Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Uranium News, November 2, 2007.


4) DONNA'S BLOG DAY 23 & 24


In the October 31st Uranium News, I thanked Josef Lapoint for his work on Sheila MacDonald's video "Uranium Protest Trailer: The Front Line". Turns out I made a mistake. Josef assisted Sheila in putting the video on YouTube but Sheila was the one who did the filming and editing. My apologies for the confusion this has caused!

You can see the wonderful video at…


Statement of Bay of Quinte Conference of The United Church of Canada
regarding the Algonquin and Local Residents Blockade of
Uranium Prospecting near Sharbot Lake

As the regional body of the United Church of Canada representing 300 congregations, the Bay of Quinte Conference wishes to make the following statement regarding the ongoing blockade of uranium prospecting taking place since the end of June 2007 by Algonquin and non-First Nations people near Sharbot Lake.

To date, this has been a non-violent protest, and it is the desire and intention of the Algonquin and non-native protesters that it remain so and that a peaceful negotiated resolution be found. Therefore, we have written Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty asking him to:

- refrain from enforcing the court-ordered injunction to forcibly remove the Algonquin and non-native protesters;
- to consult with the Chiefs of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and the Shabot Obaadjiwan Algonquin First Nation;
- to take immediate action to settle the outstanding land claim by the Algonquins upon this unceded territory and to resolve this dispute peaceably;
- immediately halt all exploration and development of uranium mining on disputed lands in Eastern Ontario; and
- conduct a review and complete overhaul of the Ontario Mining Act, given that as it stands, the Act allows prospecting, claim staking and exploration without clear processes for meaningful consultation and consent from First Nations, municipalities or property owners…

In keeping with the stance of The United Church of Canada as a whole, we the Bay of Quinte Conference stand alongside the First Nations peoples, local "settlers", and their supporters both local and around the world, in opposing uranium exploration in the region on environmental, safety and legal grounds.

We commend the local members of the Ontario Provincial Police for their actions to date. At the same time, our members continue to hold this challenging confrontation in their prayers as we work towards a peaceful resolution.

The members of the delegation who met with Algonquin leaders on September 6, 2007 were Ms. Bronwen Harman, President of Bay of Quinte Conference, Rev. Rodney Smith-Merkley, Chair, Dancing the Circle of Right Relations Action Group of Conference and minister of the Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge, Rev. Elizabeth Foster, minister of the Rideau Pastoral Charge, Mr. David Milne, united Church member and representative of the Christian Peacemakers Team, and Rev. Dr. Nan Hudson, Conference Minister, Stewardship and Mission.

For further information, visit the Bay of Quinte Conference website, the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation website, the Community Coalition Against mining Uranium and The Frontenac News website


For further information about these events go to

Dr. Gordon Edwards with be discussing his assessment on the impact that a uranium mine at Sharbot Lake could have on the City of Ottawa and surrounding regions.

Ardoch Algonquin First Nation is offering a film series that will take place twice monthly that will discuss Aboriginal issues, history, culture and spirituality.

The Boiler Room Climbing Gym in Kingston, will be hosting a fundraiser for CCAMU and the First Nations.


Day 23 (10/31/07)

Into the 4th week here on the side of the road, more people are expressing their concern for my well-being. I'd like you all to know that I expect to come through this just fine, with our goal accomplished. Please be assured that, if I did not, I would quit the hunger strike today. The daily letters and calls you are making and the actions you are taking to reach and educate others are making themselves heard. As a society, when we make that kind of concerted effort we cannot NOT succeed. Our job is to keep on keeping on and I, too, intend to keep on calling attention to this issue by not eating.

Someone suggested to Mike that governments refuse to be 'held ransom.' I was surprised (yes, I've been accused of being naive at times) to hear that someone considered that this hunger strike was a form of blackmail. I don't perceive it that way and I hope that others don't and haven't. My aim is to influence the populace to act, as is our democratic right. If I'm able to influence Premier McGuinty directly, so much the better, but it is more likely going to take thousands or tens of thousands of us to accomplish this. And we are doing that.

