View Full Version : Russian company seeks to buy U.S. uranium mining operations

10-07-2010, 02:00 AM

Washington (CNN) -- A Russian company is seeking to buy a controlling interest in one of the largest uranium extraction operations in the United States -- a sale that requires U.S. government review because of possible national security implications.

Uranium One USA, now a subsidiary of a Canadian company, operates a uranium processing facility in Wyoming and has assets in Utah, Texas and Colorado. The sale of the company's existing and pending operations could give Russia control of about 20 percent of U.S. uranium extraction capacity, Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials estimate.

Industry observers tell CNN they do not believe the sale of Uranium One to Joint Stock Company Atomredmetzoloto, or ARMZ, would jeopardize U.S. security, saying that the United States relies on Russian dismantled nuclear weapons for much of the uranium used in nuclear reactors today, and that sources of uranium are plentiful.

"I have no concerns about it at all," said Fred McGoldrick, former director of the State Department's Office of Nonproliferation and Export Policy. "I don't see any national security threat to the United States from the Russians partly or entirely owning a mine in the United States."

He added, "The Russian's aren't coming. They came and went. They are no longer the Soviets. I think it's to our mutual interest that we cooperate with the Russians."

Said Ed Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, "Looking at the big picture here, I don't really think this has major security implications. I'd be interested in hearing arguments otherwise, but I just don't see it."

In an application submitted to the NRC, JSC Atomredmetzoloto, which currently owns 23.1 percent of Uranium One's common stock, says it is seeking to buy a controlling 51 percent interest. The Russian company is controlled by Rosatom, the Russian government agency that oversees Russia's nuclear industry.

Uranium One would continue to be publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, its U.S. facilities would remain under their current management teams and five of the nine directors on the company's board would be non-Russian, the company said.

"The bottom line is any of the uranium we buy or sell has to be used for peaceful purposes and it's subject to all the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Euratom (the European Atomic Energy Community), or any other governmental agency having jurisdiction over the United States" and customer countries, said Chris Sattler, spokesman for Uranium One.

Uranium One USA is involved in the "recovery" of uranium, a form of mining in which a solution is injected into an ore body and the uranium leaches into the solution, which is then extracted, said NRC spokesman David McIntyre. The company is licensed to produce up to 2.5 million pounds of uranium a year, it said.
According to the G. Gordon Liddy show this company is actually part of the Russian government.

10-07-2010, 02:04 AM

CASPER — Uranium One USA officials say it’s highly unlikely that any uranium derived from its planned in-situ recovery mining operations in Wyoming will go to Russia or Iran.

A pending stock deal would shift controlling interest in Canadian-based Uranium One to Russian-based Atomredmetzoloto, or ARMZ.

Critics of the sale, which has been in the works since June, suggest that it’s a potential national security issue because it would give a Russian company controlling interest in a big chunk of the United States’ uranium mining capacity.

ARMZ is controlled by the Russian Atomic Energy Corp., Rosatom, which is an agency of the Russian government that supplied uranium to Iran’s first nuclear power plant.

No threat

However, U.S. national security officials have said the deal poses no threat. The Cold War ended long ago, and the uranium fuel industry is among myriad international markets.

Even so, shipping uranium from Wyoming to Russia just doesn’t make economic sense, according to Uranium One officials.

“I have confirmed with our management that none of the uranium produced in the U.S. will be used by Rosatom to fuel the Iran reactor,” said Donna Wichers, Uranium One’s senior vice president of in-situ mining.

Wichers, who works at Uranium One’s Casper office, said all uranium produced from the company’s Wyoming facilities probably will be sold to U.S. utilities.

“Why would Russia want our small U.S. production, ship it over there, etcetera, when they have access to the huge volumes of Kazakhstan material, which makes the U.S. material look like a drop in the bucket?” Wichers asked.

She said ARMZ’s greater interest is in Uranium One’s Kazakhstan reserves.

The company estimates that 70 percent of new uranium production worldwide between now and 2020 will come from Kazakhstan and Africa.

U.S. assets

Uranium One’s U.S. assets will be managed by its existing American team, and the company will continue to be publicly traded on the Canadian exchange, according to the company.

In Wyoming, Uranium One’s main properties include the Christensen Ranch and Irigaray in-situ recovery operations in the southern Powder River Basin, where it plans to resume uranium production in early 2011. The company also plans to launch in-situ recovery operations at its Moore Ranch and Ludeman properties in the same region.

The company’s Wyoming operations will gradually ramp up to an annual production of about 2 million pounds per year, employing about 200 workers, Wichers said.
Have we lost our minds?

10-07-2010, 11:53 AM

10-07-2010, 12:11 PM
Stars and Stripes had an article the other day about how China has purchased the rights to a large majority of mines that produce rare metals that we use in a lot of our armaments.

They could effecitively cut us off from a lot of those materials seriously hurting our warfighting efforts.