Rabu, 03 Desember 2014


Nuclear Reactors Restart Uranium Mines

Commodities / Uranium Dec 03, 2014 - 09:03 AM GMT

Thomas Drolet has decades of experience in capitalizing on the movement of international energy markets. The chief of Drolet & Associates Energy Services is not sanguine about the long-term potential of fracking, but in this interview with The Mining Report, he tells us why now is a great time to reinvest in the uranium space.
The Mining Report: It's been a rough couple of years for uranium prices. Realistically, could news of possible restarts of nuclear plants in Japan positively impact the price of uranium, even if it's only psychologically?

Thomas Drolet: The psychology of Japan restarts has been driving the spot price; perhaps it will start to move the all-important long-term price, too. The long-term price is the signal that the utilities are buying. It is paramount to core value investing.

Let's talk about Japan. My observation, after having been there several times post-Fukushima Daiichi, is that there is a giant tug-o-war going on. Pulling on one end of the rope is Japanese industry, which is paying a high price for fossil fuels replacement electricity, and the current government, which is definitely for bringing the nuclear plants back on-line. Tugging on the other end of the rope is a profoundly fearful public. Hanging onto the middle of the rope is Japan's new nuclear regulatory agency. It will take time for this stronger regulator to finish a series of mandated safety checks before it can authorize bringing back some of the mothballed reactors.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. Inc. (9508:TKY) plans to restart two reactors at Sendai in the middle of Q1/15. This is sending a positive signal to the whole uranium production and supply space. However, the inventory of fuel at the Japanese reactors is very high; the utilities had long-term contracts when they were shut down. And those contracts generally could not be terminated. The large, existing inventory of fuel will be gradually eaten up as reactors restart after wending their way through nuclear regulatory approvals, prefecture approvals, local town approvals and, finally, national government approval.

TMR: Will the Japanese be building new reactors, as well as bringing back the ones that were mothballed?

TD: The Japanese have announced the intent to start building a couple of new reactors, but I do not see any real progress yet on the early-stage design efforts. What I do see is that the major reactor suppliers from Japan—Mitsubishi Corp. (MSBSHY:OTCPK), Toshiba Corp. (TOSBF:OTC: 6502:TKY)—are actually doing the opposite; they are concentrating overseas. They are doing deals in the United States, in Europe, in Southeast Asia.

Two years ago in the U.S., there were 104 working reactors. Six of them were stilled for valid local or contractual reasons: i.e., the argument with a supplier of new heat exchangers for San Onofre took two units out. And there was significant displeasure in the Northeast with a couple of reactors, and one in Wisconsin. Anyway, we are down to 98 reactors in the U.S. now.

In the U.S., four new AP1000 reactors, each one delivering 1,200 megawatts, are being built by Toshiba/Westinghouse Electric Co. Toshiba is the master contractor, supervising Westinghouse and, among others, Chicago Bridge & Iron Co. N.V. (CBI:NYSE). Until these four reactors are operating successfully, roughly on schedule and roughly on budget, the U.S. is not going to be a high-growth area for nuclear power. Waiting on the sidelines, major utilities like Duke Energy Corp. (DUK:NYSE), Exelon Corp. (EXC:NYSE) and Entergy Corp. (ETR:NYSE) are in the very early stages of applying for new reactor builds.

TMR: Given this environment, how do spot prices relate to long-term contracts in the uranium market?

TD: Spot is simply uranium put up by suppliers for short-term cash needs. The price is almost certain to be taken up further by a smart utility, or by the enrichers, the firms that enrich the uranium that goes into the fuel fabrication process and eventually burns in the reactors. Current activity in the spot market is a signal that a corner is turning. Uranium fell to ~$30/pound ($30/lb) on the spot market in the early fall. That is below the average cost of worldwide production by a good US$10. The price obviously cannot stay there because people have to make money to stay in business.

Although an important corner has turned, I am not saying that there is massive upside for all uranium companies as a result of what is happening on the spot side. There will be a slow and steady climb driven by major utilities coming in on buying cycles that meet their internal needs.

TMR: When the long-term prices shoot up, who will benefit?

TD: The uptick will mostly benefit the big producers and the current suppliers, such as Cameco Corp. (CCO:TSX; CCJ:NYSE) and Denison Mines Corp. (DML:TSX; DNN:NYSE.MKT). Juniors such as Ur-Energy Inc. (URE:TSX; URG:NYSE.MKT) may catch a bit of that wave. Interestingly, Ur-Energy has ramped up production to about 600,000 pounds (600,000 lbs) this year at its Lost Creek operation in Wyoming. The company is very transparent. According to its CEO, the firm's production cash costs are averaging $22–23/lb. Ur-Energy is selling into the long-term market. It has 5 million pounds under contract through 2021 at an average price of $50/lb. Targeting the long-term users is a smart move. And, importantly, Ur-Energy's capital and production costs are relatively low, because it does solution mining.

TMR: How does solution mining create cost efficiencies?

TD: In the Athabasca Basin, by counter-example, miners typically drill vertical mine shafts into a very hard, but high-yielding uranium-rich rock. However, the capital cost of hard rock mining is high.

The solution miners, on the other hand, drill both vertical and horizontal holes to introduce solutions. A solution is injected into the bore hole and, after it sits for a while, it is pumped out and U3O8 yellowcake is then precipitated out.

TMR: What are the components of the solution?

TD: It depends on the chemistry of the rock. It can be mildly acidic; it can be mildly basic. The solutions are not toxic by any industry standards.

TMR: Are Ur-Energy's long-term contracts economic? Is $50/lb going to hold up?

TD: Yes, the $50/lb is tied up until 2021. With an average production cost base of approximately $20–25/lb, that is very economic. Ur-Energy is solidifying its book for the next six years at a cost that is roughly half of its average sale price. In short, solution mining is quick off the mark, it is relatively low capital cost. Smart juniors, like Ur-Energy, are signing long-term contracts.

TMR: Is Ur-Energy still exploring the Lost Creek region?