A hunger strike is no more blackmail, in my opinion, than is the Native Blockade or a road closure for a rally. I am protesting what I think is a moral, ethical and deadly irresponsible decision by the Ontario government. Given their commitment to consult with the Natives over mining on unceded territory, it was also out of integrity and possibly illegal as well.

Longest distance visitor today was Patsy George a long time activist from Vancouver. She was in the area to receive the Order of Canada. News came that the Council of Canadians passed a resolution at their annual general meeting in Kelowna, BC in support of a moratorium on uranium mining in Canada. I've yet to see it, but I'm told that Elizabeth May put out a press release about this issue recently, and Jeff Green from the Frontenac News was here for an interview today.

In the comfort of the room temperature Dickey Moore Trailer, I weighed in with a loss of 12 lbs. Does anyone have access to a small solar panel and a battery – something just large enough to boost the battery on a lap top computer? With that I'd be able to get dial- up and that would plug me in to media and press possibilities. It would also save the people who are running back and forth with the one gig memory stick some driving, not that any of them for even one minute is complaining. Every part we play is important. Thanks again for yours.


Day 24 (11/01/07)

Settlers, the more the merrier, are invited to join the annual Christmas party put on by the Shabot Obaadjiwan at the Catholic Church (across from Timber Mart) on Hwy 38 at Sharbot Lake on December 1st at 1 o'clock. There well be a short presentation on the sacredness of the land, followed by a feast (bring a desert if you are so inclined, but not to worry if you cannot). If you are a man, please do bring a wrapped gift marked 'man;' if a girl age ten, mark your gift 'girl - 10 years old.' 'Santa will be responsible for the distribution. This will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the solidarity, the friendships and the extended community that has developed here over the months.

We, at the site are waiting patiently and with anticipation for the negotiations with the governments to begin.

Special thanks today for the pair of Alpaca socks received from a somewhat local lady. They are so cozy and soft I'm almost tempted to use them to warm my hands.

I'm including the rest of the "What you can do when times get trying?" list.
Whatever you are able to accomplish is one more step in the right direction toward bringing sanity to a society that is dangerously close to the edge in terms of resource drawdown, climate disaster, pollution and waste. While the train is traveling one way and some of us are out of our seats walking in the other direction, we must get the train stopped and turned around. Enough of us, working together, can do that. We are on a roll.

At the Community Level:

* Support and invest in local initiatives/enterprises; buy locally - i.e. a 100-mile diet supports local farmers and producers; when buying from a distance, support fair trade initiatives; start a community garden; The more we do such things, the more adequate local provision will be when transportation costs become unaffordable.

* Invest in conservation, renewable energy, and in sustainable infrastructure - soil fertility; forest management; community cohesion, (festivals, craft and information fairs, block parent programs, community radio, theatre, etc.)

* Participate in your local community or intentionally bring people together to form community.

* Make your opinions known: Write letters to the editor of your local paper; expand your personal communication comfort zone to let others know that you see perpetual economic expansion (and specifically, in this case, uranium exploration and mining) as a recipe for calamity. Letting people know that you question the current direction gives them permission to question it as well, thus building support.

*Support people and organizations that are leading the way; begin discussion groups in your home, church, school or community centre and invite speakers; donate your time, your energy and/or your money to the effort.

* Develop/participate in a community currency or trading system and encourage others to do so.

