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Uranium Prices Up: New Type of “Gold Rush” Comes to WYO

November 9, 2007

Sheridan, WY – The "new generation gold rush" in Wyoming isn't for gold, but uranium. At least one company is already planning to cash in on rising uranium prices with new mines to extract the naturally-occurring, radioactive material in Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado.

Shannon Anderson, of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, says locals are concerned, because previous uranium mining ended up polluting water supplies.

"Heavy metals that are already in the ground are brought up with the uranium. It brings up levels of arsenic. There have been permit violations in a number of states."

The rush to mine uranium is based on the premise that new nuclear power plants will be built. Anderson says even if these plans become reality, there's already plenty of uranium in storage.

"Some reports say that the world's supply of currently-mined uranium would last for the next 50 years."

Anderson says mining could start within three years, after an extensive permitting and environmental process. The estimated value of uranium for the Wyoming project is $1 billion. A Saturday meeting is open to the public to discuss the idea, at 11:00 AM at Dunn Brothers Coffee House in Rapid City.

Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - WY