Archive | Uranium

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 →

Grand Canyon is our home. Uranium mining has no place here – by Carletta Tilousi (The Guardian – June 26, 2017)

Carletta Tilousi is a member of the Havasupai tribal council.

The Havasupai – “people of the blue-green waters” – live in Supai Village, located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Today our lives and water are being threatened by international uranium mining companies because the US government and its 1872 mining law permit uranium mining on federal lands that surround the Grand Canyon.

In 1986, the Kaibab national forest authorized a Canadian-based uranium company to open Canyon mine, a uranium mine near the south rim of Grand Canyon national park. The Havasupai tribe challenged the decision but lost in the ninth circuit court of appeals. Miners were just starting to drill Canyon mine’s shaft in 1991 when falling uranium prices caused the company to shut it down for more than two decades.

Havasupai ancestors share stories of the sacredness of the Grand Canyon and all the mountains that surround it. They have instructed us to protect the waters and the mountains from any environmental contamination. That’s why we stand firm against any uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region. Continue Reading →

Miners hail uranium call as activists rail against green light – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – June 21, 2017)

Western Australia’s most advanced uranium players are breathing a sigh of relief and environment groups are outraged after the state Labor government confirmed it would allow for the development of up to four uranium mines in the state.

WA Mines Minister Bill Johnston yesterday said the government would not stand in the way of the four uranium developments approved during the final months of Colin Barnett’s government although the new administration confirmed a ban on future uranium mining leases in the state.

While Labor had been under pressure to extend its uranium ban to the most advanced of the projects, Mr Johnston said the government had received legal advice that doing so could leave the state exposed to court action. Continue Reading →

Uranium mine ban for WA but existing four projects allowed to proceed – by Eliza Laschon and Courtney Bembridge (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – June 20, 2017)

The WA Government has delivered on an election commitment to ban uranium mining, but it will not stop four projects that already had approval from proceeding. A ban on uranium mining takes effect from today, with the exception of the four projects.

They are Cameco’s Kintyre and Yeelirrie projects, Vimy Resources’ Mulga Rock project and Toro Energy’s Wiluna project. Toro’s Wiluna project was the first to be approved in 2012, while Mulga Rock received approval last year.

Cameco’s Yeelirrie mine was initially knocked back by the Environmental Protection Authority due to the threat it posed to microscopic stygofauna present at the site. But those concerns were dismissed by former state development minister Bill Marmion, who overruled the EPA’s decision and approved the mine in January. Continue Reading →

Western tensions stoked as mining interests seek to lift ban on claims – by Daniel Rothberg (Las Vegas Sun – June 19, 2017)

In 2012, then-President Barack Obama issued a 20-year ban on mining claims near the Grand Canyon. The move halted future uranium extraction projects in the region, a win for environmentalists and local tribes that had fought against the industry for years.

But some elected officials in Arizona and Utah disputed their claims of contamination risk, arguing that the ban would unnecessarily sacrifice jobs for overblown environmental concerns. With President Donald Trump swinging the pendulum toward economic development, opponents of the ban are asking the administration to lift it.

Their request and Trump’s reconsideration of nuclear policy in the West have stoked debate over how environmental concerns should be weighed against economic potential. That tension underlies discussions about everything from increasing nuclear testing to storing nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, only 90 miles from Las Vegas. And it highlights the inescapable nature of the West’s nuclear legacy. Continue Reading →

Mohave County asks feds to review ban on mining uranium near the Grand Canyon – by Ron Dungan (The Arizona Republic – June 7, 2017)

The Mojave County Board of Supervisors asked Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke this week to consider lifting a 20-year uranium mining ban on public lands in northern Arizona.

The supervisors said in letters to Zinke that mining would restore jobs and pump money into the local economy, and asked the Interior Department to consider the status of the ban while he reviews 27 national monuments, including Grand Canyon-Parashant.

“This ban took away much needed growth and jobs from our area,” one of the letters said. “We are requesting that your office look into this ban and if necessary start a process with public comments to withdraw the ban.” The board endorsed the letter Monday on a unanimous vote. The final version of the letter was mailed Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Trump urged to end uranium mining ban near Grand Canyon – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – June 5, 2017)

Arizona and Utah officials are asking US President Donald Trump to end a 20-year ban on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, which came into effect in 2012 as part of a set of environmental protection rules passed during the Obama administration.

