Top of Mine
IN THE SEARCH for alternative energy sources,
the nuclear option is gaining ground. But you
can’t have nuclear energy without uranium, which
is sparking a slew of new mining projects—and
“There are extensive reactor construction projects
under way in China and India, and the levels of currently mined uranium fall far short of what will be
consumed in coming years,” says Gord Struthers,
And that, in turn means companies are
launching exploration projects across North
America, Australia, Asia and Africa in the search
for the next big uranium payload.
Australian exploration company Bondi
Mining Ltd. signed an AU$3 million joint-venture agreement with the Japan Oil, Gas and
Metals National Corp. in late 2008 to search
for uranium in Australia’s Northern Territory.
>>Every development project in the nuclear industry
generates more difficulties than other kinds of
mines or mills. The amount of technical and
environmental reviews is much higher, and when
you have motivated opponents to a project, they can
create additional delays, which also raise the costs.
—Gord Struthers, Cameco Corp., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
manager of external communications at Saskatoon,
Saskatchewan, Canada-based Cameco Corp., one of
the largest uranium producers in the world.
While the stock market tanked and even the
most stable commodities faltered, uranium prices
climbed, posting steady gains during the last five
months of 2008.
Managing director Rick Valenta told the
Australian Broadcasting Corp. he was surprised
the agreement was signed during such uncertain
economic times. But he says it demonstrates a
strong vote of confidence in the project.
“Now that we’re in a situation where we’re
not in complete boom, companies that take a