Uranium Mining

Skyrocketing prices of uranium have led to increasing interest in uranium mining. Wyoming is estimated to have some of the largest uranium deposits in the world, and mining projects are currently planned for Crook, Weston, and Campbell Counties in Northeast Wyoming and Sweetwater and Fremont Counties in Southwest Wyoming. All of these new projects plan to use in-situ mining methods. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in situ uranium mining uses "a leaching solution to extract uranium from underground ore bodies in place (in other words, in situ). The leaching agent, which contains an oxidant such as oxygen with sodium carbonate, is injected through wells into the ore body in a confined aquifer to dissolve the uranium. This solution is then pumped via other wells to the surface for processing."

In-situ mining raises significant questions about the impacts of such activities on surface and ground water quality and quantity, public health, and residential and ranch property values. To minimize these impacts, Powder River believes no in-situ mining, milling or storage should be permitted near home sites or where such activities would threaten to contaminate aquifers. Additionally, we believe that mining operators should be required to post sufficient bonds to guarantee the cleanup and restoration of areas affected by their activities.

For upcoming projects located within the Powder River Basin, we will be involved in all aspects of the regulatory process, including providing written comments and public testimony to ensure that uranium projects will be safe and environmentally responsible.