TD: It has various properties around the Lost Creek. But, I understand the managers want to create a steady cash flow before investing capital in the other areas. When those other areas are developed, there will be an economy of scale already in place, perhaps with a precipitating mill and network of pipelines serving multiple extraction sites.

TMR: Let's look at the Athabasca juniors. Who are you following there?

TD: I am on the Advisory Committee with Lakeland Resources Inc. (LK:TSX.V) and Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (SYH:TSX.V). Lakeland and Skyharbour have agglomerated properties around successful mid-cap developers like Fission Uranium Corp. (FCU:TSX), and seniors like Denison and Cameco. In my opinion they both have a high probability of finding high-yielding uranium-bearing rock.

The problem that all hard rock Athabasca juniors share is the time and money it takes to develop a producing mine. Each junior has to survive this very difficult market and still raise the required exploration and production funds. The uranium spot and long-term price markets will continue to slowly improve. This will enable the juniors access to capital markets. Right now, most juniors in the Athabasca are supporting themselves by issuing equity, or associating with capital groups or getting gobbled by the big guys, the Camecos, the Denisons, the AREVA SAs (AREVA:EPA) of this world. That has been the way of the oil and gas junior business, and that will ultimately be the way in the uranium junior business, as well, in my opinion.

TMR: How is the stock market treating the Athabasca juniors?

TD: The stock prices are down about 30% from the peak of a year ago. Investors exited uranium mining en masse because Japan did not appear to be coming back. And, not well reported, China's reactor program temporarily slowed down after Fukushima Daiichi as well. Now, new Chinese reactor developments are back with a vengeance. Both the spot and the long-term prices will benefit from China's immediate and near-term nuclear fuel needs.

In the Middle East, four reactors are being built by South Koreans for the United Arab Emirates. These will need a reliable fuel stream. The Russians just signed up for building two reactors, and maybe four more, in Iran. The Russians have a particularly unique and clever marketing business strategy—compared to majors like AREVAs and Westinghouse. They are doing turnkey operations for their customers. The Russians will design the reactor, build it, and either run it directly or train the client to operate it. They will supply the fuel and, also, take it back for disposal.

TMR: Will Russia have to go into the global market for uranium?

TD: Russia will supply the uranium, enrich it and fabricate it within the boundaries of Russia. Also using the Kazakhstani reserves, Russia will supply yellowcake for the reactors that it builds, be they in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia or Bangladesh. Russia is the most aggressive nuclear reactor exporting nation on the face of the earth at the moment.

TMR: What kind of creative financing are the uranium juniors using to keep moving ahead in this environment?

TD: Lakeland is backed by a capital group called Zimtu Capital Corp. (ZC:TSX.V). Zimtu holds preferential positions in a dozen or so companies. It helps these firms to access other capital sources. Until the share prices rebound somewhat for the juniors, there is not a lot that the Athabasca juniors can do other than to make sound investments in new properties, continue drilling their well positioned properties and potentially associate with capital suppliers that are willing to take a preferential position. Otherwise, a junior will fall into the spiral of the dilution mode. Never good for shareholders.

TMR: Leaving uranium, what are the driving forces affecting the price of oil and gas today?

TD: There are several forces driving these prices. Nation states such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Iran are taking over the place of the international integrateds. Nation states with large oil reserves are attending to their own needs and gradually blowing off the integrateds.

Second, the revolutionary advance of fracking and horizontal drilling has taken away a lot of the uncertainty about future supply. There is indeed a large supply of tight oils and shale gas, with the new technology to extract it. However, the price is not going to stay down forever. There is a new and important phenomenon emerging.

We will soon start to run out of shallow, easy-to-access, reasonably permeable, low decline rate tight oil and shale gas zones. President Obama has said that fracking and horizontal drilling will provide a transitional fuel source for the next 50 years. I personally doubt that that super supply will last that long, simply because the decline rates are huge and have a long, low tail. Frackers have been able to get their money back in one to two years, but as production drops, I worry about the high, never ending, poke-a-new-hole drilling cost syndrome.

TMR: How does the strong dollar affect junior miners in Canada?

TD: The cost of operating a drill rig is paid in Canadian dollars, which is substantially below the U.S. dollar. That means that the capital and operating costs for oil and gas companies is denominated in a currency that is 15% less than the currency tied to the sale of the product!

TMR: What shale oil and gas firms are poised to do well as the energy environment continues to evolve, as you say?

TD: The big guys: the Chevrons (CVX:NYSE), the Exxon Mobils (XOM:NYSE), the big integrateds in North America stand to last the longest in this necessary constant high cost drilling environment.

TMR: Are oil and gas juniors doomed?

TD: Most of the juniors will survive. Eventually, the good ones will be bought up because that is the way of the world. The little ones get bought up by the big guys.

TMR: Is now a good time to invest in major electrical utilities?

TD: Yes. A lot of them have been beaten down, because we are still emerging from a difficult period in the U.S. But as the U.S. economy picks up steam, the big, well-managed utilities—the Dukes, the Exelons, the Entergys, the Pacific Gas and Electrics (PCG:NSYE)—are good places to invest for the long term.

TMR: Thanks for your insights, Thomas.

TD: You are welcome, Peter.

Thomas Drolet is the principal of Drolet & Associates Energy Services Inc. He has had a four-decade career in many phases of energy—nuclear, coal, natural gas, geothermal and distributed generation, with expertise in commercial aspects, research and development, engineering, operations and consulting. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Royal Military College of Canada, a master's of science degree in nuclear technology/chemical engineering and a DIC from Imperial College, University of London, England. He spent 26 years with North America's largest nuclear utility, Ontario Hydro, in various nuclear engineering, research and operations functions.

