County commissioners seemed ready to support a resolution Monday that endorsed uranium mining in Bee County.
Commissioners listened to a presentation on uranium mining from a group of uranium mining company executives who said they were interested in doing business in Bee County.
“The industry right now is revitalizing,” said Harry Anthony, chief operating officer and director of Uranium Energy.
He said energy demands will double in the next 25 years and nuclear power will play a leading role in providing electricity to Texas residents.
He said every county in South Texas has untapped uranium reserves.
He said the United States presently imports about 90-95 percent of its uranium needs from other countries.
“There are other companies actively involved in looking at Bee County. Our company is looking at Bee County, and there are a few other companies that are currently evaluating prospects in Bee County, Anthony said.
The executives assured commissioners the method of extracting the uranium was safe. They presented a short film that described how the process works by pumping oxygenated water into the ground bearing uranium. The uranium is attracted to the oxygenated water, which is then pumped back above ground to mobile mining equipment, similar to portable oil wells. A filter collects the uranium and the oxygenated water is once again pumped below ground to collect uranium.
The executives said the oxygenated water is in a loop so that it cannot contaminate the ground water or the ground. Once the uranium is extracted, the site is cleaned so that it is in its original state, they assured the commissioners court.
Precinct 2 Commissioner Susan Stasny said she wanted to postpone adopting the resolution until the court could hear from a land owner in the Pawnee area who has had test wells sunk on his property.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Carlos Salazar Jr. said he saw no reason not to approve the resolution.
He said uranium mining has gone on in Bee County in the past and didn’t see why it should not continue.
Stasny said the companies do not need a resolution to conduct mining operations in Bee County.
Anthony said the uranium mining industry is seeking resolutions of support from counties prior to the next legislative session.
Stasny said uranium mining companies have leased property in the Pawnee area and have already drilled 15 test holes but have yet to decide whether to commence with mining operations.