VUI commenced its so-called scoping study back in March 201o right around the same time when the National Academies of Science announced its decision to agree to conduct the technical study of feasibility of uranium mining in Virginia (despite the obvious conflict of interests, as the study will be paid by VUI). A lot of you hoped that the scoping study would shed some light on the technical details of the proposed mining and milling project. It also sounded very promising at the time when the Coal and Energy Commission's Uranium Mining Subcommittee announced its intention to incorporate the scoping study information into its study of socioeconomic impacts of uranium mining.
We all hoped to finally learn what type of mining and milling VUI will employ, how large the mining operation will be, what will be the scale of the milling operations, how much water the mine and mill will use, where this water will come from, how much electric power the operations will need and who will be supplying that electricity, what heavy machinery will be used, what happens to the water used in the mining and milling operations, how the extracted uranium will be transported and which routes will be used and what types of precautions will be in place. We needed all this information for the study to answer many environmental, health and economic questions, such as: how much water will be consumed; how it will affect the Roanoke River Basin; what happens to the contaminated water discharged from the mine and mill, where will it go, how will it be treated before it is discharged into the environment; how much noise and air pollution will be created by mining and milling operation; how much electric power will be consumed and whether it will affect electric supply to the neighboring communities; how safe our roads will be with all these trucks carrying radioactive yellowcake. It also appears that we will probably never learn how (and if at all) the site will be reclaimed and rehabilitated once all uranium is extracted, and what will happen to the communities when the mining and milling operations get temporarily suspended when uranium prices on global markets hit low and who will be watching over radioactive uranium tailings during those periods.
Instead, we got a 4 page summary with the numbers we all have already seen. The list of occupations to be used at the mine and mill is nothing more than a list that anyone can compile by looking up on Internet general information on personnel employed at any mine and mill. The summary of the so-called scoping study does not explain how the revenue and "investment in the community" estimates were derived and what they are based on. These are not reliable estimates or even predictions; those numbers are just empty promises. A socioeconomic study that relies on empty promises will be an empty promise in itself.
To prevent this situation from happening, attend the June 22 public hearing and voice your recommendations on the scope of the socioeconomic study. Tell the Uranium Mining Subcommittee that you want the study to be based on real facts and that VUI has to provide real information on its planned operations. If you are unable to attend, you have until June 30 to send written comments to the Uranium Subcommittee.
Coles Hill Conceptual Study Results Summary
"Virginia Reports study Underway for Coles Hill Uranium Project," Marketwire
'Uranium study gets green light" by Tim Davis, Chatham Star-Tribune