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1) Peter Byrne conducted this interview for Streetwise Reports LLC, publisher of The Gold Report, The Energy Report, The Life Sciences Report and The Mining Report, and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an independent contractor. He owns, or his family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
2) Thomas Drolet: I own, or my family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I personally am, or my family is, paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. My company has a financial relationship (options) with the following companies mentioned in this interview: Lakeland Resources Inc. and Skyharbour Resources Ltd. I was not paid by Streetwise Reports for participating in this interview. Comments and opinions expressed are my own comments and opinions. I determined and had final say over which companies would be included in the interview based on my research, understanding of the sector and interview theme. I had the opportunity to review the interview for accuracy as of the date of the interview and am responsible for the content of the interview.
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U.S. Federal Reserve - The Birth of a Monster

Politics / US Federal Reserve Bank Dec 01, 2014 - 01:35 PM GMT

The Federal Reserve’s doors have been open for “business” for one hundred years. In explaining the creation of this money-making machine (pun intended — the Fed remits nearly $100 bn. in profits each year to Congress) most people fall into one of two camps.
Those inclined to view the Fed as a helpful institution, fostering financial stability in a world of error-prone capitalists, explain the creation of the Fed as a natural and healthy outgrowth of the troubled National Banking System. How helpful the Fed has been is questionable at best, and in a recent book edited by Joe Salerno and me — The Fed at One Hundred — various contributors outline many (though by no means all) of the Fed’s shortcomings over the past century.

Others, mostly those with a skeptical view of the Fed, treat its creation as an exercise in secretive government meddling (as in G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island) or crony capitalism run amok (as in Murray Rothbard’s The Case Against the Fed).

In my own chapter in The Fed at One Hundred I find sympathies with both groups (you can download the chapter pdf here). The actual creation of the Fed is a tragically beautiful case study in closed-door Congressional deals and big banking’s ultimate victory over the American public. Neither of these facts emerged from nowhere, however. The fateful events that transpired in 1910 on Jekyll Island were the evolutionary outcome of over fifty years of government meddling in money. As such, the Fed is a natural (though terribly unfortunate) outgrowth of an ever more flawed and repressive monetary system.

Before the Fed

Allow me to give a brief reverse biographical sketch of the events leading up to the creation of a monster in 1914.
Unlike many controversial laws and policies of the American government — such as the Affordable Care Act, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or the War on Terror — the Federal Reserve Act passed with very little public outcry. Also strange for an industry effectively cartelized, the banking establishment welcomed the Fed with open arms. What gives?
By the early twentieth century, America’s banking system was in a shambles. Fractional-reserve banks faced with “runs” (which didn’t have to be runs with the pandemonium that usually accompanies them, but rather just banks having insufficient cash to meet daily withdrawal requests) frequently suspended cash redemptions or issued claims to “clearinghouse certificates.” These certificates were a money substitute making use of the whole banking system’s reserves held by large clearinghouses.
Both of these “solutions” to the common bank run were illegal as they allowed a bank to redefine the terms of the original deposit contract. This fact notwithstanding, the US government turned a blind eye as the alternative (widespread bank failures) was perceived to be far worse.
The creation of the Fed, the ensuing centralization of reserves, and the creation of a more elastic money supply was welcomed by the government as a way to eliminate those pesky and illegal (yet permitted) banking activities of redemption suspensions and the issuance of clearinghouse certificates. The Fed returned legitimacy to the laws of the land. That is, it addressed the government’s fear that non-enforcement of a law would raise broader questions about the general rule of law.
The Fed provided a quick fix to depositors by reducing cases of suspensions of their accounts. And the banking industry saw the Fed as a way to serve clients better without incurring a cost (fewer bank runs) and at the same time coordinate their activities to expand credit in unison and maximize their own profits.
In short, the Federal Reserve Act had a solution for everyone.
Taking a central role in this story are the private clearinghouses which provided for many of the Fed’s roles before 1914. Indeed, America’s private clearinghouses were viewed as having as many powers as European central banks of the day, and the creation of the Fed was really just an effort to make the illegal practices of the clearinghouses legal by government institutionalization.

Why Did Clearinghouses Have So Much Power?

Throughout the late nineteenth century, clearinghouses used each new banking crisis to introduce a new type of policy, bringing them ever closer in appearance to a central bank. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are examples of power grabs by the clearinghouses, but rather rational responses to fundamental problems in a troubled American banking system.
When bank runs occurred, the clearinghouse certificate came into use, first in 1857, but confined to the interbank market to economize on reserves. Transactions could be cleared in specie, but lacking sufficient reserves, a troubled bank could make use of the certificates. These certificates were jointly guaranteed by all banks in the clearinghouse system through their pooled reserves. This joint guarantee was welcomed by unstable banks with poor reserve positions, and imposed a cost on more prudently managed banks (as is the case today with deposit insurance). A prudent bank could complain, but if it wanted to use a clearinghouse’s services and reap the cost advantages it had to comply with the reserve-pooling policy.
As the magnitude of the banking crisis intensified, clearinghouses started permitting banks to issue the certificates directly to the public (starting with the Panic of 1873) to further stymie reserve drains. (These issues to the general public amounted to illegal money substitutes, though they were tolerated, as noted above.)

Fractional-Reserve Free Banking and Bust

The year 1857 is a somewhat strange one for these clearinghouse certificates to make their first appearance. It was, after all, a full twenty years into America’s experiment with fractional-reserve free banking. This banking system was able to function stably, especially compared to more regulated periods or central banking regimes. However, the dislocation between deposit and lending activities set in motion a credit-fueled boom that culminated in the Panic of 1857.
This boom and panic has all the makings of an Austrian business cycle. Banks overextended themselves to finance the booming industries during America’s westward advance, primarily the railways. Land speculation was rampant. As realized profits came in under expectations, investors got skittish and withdrew money from banks. Troubled banks turned to the recently established New York Clearing House to promote stability. Certain rights were voluntarily abrogated in return for a guarantee on their solvency.
The original sin of the free-banking period was its fractional-reserve foundation. Without the ability to fund lending activity with their deposit base, banks never would have financed the boom to the extent that it became a destabilizing factor. Westward expansion and investment would still have occurred, though it would have occurred in a sustainable way funded through equity investments and loans. (These types of financing were used, though as is the case today, this occurred less than would be the case given the fractional-reserve banking system’s essentially cost-free funding source: the deposit base.)
In conclusion, the Fed was not birthed from nothing in 1913. The monster was the natural outgrowth of an increasingly troubled banking system. In searching for the original problem that set in motion the events culminating in the creation of the Fed, one must draw attention to the Panic of 1857 as the spark that set in motion ever more destabilizing policies. The Panic itself is a textbook example of an Austrian business cycle, caused by the lending activities of fractional-reserve banks. This original sin of the banking system concluded with the birth of a monster in 1914: The Federal Reserve. 
David Howden is a PhD candidate at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, in Madrid, and winner of the Mises Institute's Douglas E. French Prize. Send him mail. See his article archives. Comment on the blog.

