Climate change-driven projections of increased investment in nuclear power and heavy investment from the new Canadian Sprott Physical Uranium Trust pushed uranium prices up in September. Element #92 peaked at $50 per pound mid-month, well above the recent several-month average around $30/pound but still well below the pre-Fukushima spikes of $77 in 2011 and $137 in 2007. SPUT cooled its jets on September 24, and uranium prices have been sliding since, failing to reach the $60/pound level that some experts say is necessary to support increased uranium extraction. Yesterday brought an ugly correction back to $19/pound.
Stock in Canadian uranium company Azarga/Powertech has surged and slid right along with its target mineral, rising from long-term doldrums in the 30-cent range (and that’s Canadian pennies) to 78 cents mid-September, then dropping back to 58 cents today. Our Canadian raiders remain committed to squirting for uranium in the southern Black Hills, but the South Dakota Water Management Board Wednesday declined Powertech’s request that the state restart the company’s water permitting process. Our water regulators say Powertech needs to wait until it has all the green lights it needs from the federal government:
Board members said they don’t want to waste more time and money since Powertech is still seeking some federal permits while others are tied up in the courts.
“I just don’t think it’s appropriate for the State of South Dakota and this board to spend millions of dollars once again on an issue and then have the rug pulled out from under our feet after we’ve made a decision,” said board member Rodney Freeman.
The board already paused its consideration of the Dewey–Burdock Project back in 2013 at the request of Powertech, just a year after the company began the permitting process. Powertech has been pursuing federal permits and licenses since then [Arielle Zionts, “Board Rejects Attempt to Restart Uranium-Mine Permitting,” SDPB Radio, 2021.10.06].
If Azarga/Powertech is paying attention, they’ll see a quick way to get around this delay. They just need to hire Kassidy Noem Peters. Send Kassidy to advocate for Powertech’s water permit at the next Water Management Board hearing, get the board to delay her request, and Powertech can count on Kassidy to complain to her mom, Governor Kristi Noem, and count on mom to summon Rodney Freeman and the rest of the board to the Second Floor for a stern straightening out in front of Kassidy by the Governor, her chief of staff, her lawyer, her DANR Secretary, the DANR lawyer….