Revival of uranium mining in New Mexico through Solution Mining

“We need to move quickly on the path to energy independence from foreign oil, which means, among other things, a return to nuclear power,” US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) recently told Fox News. US Senator Pete Domenic (R-NM) has been invited to build the Louisiana Enrichment Services (LES) uranium enrichment gas centrifuge plant near Hobbes, New Mexico. The facility is currently in the process of being approved. Annette Aguayo of the Southwest Research and Information Center told us that the group plans to start work on stopping the project. Some environmentalists are lagging behind.

The other environmentalists who previously led are again in the lead. James Lovelock, a tough guru for the global environmental movement, sometimes referred to as the “Father of the Green Revolution”, wrote in Reader’s Digest (March 2005) that the numbers were widely accepted because of the widespread warnings about DFT’s research on CFCs. . show that many people’s fears about nuclear energy are unfounded. ” Dr. Lavlock also said that “Greens are clearly wrong to oppose it.” In May 2004, Lavlock wrote: “The only green solution is nuclear energy.”

New Mexico is ready for a uranium revival, not through conventional mining, but through ISL operations. The on-site leaching method, also known as solution extraction, is environmentally friendly. Because it is less expensive and does not pollute the environment as uranium mining did in the 1950s, many uranium companies plan to use this safer method of uranium mining in New Mexico.

In a conversation with Barbara Hahn, an employee of the Mining Museum’s Chamber of Commerce late last year, she uttered a deep resentment as she spoke of the collapse of the uranium mining business in the 1980s. Grants (NM) was a booming city during the uranium boom of the 1970s, when uranium prices rose above $ 40 / pound. “Grants have replaced lost jobs in the mining industry by opening prisons,” he told us. “Now others are bringing us their prisoners.” Ms. Hahn estimated that only 35 percent of the uranium was mined in the Grants field. “Most of it is still there,” he added. According to McLemore և Chenoweth geological report, 558 million pounds (279,000 short tons) of reserves can still be extracted. The issue of the 1980s, as it stands today, revolves around the spot price of uranium.

The higher the spot price of uranium, the more economical it can be to extract. As the price of uranium rises, so does the amount of economic resources. $ 30 / pound, the US Energy Information Administration has reported that New Mexico holds 84 million pounds of uranium oxide at an estimated 0.28 pound per tonne in 2003. as of December 31. However, at $ 50 / pound uranium, that amount will drop to 1 341. million pounds. The spread of the gross value of uranium assets between these price levels is about $ 15 billion. As the spot price rises, so do economic reserves.

The director of corporate development of energy metals William Sheriff said. “Our long-term, big, big projects will be in New Mexico. We believe that New Mexico will be of great value to us in the long run. »: He explained that his company plans to develop production facilities in Texas and Wyoming before developing ISL in The Enchanted State. The sheriff added. “There is nothing in New Mexico for the first five years, but that does not mean we will sit idly by. It is ISL production. ” Relying on large-scale acquisitions of the company elsewhere in Wyoming, New Mexico, the sheriff threw in the towel on Cameco և Cogema, whose ISL operations in Wyoming contribute to the largest share of US uranium production. “We intend to become the largest producer of ISL in the United States.”

David Miller, President of Strathmore Minerals և Chief Operating Officer (TSX: STM; Other OTC: STHJF), said: “ISL production will continue to grow in the United States, but we will see a return to normal mining և in the western states.” In addition to Wyoming uranium ownership, Stratmore hopes to advance their Church Rock uranium ownership with the permission of Uranium Resources (OTC BB: URRE) in Section 17, which is owned by their HRI subsidiary. Basically, all three companies are friendly neighbors in the area. There is evidence that they often talk to each other by comparing notes. The three uranium juniors are likely to be the current major players in New Mexico for ISL uranium mining.

Ron Driscoll, one of the co-founders of Quincy Energy, which acquired Energy Metals, said: It is probably too early for the oil giants to rush to uranium again. During the recent uranium boom, many major oil companies were at the forefront of uranium exploration and production. Kerr-McGee Nuclear was the number one private uranium producer in the world. Other major oil companies involved in uranium mining include Mobil, Phillips, Conoco, Exxon, Chevron, Amoco, and others. One of the most recent uranium minors, Max Resources (TSX: MXR), also plans to drill in the other end of New Mexico, in Socorro County (about 100 miles south of Albuquerque). The MXR was once drilled by OxyMin, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, in the 1980s before uranium prices plummeted.

Most likely, a large company will appear in New Mexico, uniting others or a few. “There are a lot of small uranium bets on the North American market that need critical mass,” Neil Fronman, CEO of Uranium One (TSE: SXR), told a South African newspaper recently. “Consolidation will boost our business in the United States and Canada, where we think it’s tactically smart.” Uranium One itself was a combination of the Toronto-based Southern Cross and the Aflease in South Africa. Fronman concluded. “It makes sense to have a large presence in North America to provide the (US) utilities that need to be built.”

“The geology of this area in connection with ISL uranium operations could help New Mexico become a potential provider of U.S. utilities, possibly by the end of this decade,” Stratmore’s David Miller agreed. “I would not be surprised if there is more uranium in New Mexico than is currently estimated. That’s why companies have intelligence programs. ” From a state that has produced more than 300 million pounds of uranium, which may have an additional 300 million to 600 million pounds of uranium, New Mexico will be the main target of uranium companies as long as the price of uranium continues to rise. Will uranium be destroyed or burned, as it was in the 1980s? After accurately predicting the spot price of uranium at StockInterview in June 2004, Miller told StockInterview:

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