© 2014 Copyright Ludwig von Mises - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.
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Putin’s World: Why Russia’s Showdown with the West Will Worsen

Politics / Russia Nov 20, 2014 - 12:22 PM GMT
Russia and its redoubtable president, Vladimir Putin, have been much in the news lately. The latest flurry came when Putin was taken out behind the woodshed at the G20 conference in the Philippines last weekend over his recent moves to inject more Russian troops and arms into Ukraine.

For today’s Outside the Box we have two pieces that deliver deeper insights into the situation with Russia and Putin. The first is from my good friend Ian Bremmer, President of the Eurasia Group and author of Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World. You probably caught my mention of Ian’s presentation at the institutional fund manager conference where we both spoke last weekend. He had some unsettling things to say about Russia; and so when he followed up with an email to me on Monday, I asked if he’d let me share the section on Russia with you. Understand, Ian is connected, and so what you’re about to be treated to here is analysis from way inside. (He’ll be presenting at our Strategic Investment Conference again next April, too.)

Then we turn to a piece that my friend Vitaliy Katsenelson published last week in his monthly column in Institutional Investor. I need to preface this one by mentioning that Vitaliy was born in Murmansk, Russia, where he lived until age 18, when his family emigrated to the US. Fast-forward 23 years, and today Vitaliy is Chief Investment Officer for Investment Management Associates in Denver and author of the highly successful Active Value Investing: Making Money in Range-Bound Markets and The Little Book of Sideways Markets. That’s quite a journey, and Vitaliy has some very strong feelings about the country he left as well as the one he came to. In his intro to today’s piece he admits,

[This is] one of the most emotionally taxing things I ever wrote. A few days ago my wife looked at me and said, “When are you going to be done with it; this article is bringing you down.” She was right.

But I think you’ll agree that when Vitaliy recently subjected himself to a 7-day news diet of nothing but Russian media, the better to comprehend current Russian attitudes, he resurfaced with some valuable insights.

And I can’t leave our deliberations on all things Russia and Putin without mentioning again Marin Katusa’s new book, The Colder War, which I featured in Outside the Box two weeks ago. It’s a compelling survey of the history and dynamics of world energy markets and the role that Putin seeks to play in them.

Geopolitically, the world seems to be a calmer place as we head into the Christmas season, with the significant and glaring exception of Russia. And remember, falling oil prices will seriously impact an already stressed Russian economy.

But before we turn to the eye-opening if somber notes below, I want to share with you a fabulous story from my friend Art Cashin, who is one of the world’s great raconteurs. I make sure to have dinner with Art whenever I’m in New York. In addition to his wisdom concerning the markets, he simply has the best stories. The last dinner (also attended by Barry Ritholtz and Josh Brown) was at an establishment called Sparks, an old New York watering hole and famous steakhouse not far from Grand Central Station.

Art shared the following story with us and had us in tears. Back in the day, the New York Stock Exchange was a mighty interesting place with a very curious cast of interesting and interlocking personalities. It has calmed down some over the decades, but the stories … well, let’s just let Art tell it.

For years, one of the communal tables at the Luncheon Club would issue a group challenge. They would all set a target for losing weight by some date a couple of months out. The one who weighed up furthest from their target had to buy dinner for the others.

In 1985, the loser was Maurice (Monk) Meyer of Henderson Brothers. Among the others were Jack (Jackie D) D’Alessandro, Pat McCarthy, Bill Fitzpatrick, and Roger Hochstin.

They decided to turn the event into a sort of a Christmas party and scheduled the dinner for the week before Christmas. They made reservations at Sparks Steakhouse.

As the day approached, there was an unexpected development. Mafia kingpin Paul Castellano was gunned down, along with his driver, on the sidewalk outside Sparks.

Nevertheless, the show must go on.

When the fated date arrived, the group decided to meet at the Luncheon Club bar for some rehearsal cocktails. They rehearsed for a couple of hours and then headed for Sparks.

As they arrived, around 7:00, there were some early hints it might be a bumpy evening. When they walked in, the hostess asked if they had reservations. “Only about the food,” snapped Pat McCarthy. That was followed by the maître d’ asking where they’d like to sit, only to hear Roger say, “In the non-shooting section, please.”

Once they were seated, they ignored the menu and ordered more cocktails and several bottles of wine. For the next three hours, they ignored the pleas of several waiters and the maître d’ to order some food to go along with the wine and drinks.

In the meantime, Roger may have been getting bored. He noticed another table with six Japanese men in their twenties and one older man, who looked maybe 60.

Somehow, Roger found a Chinese takeout menu from Chou Lu in his pocket. He put his napkin over his arm as though he were a waiter and went over to the table of Japanese men and began reading the menu in a form of broken Chinglish that would have embarrassed even the producers of the old Charlie Chan movies. Things like “Pork Flied Lice.”

Ironically, only the older man spoke English, and he seemed to think it was a wonderful joke. He told Roger that Roger’s table seemed to be having a wonderful time and asked if he might join it briefly.

Roger brought him over and introduced him around. There was a pleasant exchange for about 15 minutes and then Jackie D asked him where in Japan he came from. They man replied – “Actually, I’m from Okinawa.” Bill Fitzpatrick darkened and said, pointedly, “My favorite uncle was killed on Okinawa by you people during the war.” The man quickly excused himself.

Pat McCarthy reminded Bill that he had not had an uncle in the war. Jack turned to Pat and said, “That doesn’t matter; Bill went through the barrier about two drinks ago.”

Anyway, the waiter finally prevailed upon the boys to order entrees by 10:00. Meanwhile, Maurice was sinking fast. He had come out despite a bad case of the flu, since he was the designated payer. It quickly became evident that Meyer would not make it much past 10:30. He called for the check.

