was set aside pending the completion of an administrative hearing that would offer the public the opportunity to provide further comment and information on the proposed mill and allow parties to the hearing the opportunity to initiate discovery and to cross-examine witnesses. In August and September 2012, the Town of Telluride, the Town of Ophir and San Miguel County, Colorado and several non-government organizations were granted party status in the administrative hearing. 

In October 2012, Energy Fuels entered into an agreement with the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County, Colorado on various issues including environmental protection, transportation, and financial assurance. As a part of this agreement, Energy Fuels agreed to maintain a minimum of $15 million of financial assurance with the State of Colorado upon Mill commissioning. Based on that agreement, the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County agreed not to further oppose Energy Fuels' license application. The administrative hearing took place over the course of six days in November 2012 in Nucla, Colorado and offered the public an extensive opportunity to offer comment on the Mill and for the parties to question CDPHE's Radiation Program staff and Energy Fuels' environmental staff and consultants. In January 2013, the hearing officer issued a decision finding that the administrative hearing fully satisfied the requirements of Colorado law. The non-government organizations appealed this finding to the Executive Director of CDPHE, Dr. Chris Urbina, in January 2013. 

In February 2013, Dr. Urbina upheld the hearing officer's decision, clearing the way for today's License re-issuance. The License includes conditions that specify additional requirements that Energy Fuels will be required to meet prior to the beginning of Mill construction, before the start of operations, during Mill operations, and during Mill decommissioning (as applicable). These conditions include requirements for submittal of detailed designs and plans, monitoring and testing, training, reporting, and financial assurance. Steve Antony, President and CEO of Energy Fuels, commented, "With the re-issuance of this license, Energy Fuels is in a position to expand uranium production capacity on the Colorado Plateau as market conditions warrant. 

Acquisition of this license is a testament to the hard work and perseverance of our environmental and legal staff that has been working on this project since the Piñon Ridge property was acquired in July 2007. 

The Company considers the License to be a valuable addition to its portfolio of assets."



April 19, 2013

Construction of Husab Uranium Mine Begins Namibia

Published on Friday April 19 2013 (AEST)

SWAKOMUND - Yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the construction of the Swakop Uranium Husab mine in the Erongo Region heralded Namibia’s first direct participation in the mining extraction industry.

Construction of the Husab mine, at an estimated cost of about N$1.2 billion, is expected to extend until 2014 for the mine to produce its first batch of uranium ore by 2015. The mine, situated 60 kilometres northeast of Swakopmund, is said to house uranium reserves of at least 280 million tonnes that could be mined for more than 20 years.

Full production is expected by 2017, with mining from two separate open pits feeding ore to a conventional agitated acid leach processing plant. Government has a 10 percent direct shareholding in the mine, along with the majority shareholder, the Chinese state-owned Guandong Nuclear Power Company Uranium Resources, which bought the mining interest from the Australian-listed mining firm Extract last year for nearly N$19 billion. Namibia’s shareholding is vested in State mining company, Epangelo Mining, which bought the 10 percent equity in Swakop Uranium for over N$1.8 billion.

“Not only will the government benefit from this partnership. Many local companies would directly benefit from the mine through service delivery. This government is committed to the sustainable utilization of the country’s natural resources to benefit Namibians and is encouraging win-win partnerships between Namibians and foreign investors,” Minister of Mines and Energy Isaak Katali said during the groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site.

Once on stream the mine is expected to boost employment in the mining sector by at least 17 percent and increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product by at least 5 percent. The export of ‘yellow cake’ is expected to increase the country’s total exports by 20 percent. The Husab mine deposits are regarded as the most important uranium discovery in recent years, since the mine is anticipated to have a potential of producing up to 15.5 million pounds of uranium per annum. The figure is more than Namibia’s total annual production and will push the country past Niger, Australia and Canada to become the world’s second largest uranium producer.

The 8 kilometre mineralisation has been confirmed as the highest grade, granite-hosted uranium deposit in Namibia. Furthermore, the mine will create 2 000 permanent jobs, 6 000 temporary jobs and at least 8 000 indirect jobs during the construction phase. Katali said the mining industry is one of the securest pillars of the country’s economy and generates billions in royalties and taxes for the government. Katali urged all mining companies to comply and operate within the laws and regulations of the country. “I am aware that an environmental assessment impact was approved by the ministry of environment and tourism as the mining will be conducted in a protect area.

