If the General Assembly votes to lift the ban on permits and create regulations for mining uranium ore, it will then be up to state, federal and county authorities, including the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, to decide whether or not to issue permits for mining the Coles Hill deposit.

However, even the opposition is confident that mining at the project will proceed once the moratorium is lifted. Nathan Lott, executive director of the Virginia Conservation Network, a coalition of environmental groups, conceded, “[y]ou don't create an expansive regulatory regime unless you have the intent to mine," as per a report by Rex Springston of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

United States' bid for energy independence at risk

Energy independence in the United States relies heavily on the nation's ability to develop its own natural resources for domestic use. In a country that consumes 55 million pounds of uranium fuel a year, but only produces 4 million pounds, the development of significant uranium deposits like Coles Hill is all the more important.

That is especially true in light of Monday's news that Uranium One (TSX:UUU) will now be wholly owned by Russian state-controlled miner ARMZ. Uranium One holds the Willow Creek uranium mine, which is located in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming; it produced 214,800 pounds of U3O8 in 2011 and has significant potential for expansion. On Monday, Uranium One announced that ARMZ will pay C$1.3 billion for the remaining 48.6 percent of the company not already under its control. The Russian company plans to delist Uranium One. Uranium Investing News will continue to follow both these stories as they unfold.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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