As they were about to help Meyer to his feet, Jackie D noticed that McCarthy had had his untouched entrée put into a doggie bag. Not wanting to be outdone, Jackie reached down and put his medium rare petite filet in his inside jacket pocket without benefit of a doggie bag.

At the coatrack, Jackie attempted to help Meyer get his overcoat on. In doing so Jack lifted his own hand high and out. That swept his jacket off to the side, revealing a shirt dripping with blood from the medium rare filet in his pocket.

Perhaps recalling Castellano’s recent fate, one woman at a table spotted Jack’s shirt and screamed, “My God! He’s been shot!”

Everybody in the restaurant hit the deck, including the maître d’ and our adventurous group. When everyone got back to their feet, the maître d’ told the boys they were never allowed back – collectively or individually.

In a huff, the boys headed off to the John Barleycorn.

Art can go on all night with stories like that. You really should put them into a book, Art.

You have a great week. I am off to the gym, where The Beast will continue to try to whip this poor old body into some similitude of shape.

Your still smiling from all the great stories analyst,

John Mauldin, Editor
Outside the Box

Notes on Russia

By Ian Bremmer
Nov. 17, 2014

the russians are taking every opportunity to escalate an already plenty hostile relationship with the united states and some selected allies. the g20 summit was particularly negative on that front, with russian president putin bringing along some warships to australia, while canadian prime minister stephen harper led a rope line of western leaders calling putin a scoundrel and a liar. putin left early, claiming a need to catch up on sleep and some other business to attend to.

like in ukraine.

i had a chance to talk with some senior russians last week, including two advisors to the kremlin. they explained that putin expected his offer of a ceasefire in southeast ukraine would be sufficient to get the americans to tolerate a status quo, while bringing the europeans to the table with some sanctions reductions. that didn’t happen: instead a coordinated harder line policy stayed in place, while the americans and germans looked set to put more sanctions in place unless the russians actively backed down. despite mounting economic pressure on the europeans, the frozen conflict/long game the kremlin was playing didn’t look like it was going to succeed.

and so the kremlin moved backed to escalation, dramatically expanding their direct military presence in the region – confirmed by nato and the typically-conservative osce, denied by the russian government – and announcing plans to build up troops in crimea. they’re preparing both sides to consolidate their territory, initially through taking the port city of mariupol...potentially then a land-bridge between eastern ukraine and crimea and beyond (odessa being the most obvious place). the most likely path is the kremlin now looking for provocations to “go further” – they’ve already expressed a level of outrage around the ukrainian government severing economic ties to the separatist region – then the fiction of ceasefire is erased and the russians/separatists take more territory. ultimately, whatever the formalized “governance” structure, the kremlin is moving towards making crimea and southeast ukraine a single place.

there’s very little the ukrainians can do. the ukrainian military will remain badly outgunned, and the local populations in the region remain fairly anti-kiev, even if they’re skittish about the notion of russian takeover. we’ll see a pickup in international calls to provide arms for the ukrainian military, but they’ll be rejected, most particularly by the united states. at best we’ll see a step up in intelligence and training support, to little consequence.

putin’s military efforts are also stepping up outside ukraine: the “unknown” but clearly russian submarine off sweden, a russian nuclear armed exercise during an intelligence meeting in denmark; bomber patrols in the gulf of mexico. they’re all bluster, but a clear message to america and its allies...and pose a far higher potential for accidents – one scandanavian airlines flight recently made an emergency alteration to its flight path when a russian military jet suddenly appeared in front of it.

the likelihood of moscow backing down in this environment is near zero. the sanctions aren’t having a meaningful impact on the russian economy (yet) and the popularity of the kremlin isn’t taking a hit. the speech from former soviet general secretary mikhail gorbachev – no fan of putin, but clearly pointing the finger at the west for russia’s troubles – makes that clear. and it’s getting harder for the americans to find an out. german chancellor angela merkel continues to be the best opportunity for compromise, but her relationship with putin is now only barely functional (the kremlin advisors i spoke with said this was the single biggest misstep from putin to date – they believed his bilateral conversations with her were too aggressive and led merkel to feel misled; neither believed the relationship could be salvaged near-term). and so russians are now presuming the sanctions environment will be there for the long haul, and are thinking about the longer term economic implications.

i’d now say that’s meaningful before we get to russia’s 2018 elections: further sanctions causing steep recession leading to unrest in the regions, which begins to metastasize to the cities. that would spook russian elites, some of whom could split from the kremlin. the key early warning indicator would be meaningful defections of any insiders to the west. but critically, we’re at least a year or two away from that. by which time ukraine has been economically devastated, while the strategic shift of russia-china is thoroughly entrenched.

Putin’s World: Why Russia’s Showdown with the West Will Worsen

By Vitaliy Katsenelson
Institutional Investor, Nov. 17, 2014
My father, Naum Katsenelson, painted this watercolor, “Dolls Become Humans,” two years after we came to the United States in 1993. This is the only “thematic” picture my father ever painted.

If you look at the picture carefully you’ll see the silhouette of Lenin in the clouds (representing the past). On the far left there is a Stalin doll and a line of people going to prison. Across from Stalin on the right there is a doll of Brezhnev (you’ll recognize him by his large, distinct eyebrows). On the building on the right there is an image of Gorbachev. Look carefully at the faces in the foreground (representing the present and the future): as they get closer to you they become more humanized – transforming from dolls into humans. The man in front of the woman draped in the American flag is my father; the boy with the Star of David on his chest is me.

This was an aspirational picture. In 1993 the Soviet Union fell apart. Russia’s future looked bright – although it was in chaos, it was a democracy. The dolls here are an analogy for robots, suggesting uniformity of thought. As I was composing this I called my father and asked him if he’d paint the same picture today. He said, “No. Today’s picture would look very different.”

I spent three months aggravating over the following article. It was one of the most emotionally taxing things I ever wrote. A few days ago my wife looked at me and said, “When are you going to be done with it; this article is bringing you down.” She was right.

