At their last regular meeting, the Johnson County Commissioners heard an update on the current situation at uranium mines in Northeast Wyoming and elsewhere in the state along with the future of the industry and the impacts they can expect in the coming years.
Glen Catchpole, Chairman and CEO of Uranerz Energy Corporation, said expected increases in the price for uranium will likely mean increased mining activity at existing mines and more mines being built in the region with the expected impacts on Johnson, Campbell and other counties in the basin. Although he did say that best guesses and predictions can never be 100% accurate in looking to the future.
Catchpole explains what uranium is and what his company mines and sells.
In 2008, Wyoming led the Nation in total uranium reserves, in both the $50 and $100 per pound categories, with an estimated 220 million pounds of the $50 per pound and 440 million pounds of the $100 per pound. Wyoming uranium is mined in the Powder River, Wind River and Central Basins and the Washakie-Sand Wash areas.
Uranium is sold by the pound and current prices are low at $42 a pound, Catchpole said, and although the prices are relatively steady at that $50 per pound mark, prices have traditionally been higher, peaking at $137 in 2007.
The expectation is for prices to increase significantly in 2013.