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In early August, the U.S. Border Patrol spotted a wildfire at EnergyFuel (Mestena)’s Alta Mesa In Situ Leach Uranium Mine in South Texas. 60 acres burned before local firefighters were able to bring it under control. EnergyFuels is a Canadian Penny Stock mining company, which is trying to open uranium mines near the Grand Canyon, as well as expanding a uranium mine in the area of the proposed Bear Ears National Monument (in Utah). Will the Park Rangers be responsible for looking for fires at those uranium mines? Local firefighters, probably volunteers, were forced to battle the blaze at EnergyFuel’s uranium mine in South Texas. Will the US Forest Service have to battle fires at their other uranium mines? Or volunteers?
According to EnergyFuels’ Technical Report from last month, “The facility is fully secured with on-site and remote monitoring,” and yet they claimed to have just noticed the fire around the same time as the Border Patrol. Imagine that!
Wildfires and uranium mining make a bad mix, as do all parts of the nuclear energy chain. The recent wildfire at the EnergyFuels uranium mine (Alta Mesa) in south Texas, which burned 60 acres, was spotted by the US Border Control. EnergyFuel workers claimed that they had just noticed it too, and, declaring that they needed “additional support”, called local firefighters to battle the fire. Of course – a cheap Canadian penny stock couldn’t bother to have the needed firefighters on site. It might cut into their profits. Strange that the CEO, Stephen P. Antony, had a total compensation estimated by Bloomberg at $922,571 for 2015, whereas the stock is worth only a little over $2.00. Of course, most EnergyFuels “properties” involve exploitation of US government mineral rights, upon which EnergyFuels pays no royalties, under the 1872 mining act. It is easy to suspect that EnergyFuels probably exists in order to protect those hiding behind it from clean-up liability.
The US NRC report stated that: “The fire damaged or destroyed surface infrastructure associated with the in-situ mining activities“. In 2011, a Brush fire at the Texas Kingsville Dome ISL uranium mine ignited the plastic piping system in the wellfield. And, indeed, the pipes for the Alta Mesa ISL (In Situ Leach) mine are plastic and lying on the ground so presumably would have burned, along with contents, during the wild fire. If you look at the Alta Mesa uranium mine facility below you notice plastic piping just lying on the ground.
And, yes, there it is in 2007:
Alta Mesa Project 2007 US NRC ML061910399
The mine was recently purchased by Canadian penny stock miner EnergyFuels. Energy Fuels is also “preparing to mine uranium at its Canyon mine, a deposit on US Forest Service land, six miles from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium_mining_in_Arizona An Arizona air permit renewal is the only thing that can protect it. http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/uranium-mining http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/grand-canyon-area-uranium-mines-seek-permit-renewals#meeting South Korea’s State owned utility, KEPCO, and the notorious Swedish-Canadian Lundin Mining Group appear to be among those hiding behind this penny stock entity named “EnergyFuels.”
Cameco’s Crow Butte In Situ Leach (ISL) Mine in Nebraska had to be evacuated in 2012 due to wildfires, even though their piping system appears to be mostly buried. While it is theoretically easier to monitor unburied piping, this wildfire shows one risk of leaving it on the surface, besides the obvious of falling over it.
According to EnergyFuels’ technical report from last month,
“The facility is fully secured with on-site and remote monitoring.”
(They give the location as 26° 54′ 08” N 98° 18′ 54” W )
And yet, the US NRC report states:
“A fire occurred within the Mestena Uranium LLC License Area in the vicinity of PAA-3 on August 9, 2016. The fire was discovered at approximately 1545 CDT by US Border Patrol agents…the local fire department was notified and arrived on site at approximately 1620 CDT to battle the fire. Fire crews declared the fire out/controlled by 2000 [CDT]… The fire burned approximately 60 acres, most of which was within the PAA-3 Mine Area. The fire damaged or destroyed surface infrastructure associated with the in-situ mining activities permitted under UIC permit UR03060PA3…. high volume air samples were collected while the firefighting was occurring. Samples were collected from downwind locations along the perimeter of the fire zone. Additional samples were collected on August 10th . Bioassay samples were also collected from individuals who participated in the firefighting activities.”
In 2012 Crow Butte ISL (ISR) Uranium Mine in Nebraska ordered “an evacuation of the mine site due to threatening wildfire to the east of the mine… The wildfires did not enter the licensed area and as a result there were no releases to the environment.” http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1226 ML12268A060.pdf This implies that if the wildfires had entered the licensed area then there could have been radioactive releases to the environment. So too does evacuation of the site.
“Even before the flames of a wildfire arrive at a particular location, heat transfer from the wildfire front warms the air to 800 °C (1,470 °F), which pre-heats and dries flammable materials, causing materials to ignite faster and allowing the fire to spread faster“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildfirep
The Alta Mesa pipes are polyethylene, and this is significantly above the melting point of the Polyethylene, which is 115–135 °C (239–275 °F) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyethylene
“Rep Org: TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENV QUALITY
Licensee: MESTENA URANIUM, LLC
Region: 4 City: ALTA MESA SITE State: TX
County: BROOKS COUNTY License #: R05360
Agreement: Y Docket:
NRC Notified By: MUHAMMADALI ABBASZADEH HQ OPS Officer: JEFF HERRERA
Notification Date: 08/11/2016 Notification Time: 15:56 [ET]
Event Date: 08/09/2016 Event Time: 16:14 [CDT]
Last Update Date: 08/11/2016 Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section: AGREEMENT STATE
Person (Organization): NEIL OKEEFE (R4DO)
NMSS_EVENTS_NOTIFIC (EMAI) DAN COLLINS (MSTR)
AGREEMENT STATE REPORT – UNPLANNED FIRE WITHIN LICENSE AREA
The following is an excerpt from a report received from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality via email:
“A fire occurred within the Mestena Uranium LLC License Area in the vicinity of PAA-3 on August 9, 2016. The fire was discovered at approximately 1545 CDT by US Border Patrol agents who were conducting activities in the vicinity. Mestena personnel discovered the fire at about the same and upon investigation determined the fire required additional support at which time the local fire department was notified and arrived on site at approximately 1620 CDT to battle the fire.
