US Senate passes Russian uranium import ban

The US Senate approved on Tuesday legislation that will ban imports of uranium from Russia, in an effort to disrupt Moscow’s ongoing war against Ukraine.

According to an announcement from the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act received unanimous passage in the Senate. 

US Senator for Wyoming John Barrasso says the bipartisan legislation will help defund Russia’s “unlawful” war machine in Ukraine and revive domestic uranium production.    

While the bill contains waivers in case of supply concerns, Tuesday’s development is touted to have an impact on the uranium supply landscape in the US. 

Russia accounts for 12% of US uranium imports — a gap which could affect a goal agreed between 22 countries at the 2023 COP28 convention to tripling nuclear capacity by 2050. 

Barrasso’s comments were echoed by Aurora Energy Metals (ASX:1AE) non-executive Chairman Peter Lester, who says the passing of the bill — coupled with the US Inflation Reduction Act and COP28’s pledge — creates a “favourable fiscal environment in which to be bringing a project like the AUP (Aurora Uranium Project) online”.  

“We expect the heightened focus on domestic uranium production to not only expedite the development of the US uranium projects like ours, but also to likely garner Department of Energy support for financing new mines, thereby enhancing domestic uranium production for nuclear fuel,” Lester says. 

Aurora Energy Metals’ wholly owned project sits in southeast Oregon, and was described by Lester as the “largest mineable, measured, and indicated uranium mineral resource in the US”, when he sat down with Mining.com.au in April.  

The company is in the late stages of a Scoping Study, which highlights a mid-case pit containing a total of 20.7 million tonnes (Mt) of mineralised material at 380 parts per million (ppm) uranium, with a strip ratio of 2.1:1 and a project life of 11 years. 

A conventional open pit mining method was selected, potentially using one 120-tonne class excavator matched to 60-tonne class trucks to achieve the targeted run-of-mine production rate of two million tonnes a year.

The resource of Aurora’s flagship project currently stands at 107Mt @ 214ppm triuranium octoxide for a total of 50.6 million pounds. 

With uranium stocks gathering strength, dual-listed NexGen Energy (ASX:NXG) has taken the opportunity to enter into an amended and restated $250 million placement agreement dated 30 April 2024. 

Aitken Mount Capital Partners is the lead manager and bookrunner in Australia. 

The amendment comes after Aitken decided to upsize its previously announced Australian offering to over 20.16 million shares at a price of $12.40 per share. 

Canaccord Genuity is acting as sole lead co-manger to the offering.  

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

Images: Ian Hutchinson/Unsplash
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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.