Archive | Uranium

Editorial: Cameco suspends 40% of production in face of oversupply – by John Cunning (Northern Miner – November 22, 2017)

Every mining subsector has its unofficial leader. It’s that company — usually with the largest market capitalization — that has arguably the best combination of top mineral deposits, superb operations, savvy management, high-quality workers, technical excellence, welcoming jurisdictions, a stable balance sheet and steady cash flow.

And that is what’s particularly distressing about the revelation in mid-November that uranium’s undisputed leader Cameco is suspending operations in northern Saskatchewan at its world-class McArthur River uranium mine and Key Lake mill that processes McArthur River ore. Key Lake is the world’s largest high-grade uranium mill.

Cameco owns 70% of McArthur River and 83% of Key Lake, and is operator at both, with France’s Areva owning the rest. Together, the operations produced 11.1 million lb. uranium oxide in the first nine months of 2017. Continue Reading →

Cameco Corp. takes another hit, but production cuts positive for uranium market – by Jonathan Ratner (Financial Post – November 9, 2017)

The patience of Cameco Corp. shareholders is being tested yet again, as the Saskatchewan-based uranium producer’s latest round of quarterly earnings fell short of expectations, and now the company is cutting its dividend and temporarily suspending work at two operations.

The news sent Cameo shares higher, as the production cut is expected to be beneficial to a global uranium market that is widely forecast to be oversupplied by approximately 20 million pounds in 2018.

“This is the type of supply side shock that is positive for the market, but negative for Cameco in the short term,” said Rob Chang, an analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald. “…These are necessary moves that reduce losses and actively help fix the global supply situation.” Continue Reading →

Uranium-endowed South Africa stands to benefit from ambitions to improve electricity access in Africa – by Dylan Slater ( – November 3, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – In tandem with growing ambitions to increase access to electricity for many African citizens who currently have limited or no access to electricity comes the call for new large-scale power stations to be built. This has prompted a keen interest in nuclear power stations and, consequently, a burgeoning demand for uranium as a fuel source.

Many commentators worldwide expect significant growth in the demand for uranium or any other atomic fuel that can be used to fuel a nuclear power station. This projected growth will, in turn, lead to the need for increased beneficiation and enrichment of such commodities.

South Africa has a long history of mining uranium, which, in the early days, was widely deemed a waste product. In fact, uranium mining in the country is synonymous with gold mining, as the minerals often occur in the same deposits. Continue Reading →

Former Kazakhstan uranium czar blames imprisonment on sale of Clinton-linked Canadian company to Russians – by Tom Blackwell (National Post – November 2, 2017)

Mukhtar Dzhakishev is by all accounts in miserable shape. Languishing in a “harsh” Kazakhstan prison colony that was once part of Stalin’s gulag system, he suffers from hypertension, hardened arteries and kidney disease likely triggered by a severe beating.

“His life is constantly at risk,” one human-rights group warned in September, as it urged the international community to advocate on Dzakishev’s behalf.

Largely unable to communicate with the outside world, the former head of Kazakhstan’s state uranium conglomerate has made one thing clear: he blames his arrest and 14-year prison term at least in part on a Canadian company’s corporate dealings. Continue Reading →

Fact Checker Analysis: The repeated, incorrect claim that Russia obtained ‘20 percent of our uranium’ – by Glenn Kessler (Washington Post – October 31, 2017)

“How is it that our government could approve a sale of 20 percent of our uranium at the same time that there was an open FBI investigation?”
— Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto, Oct. 26, 2017

“Knowing what you know about Russia, was it really a good idea for the Obama administration and the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to approve a deal giving the Russians control of 20 percent of our uranium supply? . . . Why did Hillary’s office and the Obama administration sign off on giving the Russians a fifth of our uranium? . . .

Why is that a good idea to give a hostile power 20 percent of our uranium supplies? It’s insane though. . . . How would Hillary Clinton not know if a Russian company was getting 20 percent of our uranium supply? What was she doing?”
— Tucker Carlson, on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Oct. 23 Continue Reading →

Hillary Clinton, Canadian company at heart of controversy Trump and his supporters want to resurrect – by Tom Blackwell (National Post – October 21, 2017)

The 2010 sale of Uranium One to Russian interests — and allegations that Canadian donations to the Clinton Foundation eased its approval in U.S. — has new life

It’s the Russia controversy that President Donald Trump and his supporters would love the world to focus on, and it centres largely around a Toronto-based mining company.