I grew up hating America. I lived in the Soviet Union and was a child of the cold war. That hate went away in 1989, though, when the Berlin Wall fell and the cold war ended. By the time I left Russia in 1991, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, America was a country that Russians looked up to and wanted to emulate.

Twenty-three years later, a new version of cold war is back, though we Americans haven't realized it yet. But I am getting ahead of myself.

After Russia invaded Crimea and staged its referendum, I thought Vladimir Putin's foreign excursions were over. Taking back Crimea violated plenty of international laws, but let's be honest. Though major powers like the U.S. and Russia write the international laws, they are not really expected to abide by those laws if they find them not to be in their best interests. Those laws are for everyone else. I am not condoning such behavior, but I can clearly see how Russians could justify taking Crimea back – after all, it used to belong to Russia.

I was perplexed by how the Russian people could possibly support and not be outraged by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But I live in Denver, and I read mostly U.S. and European newspapers. I wanted to see what was going on in Russia and Ukraine from the Russian perspective, so I went on a seven-day news diet: I watched only Russian TV – Channel One Russia, the state-owned broadcaster, which I hadn't seen in more than 20 years – and read Pravda, the Russian newspaper whose name means "Truth." Here is what I learned:

If Russia did not reclaim Crimea, once the new, illegitimate government came to power in Ukraine, the Russian navy would have been kicked out and the U.S. navy would have started using Crimean ports as navy bases. There are no Russian troops in Ukraine, nor were there ever any there. If any Russian soldiers were found there (and there were), those soldiers were on leave. They went to Ukraine to support their Russian brothers and sisters who are being abused by Ukrainian nationalists. (They may have borrowed a tank or two, or a highly specialized Russian-made missile system that is capable of shooting down planes, but for some reason those details are not mentioned much in the Russian media.) On November 12, NATO reported that Russian tanks had entered Ukraine. The Russian government vehemently denied it, blaming NATO for being anti-Russian.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was not downed by Russia or separatists. It was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired by Ukraine or a NATO plane engaged in military exercises in Ukraine at the time. The U.S. has the satellite imagery but is afraid of the truth and chooses not to share it with the world.

Ukraine was destabilized by the U.S., which spent $5 billion on this project. As proof, TV news showed a video of Senator John McCain giving a speech to antigovernment protesters in Kiev's Maidan Square. It was followed by a video of Vice President Joe Biden visiting Ukraine during the tumult. I wasn't sure what his role was, but it was implied that he had something to do with the unrest.

Speaking of Joe Biden, I learned that his son just joined the board of Ukraine's largest natural gas company, which will benefit significantly from a destabilized Ukraine.

Ukraine is a zoo of a country, deeply corrupt and overrun by Russian-haters and neo-Nazis (Banderovtsi – Ukrainian nationalists who were responsible for killing Russians and Jews during World War II).

Candidates for the recent parliamentary election in Ukraine included Darth Vader (not kidding), as well as a gay ex-prostitute who claims to be a working man's man but lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion.

I have to confess, it is hard not to develop a lot of self-doubt about your previously held views when you watch Russian TV for a week. But then you have to remind yourself that Putin's Russia doesn't have a free press. The free press that briefly existed after the Soviet Union collapsed is gone – Putin killed it. The government controls most TV channels, radio and newspapers. What Russians see on TV, read in print and listen to on the radio is direct propaganda from the Kremlin.

Before I go further, let's visit the definition of propaganda with the help of the Oxford English Dictionary: "The systematic dissemination of information, especially in a biased or misleading way, in order to promote a political cause or point of view."

I always thought of the Internet as an unstoppable democratic force that would always let the truth slip out through the cracks in even the most determined wall of propaganda. I was wrong. After watching Russian TV, you would not want to read the Western press, because you'd be convinced it was lying. More important, Russian TV is so potent that you would not even want to watch anything else, because you would be convinced that you were in possession of indisputable facts.

Russian's propaganda works by forcing your right brain (the emotional one) to overpower your left brain (the logical one), while clogging all your logical filters. Here is an example: Russian TV shows footage of schools in eastern Ukraine bombed by the Ukrainian army. Anyone's heart would bleed, seeing these gruesome images. It is impossible not to feel hatred toward people who would perpetrate such an atrocity on their own population. It was explained to viewers that the Ukrainian army continued its offensive despite a cease-fire agreement.

Of course if you watched Ukrainian TV, you would have seen similar images of death and despair on the other side. In fact, if you read Ukrainian newspapers, you will learn that the Ukrainian army is fighting a well-armed army, not rebels with Molotovs and handguns, but an organized force fully armed by the Russian army.

What viewers were not shown was that the cease-fire had been broken before the fighting resumed. The fact that Putin helped to instigate this war was never mentioned. Facts are not something Russian TV is concerned about. As emotional images and a lot of disinformation pump up your right brain, it overpowers the left, which capitulates and stops questioning the information presented.

What I also learned is that you don't have to lie to lie. Let me give you an example. I could not figure out how the Russian media came up with the $5 billion that "America spent destabilizing Ukraine." But then I found a video of a U.S. undersecretary of State giving an 8.5-minute speech; at the 7.5-minute mark, she said, "Since Ukrainian independence in 1991 … [the U.S. has] invested more than $5 billion to help Ukraine." The $5 billion figure was correct. However, it was not given to Ukraine in three months to destabilize a democratically elected, corrupt pro-Russian government but over the course of 23 years. Yes, you don't have to lie to lie; you just have to omit important facts – something Russian TV is very good at.

Another example of a right-brain attack on the left brain is "the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine." Most lies are built around kernels of truth, and this one is no different. Ukraine was home to the Banderovtsi, Ukrainian nationalists who were responsible for killing tens of thousands of Jews and Russians during World War II.

Putin justified the invasion of Crimea by claiming that he was protecting the Russian population from neo-Nazis. Russian TV creates the impression that the whole of Ukraine is overrun by Nazis. As my father puts it, "Ukrainians who lived side by side with Russians did not just become Nazis overnight."

