The roads leading in and out of Cameco Resources newest uranium mining site need a lot of work; that from company officials  in a meeting with Natrona County Commissioners this week.  They met to talk road repair among other things.

The new site straddles Natrona and Fremont counties in the Gas Hills.  Ken Vaughn for Cameco says, assuming operations start in 2014, they anticipate- along with worker traffic- one truck per day will carry the low- grade uranium to Smith Ranch-Highlands in Converse County for processing. Vaugh says the uranium will be in slurry form and if a spill were to occur it would be the heavy metal content prompting the most concern.

"Of course there is some radioactive involved as well and we have crews that are trained to respond to that sort of thing and we always work with the local and area responders as well."

The company hopes to produce about 1 million pounds of uranium per year from the site.

Water for the In situ recovery process, Vanghn says, comes from native ground water that's already unfit to drink.

"We can only operate in areas where the ground water is unsuitable for drinking. And that makes sense if you think about, because we're going where there's a lot of uranium. Usually you don't want to use the natural water if its full of uranium elements."

He says water used must be brought back to the level of purity it was at at the start of mining.

Up-front bonding of projects, Vaughn says, helps ensure that reclamation happens.

Tom Morton, writing for the Casper-Star Tribune notes that Cameco’s failure to post an adequate bond was among the points cited by the land quality division of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality in 2008 when the agency fined the South Ranch-Highland facility $1.4 million for alleged violations related to two permits, including delays in groundwater restoration.

In the meantime, Cameco hopes to have  access roads repaired by 2012 so they can begin construction. Commissioners are eyeing funds allocated by the current legislature for impacts to counties by the mining industry.  A-M-L funds were also mentioned as a possibility.

Follow this link to a explanation of the In Situ uranium recovery process.

http://www.cameco.com/usa/crow_butte/