U.S. Uranium Industry to Produce 20 Million Pounds by 2012
The Uranium Producers of America (UPA) was formed more than twenty years ago. Over the years, this trade association worked with Congress and state legislators to help improve the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle: uranium mining. Today, it has been re-energized with new members and with the task of helping to rebuild the U. uranium mining sector. We talked with Jon Indall, an attorney based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who serves as the Executive Director of the UPA.
Uranium Producers of America members include International Uranium Corporation, Power Resources, Uranium Resources, Cotter Corporation, Energy Metals Corporation, Mestena Uranium, U. Energy, Laramide Resources, Strathmore Minerals, Uranium Energy and Neutron Energy. StockInterview: What is the function of the Uranium Producers of America (UPA)? Jon Indall: The Uranium Producers of America is a trade association, originally founded in 1985 to promote the viability of the domestic uranium industry. StockInterview: How did the UPA trade association come into existence? Jon Indall: The UPA was founded initially by the major U.
producers, such as Kerr McGee, Homestake, United Nuclear, Rocky Mountain Energy, Union Carbide, Atlas, and Pathfinder. The major operating companies decided to form their own group to focus on specific uranium viability issues. StockInterview: In what way does the UPA differ from the National Mining Association with regards to the uranium industry? Jon Indall: Over the years the UPA was sort of a lobbying institution for the domestic industry and handled viability type issues. The National Mining Association has a uranium environmental subcommittee. The NMA has been more involved with the regulatory aspect, but we work together and have a good relationship. There’s definitely an overlap between the members of each group, but our charge has been more on the viability aspect. StockInterview: How do you promote the viability of the domestic uranium industry? Jon Indall: Our agenda is twofold. We want to continue to promote the viability of uranium production in the United States. In that vein we have been meeting with the Department of Energy (DOE) to explain what’s going on out in the field.
We let them know there are active companies pursuing mining operations, acquiring properties, doing the exploration and development work, and so forth. We are also urging DOE not to do anything that impacts the market. StockInterview: How could the Department of Energy affect the uranium market? Jon Indall: The Department of Energy is sitting on a lot of inventory. We want DOE to be judicious in how they use that material. There’s a very solid chance, in our view, going out a few years, there’s going to be a gap between available supply and demand. The secondary market is diminishing. We want DOE to hold back their material. If there is a shortage, they can ride to the rescue, and the reactors won’t go cold. StockInterview: Are the utilities going to get back into the domestic uranium sector to ensure their nuclear reactors have sufficient uranium available? Jon Indall: In the 1970s, when we had the initial boom, the domestic utilities were out making deals with producers. They were actively investing in projects and things of that nature.
I don’t think that’s going to happen this year or next year. But a few years down the line, if things really tighten up, you might see that. StockInterview: Where do the U. utilities stand with regards to a domestic uranium industry? Jon Indall: In the late 1980s and early 1990s, I think the utilities saw Canada as such a big production center, they lost interest in the domestic producers. They were not too worried about having enough fuel coming in. StockInterview: But, hasn’t the industry changed over the past few years, as the spot uranium price has soared? Jon Indall: If you read the trade press and everything else, you can see, with the impetus that’s going on in Asia and all the reactors that are under construction or planned, I think the utilities have to understand that security of supply is something they need to pay attention to. It’s on our agenda to start talking to the utilities a little bit more seriously. Even though you can get this material from other places, it’s nice to have a local producer. It’s fairly apparent this industry, in the next four to five years, could be producing in the range of 20 million pounds.
StockInterview: Do you believe the domestic uranium industry can produce twenty million pounds over the next four to five years? Jon Indall: Conservatively, five to six years, but maybe even sooner. Well, let me put it this way: We’re producing roughly 3 million pounds now. That’s up from two. I could be off by a factor of a few hundred thousand. Power Resources is producing roughly 2 million pounds. With the Uranium Resources production that’s come on in Texas, and with Mestena, you’ve got about another million pounds or so. IUC has just announced that they’re going to produce 3.5 million pounds, I think, over the next two years. Some of that is material they’re cleaning up for DOE, but it is still production.
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