The 2010 sale of Uranium One to Russian interests — and unproven allegations that Canadian donations to the Clinton Foundation eased its approval in the States — suddenly has new life.

Credit for the rebirth goes to the president, his media allies and a recent piece of investigative reporting on the seven-year-old issue. “That’s your real Russian story,” Trump told reporters Thursday, “not a story where they talk about collusion and there was none.” Continue Reading →

Workers to begin mining operations at the US nuclear waste dump in New Mexico following a radiation release that contaminated part of the repository (Daily Mail/Associated Press – October 17, 2017)

Workers are expected to begin mining operations at the US nuclear waste dump in New Mexico for the first time in three years following a radiation release that contaminated part of the underground repository, the Energy Department said Tuesday.

The work to carve out more disposal space from the ancient salt formation where the repository is located will begin later this fall and should be completed by 2020, the department said in a statement.

Workers will remove more than 112,000 tons of salt, making way for seven disposal rooms. Each will have space for more than 10,000 drums containing up to 55 gallons of waste. Continue Reading →

New uranium mines: no simple answers – by Emery Cowan (Arizona Daily Sun – October 15, 2017)

A town on the edge of the Navajo Nation that unknowingly drank uranium-tainted water for at least 12 years. Navajo babies showing increasing uranium concentrations during their first year of life.

Children swimming in natural pools near Cameron they later learned had been filled with water from abandoned uranium mines. The stories about the impacts of Cold War-era uranium mining on the Navajo Nation became highly personal during a forum hosted at the Museum of Northern Arizona Wednesday night.

Four decades later, the subject has come to the fore again as a grandfathered uranium mine moves forward with operations south of Tusayan and a new president stokes fears about the reopening of 1 million acres of the Grand Canyon watershed outside the national park to new mining. Continue Reading →

Ontario Mining History: The Elliot Lake story – by Dit Holt (Northern Miner – January 8, 2001)

Global mining news

The evolution of Elliot Lake, Ont. — from a logging and fur-trapping centre in the early 1900s to the uranium capital of the world in the 1950s and 1960s, and then to its present status as one of most successful retirement communities in Canada — is unique. And few people know that history better than M.E. (Dit) Holt, a mining engineer who began his career by taking part in the staking rush that transformed a remote wilderness north of Lake Huron into a mining boom town.

In the next few months, Holt will bring that history back to life through a series of columns featuring the men (in those days, mining was a man’s game) who found, financed and developed a total of 11 mines in the district.

To set the stage, we’ll go back to 1948, when Aim Breton and Karl Gunterman discovered radioactive rock in Long Twp., east of Blind River. However, significant deposits of the radioactive element were not found, and Breton and Gunterman let their claims lapse. In 1952, prospector Franc Joubin (1911-1997), backed by financier Joseph Hirshhorn (1900-1981), restaked the lapsed claims and set out to determine exactly what was exciting his geiger counter. Continue Reading →

More opposition to Berkeley’s uranium mine in Spain – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – September 28, 2017)

Nuclear energy experts from a variety of countries expressed their support this week to the actions carried out by Stop Uranio, a social platform that opposes Berkeley Minera España’s plans to open a mine in the Spanish town of Retortillo.

Greenpeace anti-nuclear campaigner, Raquel Montón, said that Spain doesn’t need nuclear plants or mines because the country is on a promising path towards developing sustainable sources of clean energy.

According to EFE news agency, Greenpeace and other organizations such as WWF, worry about the impacts nuclear debris might have on both the environment and the local population. Continue Reading →

Cameco wins procedural victory in offshore ‘transfer pricing’ tax battle – by Drew Hasselback (Financial Post – August 15, 2017)

Cameco Corp. has defeated the Canadian government’s attempt to force about 25 of the company’s senior executives to submit to questioning on how the company uses offshore entities to reduce its tax bill.

The Minister of National Revenue sought a federal court order that would have compelled a long list of the company executives, including current chief executive Tim Gitzel and former CEO Gerry Grandey, to be interviewed by Canada Revenue Agency staff.