At the Government Level:

* Write, email or call your MP. (For MP's contact information, call 1 (800) 622-6232 )
Let him/her know that you support:

- The Well-Being Measurement Act
The WBMA measures environmental and social factors in addition to economic ones,
i.e.: unpaid work; extracted resources, both renewable and non renewable; food quality; community stability; income distribution; education; pollution levels; quality of employment; amounts of exercise & stress; participation in decision making; levels of violence and more;

- The enactment of laws/subsidies that encourage sustainable activities and discourage non-sustainable activities;

- The formulation of a more equitable tax system, which draws revenue from pollution, natural resource use and speculation, while lowering or removing taxation from local businesses and low-income jobs;

- Full cost accounting; Extended producer responsibility; Proportional Representation;
Reigning in usury and, ultimately, adopting a monetary system that is not based on debt and the consequent need for perpetual growth.

Thank and Blessings,


Federal minister upholds contested decision to block arctic uranium exploration
October 25, 2007 - 18:58


OTTAWA - The federal cabinet has upheld a recommendation by a northern environmental regulator that the mining industry fears could sterilize a large and potentially rich chunk of the Northwest Territories to future development and cripple the ability of prospectors to look for new deposits.

In a letter to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board this week, Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said he agreed with its recommendation to block Ur-Energy's (TSX:URE) uranium exploration program on the Upper Thelon area east of Great Slave Lake.

"The responsible ministers have agreed to adopt the recommendation of the review board," Strahl wrote.

Last May, the board shocked the mining industry when it denied Ur-Energy's plan to drill up to 20 holes near the Thelon River because it threatens the spiritual and cultural well-being of the area's Akaitcho Dene.

"If implemented, the recommendation of the review board would effectively terminate mineral exploration in an important part of the N.W.T.," three industry leaders wrote to then-minister Jim Prentice after the original decision.

"This would have a very detrimental effect on the investment climate of (the) N.W.T. and the North in general."

The letter was signed by Mike Vaydik of the N.W.T. Chamber of Mines, Gordon Peeling of the Mining Association of Canada and Tony Andrews of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

Individual companies working in the North also registered strong protests.

"The rationale behind the board's recommendation is such that it appears likely that no mineral exploration activities within the southeast N.W.T. will be possible," wrote Bayswater Uranium president George Leary, one of several mining CEOs who wrote to protest the board's recommendation.

Miners claimed that the board had created a de facto national park without any of the normal consultations.

However, Strahl's decision promised his department would come up with a plan for long-term land-use planning for the area by the end of November.

"It would be an action plan for developing the resources in the area," said Carolyn Relf, the department's director of minerals and petroleum development.

Relf said much work needs to be done to locate the culturally important areas and delineate the valuable ore deposits.

"There has to be some give and take," she said.

Relf added Strahl has also promised renewed efforts to settle the Akaitcho land claim.

That's the key, said Pierre Gratton of the Mining Association of Canada.

"The federal government really has to get moving on this land claim," he said.

Miners also have to work harder to understand the cultural ties aboriginals feel towards their traditional lands, said Gratton.

The Thelon Basin is considered one of the earth's last pristine wildernesses.

Residents from the community of Lutsel K'e described the area as "the place where God began" and "the heart and soul of the Dene."

However, the area drained by the Thelon River, which flows from the N.W.T. into Nunavut, has been the subject of an intense staking rush.

Dozens of companies are prodding the tundra for uranium after prices for the silvery metal grew from $7 a pound a few years ago to over $100 now. They have registered hundreds of prospecting permits, claims and mineral leases - 1,000 such dispositions on the N.W.T. side alone.

The area is also subject to an agreement between Ottawa and the Akaitcho Dene not to make any decisions on the land for five years pending the land-claim settlement. That interim land withdrawal is currently awaiting cabinet approval.

As well, part of the region has been singled out by Environment Minister John Baird for the creation of East Arm National Park near the east arm of Great Slave Lake.


Ur-Energy sees Thelon uranium decision as 'a delay'
Last Updated: Monday, October 29, 2007 | 5:28 PM CT
CBC News

The head of a junior mining company whose bid to explore for uranium in the Northwest Territories was recently rejected by Ottawa believes the decision is just a setback for the project.

