Uranium Resources clears significant legal challenge in New Mexico

Source: Uranium Resources, Inc.

Uranium Resources, Inc. (URI) announced that the time has expired for opposing parties to petition the United States Supreme Court to review the June 2010 United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit en banc ruling that URI’s Section 8 property in Churchrock, New Mexico is not Indian Country. No petitions were filed as of the September 13, 2010 deadline. This ruling affirmed the authority of the State of New Mexico, and not the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), to issue a UIC permit to URI. 

Don Ewigleben, President and Chief Executive Officer of URI, commented, “We are extremely pleased that the question of jurisdiction over the UIC permitting process has been concluded in favor of the State of New Mexico, allowing us to move forward with the development of our Churchrock/Crown Point project after many years of delay.” 

In a separate matter, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center on behalf of Eastern Navajo Diné Against Uranium Mining (ENDAUM) and Southwest Research and Information Center has petitioned the United States Supreme Court for review of the March 2010, 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that upheld the Company’s NRC license to conduct in-situ recovery (ISR) uranium mining at the Churchrock/Crown Point project. 

Mr. Ewigleben, stated, “Twelve years ago the NRC staff concluded an expert, professional analysis and found that URI’s project was protective of public health, safety and the environment. That determination has been subject to stringent legal reviews by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, the Commission and then the 10th Circuit Court, all of whom affirmed the staff’s analysis.” URI has not yet reviewed the petition. The Company believes that the 10th Circuit correctly analyzed the issues when it upheld the NRC's issuance of URI’s license. There is no deadline by which the Supreme Court must act on the petition. 

He added, “This action will not impede our progress on the development of this project. We will continue our efforts on completing an in depth, feasibility study by the end of 2011, so that we can be in a position to begin construction of the facilities in 2012 and producing in 2013, assuming that the license renewal processes move forward in a timely manner, there is a recovery in uranium prices and that financing is available for the necessary capital expenditures to build the infrastructure ” 

The NRC license allows for the production of up to 1 million pounds per year from Churchrock until a successful commercial demonstration of restoration is made, after which mining on other properties can begin and the quantity of production can be increased to 3 million pounds per year.

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