The Minister’s request relates to audits of Cameco’s 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax returns. In particular, the CRA says it wants more information on how Cameco uses foreign subsidiaries to reduce its tax bills. The process is called “transfer pricing,” and Canada has rules on when and how it can be done. Continue Reading →

To save the planet, we must ignore anti-nuclear ideologues – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – July 21, 2017)

There might be a way for the world to meet its carbon-reduction targets that does not involve building more nuclear power plants. The problem is, no one has come up with one. Until that happens, politicians need to get real about nuclear energy’s essential role in saving the planet. Unfortunately, most of them still have their heads stuck in their solar panels.

The latest greener-than-thou politician to make the perfect the enemy of the good is France’s awkwardly titled Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Nicolas Hulot. This month, Mr. Hulot announced the shutdown of as many as 17 of France’s 58 nuclear reactors over the next eight years as part of President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to cut his country’s reliance on nuclear-generated electricity to 50 per cent from 75 per cent by 2025.

Mr. Hulot says he has “absolute faith” in renewable power sources, mainly wind and solar energy, to fill the gap. But as Germany shows, closing emissions-free nuclear power plants, more often than not, leads to burning more fossil fuels to produce power. That’s because wind and solar remain intermittent power sources, while nuclear, coal and natural gas plants can run full-steam 24/7. Continue Reading →

A forgotten community: The little town in Niger keeping the lights on in France – by Lucas Destrijcker and Mahadi Diouara (African Arguments – July 18 2017)

Welcome to Arlit, the impoverished uranium capital of Africa.

From Niamey, the capital of the landlocked West African nation of Niger, we call ahead to a desert town in the remote north of the country. “Journalists? On their way here? It’s been a while”, we hear down the phone from our contact. “We welcome you with open arms, but only on the pretence that you’re visiting to interview migrants on their way to Algeria. If they find out you’re poking your nose in their business, it’s a lost cause.”

That same evening, the public bus jolts as it sets off. Destination: the gates of the Sahara. The stuffy subtropical heat gradually fades into scorching drought and plains of seemingly endless ochre sands. About two days later, we pass through a gateway with “Arlit” written on it in rusty letters.

The town of about 120,000 inhabitants is located in one of the Sahel’s most remote regions, not far from the Algerian border. The surrounding area is known to be the operating territory of numerous bandits and armed groups, including Islamist militants. It is like an island in the middle of the desert, an artificial oasis with only one raison d’être: uranium. Continue Reading →

Activists warn against more uranium mining in the Black Hills – by Kelsey Sinclair (Rapid City Journal – July 8, 2017)

Let’s clean up one mess before making another. That was the message from members of two local groups opposed to uranium mining on Saturday, when volunteers gathered at the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City to set up public information and outreach booths to speak to visitors about the importance of clean water and the impact of uranium mining.

In the wake of Azarga Uranium proposing a uranium mine in South Dakota, the Black Hills Clean Water Alliance and Dakota Rural Action have opposed the idea, saying that uranium mining would bring only short-term economical benefits while harming tourism and land, water and cultural resources.

“The vast majority of the mines have not been cleaned up. They put radioactive materials into the rivers and into the soil sediment,” Lilias Jarding said. “The main thing we want is to clean up the old uranium mines and not start any new uranium mines in the Black Hills.” Continue Reading →

Explorer seeking partners to support its efforts to tap Mauritania’s mineral wealth – by Ilan Solomons ( – July 7, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Mauritania has many mining investment opportunities, with economic, social and political conditions conducive to the pursuit of developing a sector considered strategic by the country’s government, says Oil, Energy and Mines Minister Dr Mohamed Abdel Vetah.

He points out that the Mauritania government has instituted a mining policy aimed at ensuring a “mutually beneficial” balance, while safeguarding the interests of the nation and investors.

International mining companies with existing operational mines in the country include base metals producer First Quantum Minerals and gold major Kinross Gold, both of Canada. Several companies also have exploration licences and/or were recently granted mining licences in Mauritania, such as West Africa-focused gold explorer Algold Resources, iron-ore exploration joint venture Mauritania Saudi Mining and steel and uranium development company Aura Energy. Continue Reading →