Registrato: 29/07/19 11:47
|While other states? politicians are wondering how to keep their voters employed , Wyoming's mining companies are scrambling to find workers for their projects. According to Matt Grant, Assistant Director of the Wyoming Mining Association, ?The mining industry has at least 700 job openings right now.? He added, ?Those are direct jobs. If you include the service industry jobs, for which there is a ratio of three service industry jobs for every direct job, then the real number is closer to 2,800.?
Grant explained that an unskilled worker could start tomorrow with an annual salary of $44,000. ?A skilled electrician can make up to $100 , 000 per year,? Grant confided. Living in Wyoming isn't expensive, and of course, energy costs are somewhat lower. Right now, Campbell County's Chamber of Commerce, the Casper Area Development company, and Sweetwater County's job recruiters are slugging it out to find laid off auto workers for the increasing number of job openings this state offers. As Wyoming's Secretary of State Joe Meyers told , ?If the companies are going to build uranium plants , tell them to bring their own workers. There's none here.?
With a rising spot uranium price, and Wyoming 'suddenly? becoming in vogue again, Wyoming politicians are celebrating. Grant re-iterated the oft-quoted uranium oxide (U3O8) figure for Wyoming's reserves: 300 million at $50pound. In the intriguing, and yet confusing, method in which the Energy Information Agency calculates ore body reserves for uranium, the higher the price of uranium, the more the reserves. It doesn't matter, though , because Wyoming has plenty of uranium.
How Wyoming Politicians Feel About Uranium Mining
State legislator, Dave Edwards, who represents Douglas, the nearest town to Cameco's Power Resources? operation at the Smith-Highland ranch, where uranium is ISL mined, remarked on the wild frenzy of staking for uranium claims in Wyoming, ?We are already feeling the effects. It's good for the real estate market.? But how does he feel about uranium mining for those who voted him into office? ?It does provide high-quality jobs,? he responded. ?If there were no uranium mining , there would be a big impact.? Edwards, a former Navy pilot with more than 1,000 jet landings on aircraft carrier, during the Vietnam War, doesn't believe all the myths about the dangers of uranium mining, ?I've not heard any talk from any of my constituents about how dangerous uranium mining is. I think people have common sense. I think people understand what nuclear power really is, and when properly taken care of, there is no need for hysteria. It's just not going to blow up anybody's brain or screw up any children. We're at that point in mining and using uranium.?
That's quite a contrast from those who say ?not in my backyard ,? as was sometimes heard by the less well educated in rural New Mexico, when talking about uranium mining. Edwards spoke frankly about the Smith Ranch uranium operation, ?One of the best things in Converse County we have is the ?in situ? (ISL) mining uranium operation on the Smith Ranch. It's done by Power Resources, and they do a very nice job of it.? Edwards has, from time to time, toured the Smith Ranch facility to inspect the uranium mining operation and gives Cameco the thumbs up, ?The uranium metal never hits the air space. It is enclosed, virtually from the time it comes out of the ground until it is put in a barrel , loaded into a truck and hauled off.?
Senator Robert Peck, who represents the Riverton area, and also publishes the Riverton Ranger newspaper, is savvy to the uranium industry. One acquaintance told that it was Senator Peck's earlier successes in the uranium business that paid for his house and his nest egg. He believes there is still growth ahead for Wyoming's uranium industry. Responding to whether there is any uranium left in Wyoming after the massive extractions of the past 50 years, Peck answered, ?There's lots left.? He remarked upon Cameco's Power Resources subsidiary, ?Their largest resource of their many holdings, around Wyoming , is in the Gas Hills. That was the center of uranium production for over a thirty year period. There were three uranium mills there and they still show 50 to 60 million pounds of recoverable uranium in the Gas Hills proven by previous drilling.?
How does Peck envision the uranium industry in Wyoming playing out, over the next decade? ?I think we are going to see three or four companies that are comfortable with, and knowledgeable about, uranium and nuclear power running the show in the uranium resurgence.? He likes Cameco, that's for sure. ?I see Cameco just becoming better and better positioned with uranium mining, and uranium fabrication of fuels. They are in the entire cycle, as well as having big operations in Kazakhstan, where they will be producing a significant amount of uranium there. In the mean time , they think they've got the best uranium reserves in Wyoming already with what they picked up during the down period, including the Gas Hills remaining reserves.?
Peck also has kind words for Strathmore Minerals (TSX: STM). ?Strathmore Minerals has got properties all around the country and the world, too, but they're not in production yet,? Senator Peck said. ?They are gathering capital and deciding where to best invest this capital, where it will have the best chance of a successful payoff. They're getting in from the ground up for uranium production.?
Wyoming could become a relatively steady uranium producer, but it won't be the good old days. ?We're not going to be up to where we were at the peak, when we produced 150 million pounds ,? Senator Peck admitted. ?We're going to be up to 4 million pounds per year, which is going to make a solid, but significantly smaller industry. I don't think we're going to see the days when we used to have the greatest collection of Caterpillar scrapers in the world, out here moving millions of .