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Uranium mining begins at Lost Creek in SW Wyoming

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August 6, 2013 01:24 PM EST | AP


RAWLINS, Wyo. — Wyoming's newest uranium mine is up and running.

Littleton, Colo.-based Ur-Energy Inc. announced Tuesday that production at its Lost Creek mine in southwestern Wyoming began Friday after it received a final approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The mine has been in the works for eight years. The opening comes three months after Cheyenne-based Cameco Resources opened the North Butte uranium mine in Campbell County.

Sixty full-time employees are working at Lost Creek, and there are plans to add 40 contract workers. Ur-Energy says it has long-term contracts to sell the uranium to several U.S.-based nuclear utility companies.

Wyoming produces more uranium than any other state – about 1.6 million pounds a year, or close to one-third of all U.S. production.

Casper-based Uranerz Energy Corp. also plans to open a new uranium mine in Wyoming.

Cameco, a subsidiary of one of the world's largest uranium producers, also intends to add three satellite mines in the area of its Crow Butte Mine near Crawford in western Nebraska. In Wyoming, it plans to develop another satellite mine near Smith Ranch-Highlands and a new mine in the Gas Hills area about 60 miles west of Casper.