Ur-Energy Inc. president Bill Boberg told CBC News that he understands why Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl accepted an environmental impact review board's recommendation to reject his company's application to explore for uranium in the Upper Thelon basin.

"We're viewing it at this point in time as a delay. We do feel that eventually we should be able to properly move on our claims and to explore our claims, particularly since they have been defined as legally valid mining claims," Boberg said Monday.

"It's just a matter of making the determination as to when we can actually do that and what we need to do to get to that point."

At the same time, Boberg said the decision sends an unfortunate message to the mining industry that the Northwest Territories is not a friendly place. Boberg said he plans to sit down with company stakeholders to determine the best way to move forward with the Upper Thelon basin project. Ur-Energy has headquarters in Colorado and Ontario.

Last week, Strahl announced that he accepted the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board's controversial decision to reject Ur-Energy's application to conduct an exploratory drill near the basin, in the territory's eastern region.

In May, the board ruled such development would have an unacceptable cultural and spiritual impact on the area's Lutselk'e Dene people, who describe the area as "the place where God began."

Although Strahl turned down Ur-Energy's application, he asked his department to come up with a plan that could allow development in some areas of the basin. That plan is due by the end of November.


Global uranium market looks fragile
Plunging shares more than just a temporary issue

David Berman
Financial Post

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Looking at yesterday's plummeting uranium stocks, you might conclude the setback is due to short-term production problems related to specific mining issues. Solve them, and you will again benefit from the world's renewed interest in nuclear energy.

But look beyond the most recent gyrations, you will find that the entire global uranium market is looking fragile these days, with many stocks down 50%. Production problems aside, investors have a bigger issue to deal with: Is interest in uranium stocks fizzling?

Yesterday, Uranium One Inc. joined the casualty list when it cut its production estimates for 2008 by 38%. The reason relates to delays at its Kazakhstan mines, where there is a shortage of sulphuric acid used for extracting uranium. The stock (UUU/TSX) fell 17.6% to $10.49, bringing its total loss for the year to 34%.

Leonie Soltay, an analyst at Wellington West Capital Markets, put a brave face on the setback, arguing the delayed production is good for uranium prices, since lower production keeps the supply-and-demand dynamics tight. She also pointed out that the company is becoming a must-have name for investors who want unhedged international uranium production.

"We believe any short-term weakness should be treated as a buying opportunity by long-term investors," Ms. Soltay said in a note to clients, in which she lowered her price target to $13 from $16.

Trouble is, Uranium One is not alone with its problems. Cameco Corp. was also hit yesterday when it pushed back production at its Cigar Lake mine in Saskatchewan until at least 2011, a delay of one year. Its stock (CCO/TSX) fell 3.4%, bringing the decline from its record high to 22%. Similarly, Australia's ERA and Paladin Resources have also reported production problems, with predictable results.

These stock-price reversals seem strange given that the world needs uranium, and lots of it. According to the World Nuclear Association, planned nuclear power reactors have leapt 37% since the start of the year. The biggest jump is in China, where there are 114 reactors planned, up from 63 at the start of the year.

"The threat of global warming continues to drive support for nuclear power," said Resource Capital Research in a recent note to clients.

"The United States stated at the UN in Sept. '07 that global emission reductions will not be achievable without significant global utilization of nuclear power."

However, uranium is not playing along with this bullish argument.

According to RCR, indicators in the second quarter of 2007 pointed to uranium hitting US$210 a pound by September 2008. Spot uranium prices have fallen 39% since then, with speculators playing an increasing role in the price swings. Now, indicators are pointing to a September, 2008 price of just US$120 a pound, or nearly half the expected price of just three months ago.

Nuclear power can indeed blossom. But that does not mean uranium prices and uranium stocks will enjoy unwavering support. Short-term problems aside, producers have bigger issues to deal with.

© National Post 2007

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making it available in order to advance understanding of the issues. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. For more information check the code. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Recommend this Post

Sphere: Related Content