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Native Sun News Today: Uranium expansion near sacred site in Wyoming put on hold

Mato Tipila, a sacred site also known as Devils Tower, can be seen in the background of the Ross uranium mine in Wyoming. The facility had five license violations and non-compliance reports during its first year of operations. Photo: Peninsula Energy Ltd

Low price of uranium slows expansion of mine near sacred Mato Tipila
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News Today
Health & Environment Editor

SUNDANCE, Wyo. –– In the wake of dismal 2016 profits from uranium production worldwide, Peninsula Energy Ltd. has decided to shelve Ross uranium mine and mill expansion plans slated near the tribally significant Mato Tipila.

Better known as Devil’s Tower National Monument, Mato Tipila is a Native American sacred site in Crook County in the northern Black Hills.

The Australian company, through its wholly owned subsidiary Strata Energy Inc., had proposed an 8,000-acre Kendrick Expansion Area here of the Ross in-situ leach (ISL) mine and mill, which received a radioactive materials handling license for the original 1,721 acres of the project in 2015.

A “challenging” market situation prompted operators to request the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to "cease all review activities related to the Kendrick amendment application for SUA-1601," according to a Dec. 8 announcement by the company.

“While the present uranium market is challenging, Peninsula is insulated from current prices through its existing long-term contracts,” it announced. “By implementing a managed production ramp-up the company is well positioned to sustain itself through the current uranium market and then to expand quickly when the market improves,” it said.

According to the Australia-based UX Consulting Services, uranium had the worst record of any commodity on the market in 2016, hitting a 12-year-low, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The Ross Mine and mill finished its first year of operations in the economic slow-down attributed to ample stockpiles of the radioactive fuel for power plants and weapons, as well as to public outcry forcing shut-downs of nuclear installations in Germany and Japan after the 2011 disaster caused by the Fukushima atomic energy plant accident.

Peninsula Energy Ltd. announced completion of Strata’s first yellow-cake delivery from Ross in situ leach uranium mine to an unnamed U.S. utility client on Jan. 5, 2016.

The ISL mining and milling process requires extraction of ground water from the ore-bearing geological layer, mixing it with acid, injecting it through the formation to dissolve the target mineral, and processing the result at an on-site installation into concentrated radioactive yellow cake, a powder used in producing nuclear energy,

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: Low price of uranium slows expansion of mine near sacred Mato Tipila

(Contact Talli Nauman at talli.nauman@gmail.com)

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