By complying with the relevant laws and regulations at all stages will avoid damaging of the environment and our fragile eco-system…,” Katali said. Chinese Charge d’affaires Li Yigang said the Husab mine is committed to social and empowerment aspects such as job creation and local recruitment. “Swakop Uranium attaches great importance to its goal of localisation in Namibia and is committed to create a fair and competitive bidding environment for technically capable vendors from both Namibia and abroad,” he said.



April 16, 2013

Ghana to Build Nuclear Power Plant

Published on Tuesday April 16 2013 (AEST)  

ACCRA — Ghana is planning to build a nuclear plant for much-needed power generation. Not everyone, however, is in favor of the project, which would take eight years to complete. The country generates power from thermal and other sources but they have become unreliable due to increasing demand for home and industrial use.

Add to that, rising crude oil prices pushing up the cost of thermal power generation. Ghana's thermal plants are producing below capacity, a trend likely to impact industrial growth and job creation for Ghanaian youth. According to Benjamin Nyarko, director general at Ghana’s Atomic Energy Commission, Ghana needs huge amounts of power to realize its goal of becoming industrialized.

 “The reality is that we don’t have enough electricity so many companies are down," Nyarko said. "Even now, small companies that use electricity can’t operate. We have to revisit Nkrumah’s vision.” The dream of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, was to build a nuclear power plant in the 1960’s. That initial plan was shelved, but establishment of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, along with the University of Ghana's Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences, and subsequent introduction of nuclear research reactors laid the groundwork for further investigations. Nyarko said Ghana intends to build upon that foundation and that the International Atomic Energy Agency will provide the necessary assistance.

The non-profit group, Africa Center for Energy Policy, said the government must not use economic indicators alone to determine the viability of the nuclear project. Peter Amewu, the director of policy and research, said the environmental and social costs of the project should be considered because they could have negative implications for the country.

He added that nuclear disasters such as the one in Fukushima, Japan two years ago and the one in Chernobyl, Ukraine in 1986 are reasons for concern. Amewu said developed countries such as Japan, Germany, Russia and France are gradually moving from nuclear power to other sources of renewable energy and Ghana must learn from their example.

“Ghana has huge potential for hydrocarbon in terms of gas, huge potential for renewable in terms of solar; why are we not considering these options but just want to consider nuclear from nowhere?” Amewu asked. According to development experts, making the right policy decisions is important for much-needed growth for any country. Ghana's parliament is considering a bill on establishing a regulatory body to help operate and finance the initiative.


April 10, 2013

Japan Drafts New Nuclear Safety Rules

Published on Wednesday April 10 2013 (AEST)  

JAPAN'S nuclear watchdog has published new draft safety standards that it hopes will prevent a repeat of the disaster at Fukushima. 

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said measures must be taken to defend atomic power plants against tsunamis, earthquakes and terrorist attacks. Under the proposed rules there will be a ban on building reactors near active tectonic faults, which themselves will be redefined in a move that will make many more of them fit that definition. At present, active faults are defined as those that have moved in the last 130,000 years, but the NRA will move the benchmark to any time in the last 400,000 years. 

Up to five nuclear plants in Japan sit atop a possible active seismic fault, NRA-appointed experts have said. Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA, said earlier this year that plants would have to be able to survive a direct hit from a hijacked airliner or ship, as well as withstand tsunamis like the one that crippled Fukushima. The move comes after repeated criticism that lax regulation and an overly cosy relationship between authorities and the big-money companies they were supposed to police worsened the catastrophe of March 2011, when a tsunami swamped the coastal Fukushima Daiichi plant. 

Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless by the disaster and tracts of prime agricultural land were left unfarmable after radiation spread across a large area. Anti-nuclear sentiment is running high in Japan, which used to rely on atomic power for around a third of its electricity needs. The proposals will now go out to public consultation for 30 days and new rules will come into force in mid-July. All but two of Japan's reactors remain offline after being shuttered for regular safety checks in the aftermath of the 2011 crisis.