Trump budget adds $150 million to create uranium reserve, Energy Fuels hopeful
Energy Fuels, the owner of the White Mesa Mill and mining properties in San Juan County, is hopeful that a new proposal in the federal budget may be a lifeline to the struggling uranium industry.
The budget proposal submitted by President Trump includes $150 million for the creation of a uranium reserve.
While this is just the first step in the long budget process, it does represent a significant step in the right direction for the struggling domestic producers of uranium.
It is estimated that more than 90 percent of the uranium used in the United States comes from foreign sources, including Khazakstan, Russia, and China.
Domestic producers, such as Energy Fuels, state that the foreign products are being dumped on the U.S. market. They say these actions threaten the domestic producers of an item of critical strategic importance to the country.
President Trump apparently agrees, submitting a budget proposal that would establish a reserve that “provides assurance of availability of uranium in the event of a market disruption.”
According to a Reuters article by Timothy Gardner, Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette told reporters in a teleconference that the budget represents a push by Trump to challenge the global expansion of nuclear power development by Chinese and Russian companies.
Trump “has decided that we’re going to meet them anywhere that they go around the world, and this...is the very first step that we will take to put the United States back into this competitive game,” Brouillette said.
Mark Chalmers, CEO of Energy Fuels, said establishing a reserve would “preserve our strategic capacity to produce uranium for national security purposes.”
The Trump Administration had studied the issue in depth, and it was anticipated that a recommendation for a reserve of some type would be included in the new budget.
Energy Fuels is one of the largest private employers in San Juan County.
The company recently laid off approximately one-third of its local work force, including workers in its mines and at the White Mesa mill.