A Canadian mining company is close to finalizing a deal that will give a Russian company controlling interest in its uranium operations, which include a Utah town, a uranium mill and thousands of acres of claims.
In October, four members of Congress urged the U.S. Treasury Department to block plans by Uranium One to sell majority ownership to the mining company, Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ), whose parent company is Rosatom, the Russian nuclear agency, to protect national security. Since then, the Treasury Department has approved Uranium One's plans, as has the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Utah Division of Radiation Control.
"Uranium One has now received all necessary approvals to proceed with the closing of the ARMZ transaction," said Rob Buchanan, head of investor relations for the Canadian company, "and we are on track to close the transaction before the end of the year."
The Canadian mining company has said operation of its U.S. assets won't be affected by the deal. That includes the Utah town of Ticaboo near Lake Powell, the Shootaring Canyon uranium mill a few miles north of the town and more than 10,000 acres of uranium claims in Utah, plus additional holdings in South Dakota, Wyoming and Texas.
Rusty Lundberg, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control, said his agency's decision to sign off on the change of ownership was based on the company's assurances in correspondence that there would be no changes in operations.
"Day-to-day decisions with regard to the operations at the Shootaring Mill will be made by the management of Uranium One Exploration U.S.A. Inc. in coordination and consultation with Scott Schierman as the Corporate Radiation Safety Officer for the Shootaring Canyon Mill," the company's attorney said in an e-mail to Utah Assistant Attorney General Denise Chancellor. "Strategic decisions with regard to investment and development of the Shootaring Mill will be made by Uranium One Inc."
And that e-mail also said: "Any attempt by ARMZ to exercise control over the license would constitute a change of control under NUREG-1566 that would require the prior written approval of" Utah regulators.
Part of the concern about the deal is that Rosatom has sent highly radioactive reactor fuel to Iran.