August 6, 2019 / 12:09 PM / 2 months ago

Ur-Energy cuts costs after Trump declines to set uranium output quotas

Aug 6 (Reuters) - Uranium miner Ur-Energy Inc said on Tuesday it was forced to cut jobs and curb spending, following President Donald Trump’s decision last month to not set quotas for domestic production.

Trump declined to issue quotas for domestic uranium production in July and instead ordered a 90-day governmental review, saying he did not concur with a Commerce Department investigation that found uranium imports threaten to impair U.S. national security.

Trump had also ordered a deeper review by the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group, with input from several government agencies.

U.S. uranium mining firms, as well as more than two dozen western state lawmakers, have argued that nuclear generators rely heavily on adversaries such as Russia, China and Kazakhstan for uranium supply from their state-owned companies, who flood the market.

Petitions from Colorado-based Energy Fuels Inc and Ur-Energy had sought quotas requiring 25% of the U.S. uranium market be sourced domestically.

Ur-Energy, which operates the Lost Creek uranium facility in south-central Wyoming, said it “can no longer justify the added cost of maintaining full operational readiness...”

The company said it cut 10 jobs in Wyoming and lowered its production rates, while adding that it does not plan to spend on development activities, moves that are expected to save $4 million annually.

Last week, Ur-Energy had cut its full-year production numbers for Lost Creek to between 50,000 pounds and 75,000 from its previous range of 75,000 and 100,000 pounds. (Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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