They are also pushing for the abolishment of national monument designations in Arizona, such as Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs. They argue those nominations have limited coal, natural gas and oil production in the area, severely hurting the local economy, Knau Arizona Public Radio reports.

Miners and other groups with a stake in the sector have long argued the US Department of the Interior erred in its decision to ban new attempts to extract uranium from public land near the national park. Continue Reading →

This Land is Your Land: Grand Canyon at risk as Arizona officials ask Trump to end uranium mining ban (The Guardian – June 5, 2017)

A coalition of influential officials in Arizona and Utah is urging the Trump administration to consider rolling back Obama-era environmental protections that ban new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

They argue that the 20-year ban that came into effect in 2012 is unlawful and stifles economic opportunity in the mining industry. But supporters of the ban say new mining activity could increase the risk of uranium-contaminated water flowing into the canyon. Past mining in the region has left hundreds of polluted sites among Arizona’s Navajo population, leading to serious health consequences, including cancer and kidney failure.

The new appeal to the Trump administration appears in the draft of a letter expected to be sent on Monday to the US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, by the Mohave County board of supervisors, whose region borders the north side of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Similar letters are being drawn up by other regional leaders in neighboring county governments in southern Utah, to be sent to Washington by the end of the week, according to officials. Continue Reading →

New project aims to extract rare earth elements from uranium tailings – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – June 5, 2017)

New technology under development in Saskatoon could make it profitable for Saskatchewan-based mining companies to extract “significant” quantities of rare earth elements from uranium tailings solution that would otherwise go to waste.

The parallel processes being piloted by Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), which started work on the project three years ago, involve concentrating the tailings solution and then using “cells” containing mixers to separate out each of the rare earth elements.

“It’s good for our uranium companies and it’s good for the province,” said Bryan Shreiner, who heads SRC’s minerals division. “And in terms of value for Canada and the rest of the world, rare earths are in demand.” Continue Reading →

Will Trump Overturn the Ban on Uranium Mining Around the Grand Canyon? – by Antonia Noori Farzan (Phoenix New Times – May 28, 2017)

The news that President Donald Trump is planning to review and possibly scrap some of the national monuments put in place by his predecessor makes it clear — if it wasn’t already — that he’s not a big fan of anything that President Obama did, or of the outdoors. (Aside from golf courses, that is.)

So it’s understandable that environmentalists are worried that the Obama administration’s moratorium on uranium mining in the area surrounding the Grand Canyon could be up next on the chopping block. That moratorium was announced by the Department of the Interior in 2012, and banned new uranium claims until 2032. Existing claims and mines were unaffected.

It was great news to environmental groups like the Grand Canyon Trust, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters, who had spent years pointing out the environmental hazards of uranium mining — particularly the threat of polluting the Colorado River, which provides water to 40 million people in Arizona and the Southwest. Continue Reading →

EPA uranium hearings: A tale of two cities – by John D. Taylor (Rapid City Journal – May 16, 2017)

HOT SPRINGS – On a gray Wednesday when a little mni wichoni (Lakota for life-giving water) was falling from the skies, a group of about 40 protesters marched from Centennial Park to the Mueller Center shouting “Mni Wichoni, water is life,” and “No uranium mining in the Black Hills,” along the way.

The protesters – including Sarah Peterson and Mary Helen Pederson, from the local group, It’s All About the Water, as well as a contingent of Oglala Lakota elders, children and adults from Pine Ridge, Rapid City and other locations, along with a veterans group, all part of the Clean Water Alliance of the Black Hills – were concerned about the threats they believe AzaragaUranium/Powertech’s plans for the Dewey Burdock in situ leaching uranium mining project will bring to the area, particularly the dry region’s water resources.

After praying, the contingent descended on the Mueller Center to share their concerns about the project with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at the fourth of five scheduled public hearings EPA would hold on the company’s plans and the two draft permits the agency has issued to Azarga/Powertech, along with the Clean Water Act exemption the one permit will require. Continue Reading →