“Fire crews declared the fire out/controlled by 2000 [CDT]. No injuries occurred during the firefighting activities.
“[The licensee] contacted [The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] by telephone at approximately 2110 [CDT] to inform [them] that the fire was declared out and that an investigation into the fire will be initiated which will include follow-up actions required to remediate any impacts caused by the fire.
“The fire burned approximately 60 acres, most of which was within the PAA-3 Mine Area. The fire damaged or destroyed surface infrastructure associated with the in-situ mining activities permitted under UIC permit UR03060PA3.
“As a precaution, high volume air samples were collected while the firefighting was occurring. Samples were collected from downwind locations along the perimeter of the fire zone. Additional samples were collected on August 10th . Bioassay samples were also collected from individuals who participated in the firefighting activities.
“A written report that conforms to 30 TAC 336.335(c)(2) will be submitted to TCEQ [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] within 30 days.”
Texas State Event Report ID No.: Not assigned yet
ISR is the new industry euphemism for ISL: http://web.archive.org/web/20160311061654/http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/energy-fuels-to-increase-lower-cost-isr-uranium-production-profile-through-acquisition-of-mestena-uranium-571248911.html
EnergyFuels is trying to do uranium mining in the Grand Canyon area. Public hearings in a few days. Public comment accepted: http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/blog/grand-canyon-area-uranium-mines-seek-permit-renewals#meeting http://www.grandcanyontrust.org/sites/default/files/resources/gc_ADEQ_comments_8_15_16.pdf
EnergyFuels, a Penny Stock Mining Co., worth just over 2 dollars US per share appears to have the Lundin mining group-family and the South Korean Government (via KEPCO) hiding behind it. The value is dropping. It was worth 3.25CAD (2.53 US Dollar) on Friday, 19 Aug 2016; 3.00 CAD ( 2.32 US Dollar) Tues, Aug 23; down 0.09(3.00%) Aug 24, closing at 2.91 CAD (Canadian Dollar), i.e. $2.25 US Dollar
More on Energy Fuels’ mischief:
The US Border Control needs to work to keep those nasty Canadian Penny Stock Miners out of the country.
Just because something’s legal doesn’t make it ethical. They need to round up the Canadian Penny Stock Miners and send them back to Canada, instead of letting them destroy the land. The illegal immigrants probably just want to farm the land.
Location of Alta Mesa Uranium Mine
Above ground piping also in the Czech republic: http://web.archive.org/web/20140424012835/http://ic.century.cz/straz.htm
“ALTA MESA URANIUM PROJECT BROOKS AND JIM HOGG COUNTIES, TEXAS, USA; ALTA MESA URANIUM PROJECT, ALTA MESA AND MESTEÑA GRANDE MINERAL RESOURCES AND EXPLORATION TARGET, TECHNICAL REPORT NATIONAL INSTRUMENT 43-101, PREPARED FOR: EFR ALTA MESA LLC A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of: ENERGY FUELS INC. AUTHORED BY: Douglas L. Beahm, P.E., P.G. Principal Engineer BRS Engineering Effective Date: July 19, 2016” link to SEDAR found here: http://www.wise-uranium.org/uousa.html#ALTAM http://www.sedar.com/GetFile.do?lang=EN&docClass=24&issuerNo=00004321&issuerType=03&projectNo=02513300&docId=3959996
“TEXAS URANIUM MINE BURNS
Brush fire at Kingsville Dome ISL mine ignites plastic piping system in wellfield; Uranium Resources official downplays incident” Posted August 13, 2011
“NT uranium mine fire: ERA to pay for water bombing of fire threatening rock art and sacred sites in Kakadu“, Updated 7 Oct 2015, 10:16am
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-05/documents/uranium-mestena-test.pdf http://web.archive.org/web/20160820061332/http://www.energyfuels. com/news-pr/energy-fuels-announces-significant-maiden-resource-estimate-alta-mesa-isr-project/ (Although it is saved at web archive it is somehow reverting to the original, thus we broke the link.)
This document discusses overlap in US government regulation, so is apparently made by a US NRC worker – a very “captured” “regulator”. Note the picture of what they call a typical wellfield manifold.
The inside pipes are also plastic.
Construction challenges included difficulties obtaining plastic PE piping.
Alta Mesa Project 2007 US NRC ML061910399
6/27/07 Presentation at NRC Workshop, “The Challenge to Starting a New ISL Uranium Operation Today“https://web.archive.org/web/20160825143533/http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML0619/ML061910399.pdf
Texas Uranium Mining Presentation: https://web.archive.org/web/20160825135054/http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML0814/ML081430197.pdf