Though there may be some neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the current government is liberal and pro-Western. Svoboda – the party whose members are known for their neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic rhetoric – did not get even 5 percent of the votes in the October election, the minimum needed to gain a significant presence in parliament. Meanwhile the TV goes on showing images of Nazis killing Russians and Jews during World War II and drawing parallels between Nazi Germany and Ukraine today.

What also makes things more difficult in Russia is that, unlike Americans, who by default don't trust their politicians – yes, even their presidents – Russians still have the czarist mentality that idolizes its leaders. Stalin was able to cultivate this to an enormous degree – most Russians thought of him as a father figure. My father was 20 when Stalin died in 1953, and he told me that he, like everyone around him, cried.

I keep thinking about what Lord Acton said: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." The Putin we scorn today was not always like this; he did a lot of good things during his first term. The two that stand out the most are getting rid of the organized crime that was killing Russia and instituting a pro-business flat tax system. The amount of power Russians give their presidents, however, will, with time, change the blood flow to anyone's head. Come to think of it, even Mother Teresa would not have stood a chance in Russia.

A few weeks ago Putin turned 62, and thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate his birthday. (Most Americans, including this one, don't even know the month of Barack Obama's birthday.)

In my misspent youth, I took a marketing class at the University of Colorado. I remember very little from that class except this: For your message to be remembered, a consumer has to hear it at least six times. Putin's propaganda folks must have taken the same class, because Russian citizens get to hear how great their president is at least six times a day.

We Americans look at Putin and see an evil KGB guy who roams around the country without a shirt on. Russians are shown a very different picture. They see a hard-working president who cares deeply about them. Every news program dedicates at least one fifth of its airtime to showcasing Putin's greatness, not in your face but in subtle ways. A typical clip would have him meeting with a cabinet minister. The minister would give his report, and Putin, looking very serious indeed, would lecture the minister on what needed to be done. Putin is always candid, direct and tough with his ministers.

I've listened to a few of Putin's speeches, and I have to admit that his oratory skills are excellent, of a J.F.K. or Reagan caliber. He doesn't give a speech; he talks. His language is accessible and full of zingers. He is very calm and logical.

Russians look at the Putin presidency and ask themselves a very pragmatic question: Am I better off now, with him, than I was before he came into power? For most the answer is yes. What most Russians don't see is that oil prices over the past 14 years went from $14 to more than $100 a barrel. They are completely responsible for the revival of Russia's one-trick petrochemical economy. In other words, they should consider why their economy has done better the past decade, and why it may not do as well going forward. Unless Putin was the one who jump-started China's insatiable demand for oil and other commodities that drove prices higher, he has had very little to do with Russia's recent "prosperity."

I place prosperity in quotes because if you take oil and gas riches away from Russia (lower prices can do that with ease), it is in a worse place today than it was 14 years ago. High oil prices have ruined Russia. They have driven its currency up, making its other products less competitive in international markets. Also, capital gravitates toward higher returns; thus oil has sucked capital from other industries, hollowing out the economy. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia had a chance to broaden its economy; it had one of the most educated workforces in the world. Sadly, it squandered that opportunity. Name one noncommodity product that is exported from Russia. There aren't many; I can think only of vodka and military equipment.

But most Russians don't look at things that way. For most of them, their lives are better now: No more lines for toilet paper, and the stores are full of food. Their personal liberties (such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press) have been taken away from them, but many have so much trust in their president that they don't mind, whereas others are simply complacent.

Today we see three factors that influence oil prices and are working against Russia: Supply is going up with U.S. shale drilling; demand growth will likely decline if the Chinese economy continues to cool; and the dollar is getting stronger, not because the U.S. doing great but just because the rest of the world is doing worse. If oil prices continue to decline, this will expose the true state of the Russian economy.

When I visited Russia in 2008, I sensed an anti-American sentiment. NATO – which in Russia is perceived as a predominantly American entity – had expanded too close to Russian borders. Georgia tried to join NATO, but Russia put a quick end to that. Russians felt they extended a friendly hand to the U.S. after 9/11, but in response America was arraying missiles around its borders. (The U.S. says they are defensive, not offensive; Russians don't see the distinction. They are probably right.)

The true colors of this new cold war came to light recently. In August 2008, according to Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury secretary at the time, "top level" Russian officials approached the Chinese during the Olympics in Beijing and proposed "that together they might sell big chunks of their GSE (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) holdings to force the U.S. to use its emergency authorities to prop up these companies."

This incident took place just weeks before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The U.S. economy was inches from revisiting the Stone Age. The proposed Russian-Chinese maneuver could have made such an outcome more likely. The Federal Reserve would have had to step in and buy Fannie's and Freddie's debt, and the dollar would have taken a dive, worsening the plunge in the U.S. economy. Our friend Putin wanted to bring the U.S. economy down without firing a single shot, just as he annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

Today anti-American sentiment is much greater in Russia. European sanctions are seen as entirely unjustified. Here is why: Crimea had a "democratic referendum," and the Ukrainian conflict is believed to be not of Russia's doing but rather an American attempt to destabilize Russia and bring Ukraine into NATO. In his annual speech at the Valdai conference last month, Putin said America had pushed an unwilling Europe into imposing sanctions on Russia. America is perceived as an imperialistic bully that, because of its economic and military power, puts its own self-interest above everyone else's, and international law.

Putin uses anti-Americanism as a shiny object to detract attention from the weak Russian economy and other internal problems. In the short run, sanctions provide a convenient excuse for the weakening Russian economy and declining ruble. They have boosted Putin's popularity (at least so far). As the Russian economy gets worse, anti-American sentiment will only rise.

This new version of the cold war has little in common with the one I grew up in. There are no ideological differences, and there is no arms race (at least not yet, and let's be honest: Today neither country can afford one, especially Russia). At the core of it, we don't like what Russia is doing to its neighbors, and Russia doesn't like what we do to the rest of the (non-EU) world.

The criticisms of U.S. foreign policy voiced by Putin in his latest Valdai speech are shared by many Americans: The U.S. is culpable in the unresolved, open-ended Afghanistan adventure; the Iraq War; the almost-bombing of Syria, which may have destabilized the region further; and the creation of the Islamic State, which is in large part a by-product of all of the above. Yet Putin's abominable Ukrainian excursion and the thousands of lives lost were never mentioned.

