Welcome to the Star-Tribune’s Energy Journal, a play-by-play of the past week in Wyoming’s wild world of energy. I’m your energy and natural resources reporter, Camille Erickson. Sign up for the newsletter here.
Uranium company Ur-Energy receives nearly $1 million in federal relief
A uranium mining firm with operations in Wyoming received $893,300 in loans from the federal government as part of the relief package provided to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the company welcomed the relief, taxpayer accountability groups grumbled at the distribution of aid to a corporation they claim did not need it.
For the first quarter of the year, the company’s operations at Lost Creek mine in south-central Wyoming produced 33,0000 pounds of uranium. According to Ur-Energy CEO Jeff Klenda, as of April 20, “the workforce remains healthy and fully employed.”
With the closure of some other uranium facilities due to the pandemic, uranium prices have inched up. But the company cautioned not to see this as a sustained trend.
“We cannot overstate the importance of these funds to our ability to retain the highly trained operational staff we have strived so hard to keep onboard,” Klenda continued. “As intended by the CARES Act (federal coronavirus relief package), this additional funding will provide longer ‘runway’ to maintain current operations and avoid unnecessary dilution in the depressed uranium market; it also provides continued operational readiness when we are able to ramp up production.”