Thursday, September 24, 2009

States completes final draft permits for two UEC wells

GOLIAD - Uranium Energy Corp. has forged one step closer to mining in Goliad County.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality completed final draft permits for two non-hazardous disposal wells, the uranium company announced Wednesday. The company would use the wells as part of its in-situ recovery operations.

"Uranium Energy Corp. is roughly 95 percent through the permitting process," said Harry Anthony, the uranium company's chief operating officer.

So far, the company received from the state final draft for its:

Mine permit.

Production area permit.

Disposal wells permit.

The company submitted its radioactive material license application to the state a year ago. The radioactive materials license represents the final permit the state reviews in this sequence of permitting. Already, the uranium company prepares a response to the state's technical review of its application, and plans to submit the response within 30 days.

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is well along with their review," Anthony said.

Goliad County sued Uranium Energy Corp. in March 2008. The county claims the company contaminated well water when it failed to properly plug many of its 1,100 exploratory wells. Both sides say science supports their arguments.

Goliad County Commissioner Jim Kreneck, who opposes uranium mining, said the state permitting process remains slanted in favor of big business.

"The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is funded 85 percent by permitting fees. Who wouldn't push a permit through to get a paycheck?" Kreneck said. "That's been one of my concerns all along. Permits are pushed through without proper evaluation and to keep their operations going."

Anthony disagreed. He called the state review process "thorough."

A follow-up remark by our friend Mark Krueger:

..."unexpected geological or hydrological conditions" is part of the disclosure on the mining company's website.

This is a transcribed account of a recent conversation (today) with a local water well driller.

“I’m not gonna tell you they can control it. When you pressure down and lose circulation in the formation, it could be going anywhere. Sometimes you find it in an old well 100 yards away,(drilling mud) or sometimes you don’t find it at all.”

“It’s very simple when you are drilling a hole in the ground 400-500 feet deep, as you build up weight pushing down, wherever you are, under sand, whatever formation, maybe a dry formation of sand, then it’s gonna go into it. It will follow the path of least resistance. When you hit a cavity or honeycomb caliche, everything goes south on ya. Simple as it is. Especially if you weight it up, lose return, sometimes you just have to abandon the hole.”

What this water well driller is referring to is what the scientific world calls "heterogeneous fabric", meaning that many variations of the soil beneath us exist, including the well known water-bearing gravel beds of Victoria County. If an unknown gravel bed were to exist adjacent to an injection zone, the fluid under pressure could migrate to and saturate the gravel bed. If this were to happen, the probability of recovery would be greatly reduced. In other words, once it's gone then it's gone. To whose well? Your guess is as good as anyone's.

...still looking for good news regarding uranium mining, still haven't found any.

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