But there is also something less tangible that is influencing Russia's behavior: a bruised ego. During the good old Soviet Union days, Russia was a superpower. It mattered. When it spoke, the world listened. The Russian people had a great sense of pride in their Rodina (Mother Russia). Today, if Russia did not have nuclear weapons, we'd pay much less attention to it than we do. Pick a developing country without oil whose president you can name. (Okay, we Americans can't name the president of almost any other country, but you get the point.)

Anti-Americanism and Putin's popularity will both rise as the Russian economy weakens. For instance, Putin took his own people hostage when he imposed sanctions on imports of European food. The impact on Europe will not be significant (the Russian economy is not very large in comparison to the European Union), but Russia is very dependent on these imports. In the U.S. consumers spend about 13 percent of their earnings on food, but in Russia that number is almost three times larger. Therefore, food inflation hurts Russians much more. Yet as food inflation spiked, so did Putin's popularity and anti-Americanism. Even declining oil prices will be explained as a anti-Russian manipulation by the U.S.

Unfortunately, the only thing Russia has going for it today is its nuclear weapons. Russia has started to remind us of its military recently. According to NATO, the alliance "has conducted over 100 intercepts of Russian aircraft in 2014 to date, which is about three times more than were conducted in 2013."

Every article needs a conclusion, but this one doesn't have one. I am not sure what this new cold war means for the world. Will Russia start invading other neighboring countries? Will it test NATO resolve by invading Baltic countries that are part of NATO? I don't know. Economic instability will eventually lead to political crises. We have plenty of economic instability going on around the world.

I'll leave you with this thought: On March 7, 1936, the German army violated the Treaty of Versailles and entered into the Rhineland. Here is what Hitler later said:

"The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life. If the French had then marched into the Rhineland, we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even a moderate resistance."

Those two days determined what Germany would do next – build out its army and start World War II.

Comparing Putin with Hitler, as one of my Russian friends put it, is "absolutely abominable" because it diminishes Hitler's atrocities and overstates by a mile what Putin has accomplished to date. Yet it feels as if we are at a Putin-of-1936 moment. Will he turn into a Putin of 1939 and invade other countries? I don't know. But the events of the past nine months have shown Putin's willingness to defy international law and seize the advantage on the ground, betting – correctly so far – that the West won't call his bluff.

As Garry Kasparov put it, while the West is playing chess, responding tactically to each turn of events, Putin is playing high-stakes poker. We ignore Putin at our own peril.

Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA, is Chief Investment Officer at Investment Management Associates in Denver, Colo. To receive Vitaliy’s future articles by email or read his articles, click here.

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http://learnmine.blogspot.com/2013/03/10-tambang-uranium-terbesar-di-dunia.html#axzz3L09MfZ1YBeberapa Produsen Uranium terbesar di Dunia

10 tambang uranium terbesar di dunia memproduksi 29.337 ton uranium (TU), atau menyumbang 55% dari produksi global pada tahun 2010. Statistik yang disediakan oleh World Nuclear Association.

1. McArthur River (Canada) - Areva/Cameco

1 Mc Arthur River ( Canada) Areva Cameco
MacArthur Sungai terbesar di dunia memiliki tambang uranium bermutu tinggi , memproduksi 7654 ton uranium (TU), atau 14% dari produksi global, pada tahun 2010. Kadar bijih pada tambang bawah tanah rata-rata lebih dari 10% kandungan uranium, membuat mereka one hundred times the global average untuk tambang uranium. Cameco mengoperasikan tambang dan mengendalikan kepemilikan 70%, sedangkan Areva memiliki 30%.
2. Ranger (Australia) - Energy Resources of Australia Ltd.

2 Ranger ( Australia) Energy Resources of Aust
Energy Resources of Australia Ltd. (ERA) telah mengoperasikan tambang Ranger, yang terletak 260 kilometer sebelah timur dari Darwin, Australia, sejak tahun 1980. Tambang open-pit diproduksi 3216tU, sekitar 6% dari total dunia, pada tahun 2010. ERA dioperasikan dan 68% dimiliki oleh Rio Tinto.
3. Rossing (Namibia) - Rio Tinto

3 Rossing ( Namibia) Rio Tinto
Dimulai pada tahun 1976, tambang Rossing di Namibia Namib Desert adalah tambang uranium terpanjang di dunia berjalan open-pit. Rio Tinto memiliki 69% dari tambang, yang diekstrak 3077tU tahun 2010.
4. Kraznokamensk (Russia) - ARMZ

4 Kraznokamensk ( Russia) ARMZ
Kota Kraznokamensk didirikan di sekitar tambang uranium Priargunsky lebih dari 40 tahun yang lalu. Cumulative uranium production dari tambang bawah tanah sejak saat itu telah melampaui 117 000 ton. Pada tahun 2010, produksinya adalah 2920tU. Pengembangan lebih lanjut dari daerah-daerah baru dan program modal modernisasi saat ini sedang diberlakukan di tambang untuk menjaga volume produksi naik meskipun kualitas bijih menurun.
5. Arlit (Niger) - Somair:

5 Arlit ( Niger) Somair

The Somair tambang open-pit ini terletak 7 kilometer sebelah barat laut dari Arlit di Niger. Uranium diekstrak dari deposit sedimen pada kedalaman 50 sampai 70 meter dan tumpukan tercuci di situs, di tambang open-pit. Produksi di tambang, yang merupakan anak perusahaan yang sepenuhnya dimiliki oleh AREVA, diperkirakan akan mencapai 3.000 tu tahun 2012 dan, pada tingkat produksi saat ini, memiliki kehidupan yang diharapkan dari 13 tahun.
6. Tortkuduk (Kazakhstan) - Kazatomprom/Areva

6 Tortkuduk ( Kazakhstan) Kazatomprom Areva
Dioperasikan oleh KATCO JV, Site No 2 di tambang uranium Tortkuduk diproduksi 2439tU menggunakan teknik in-situ leaching pada tahun 2010. KATCO JV adalah set-up pada tahun 1996 antara Perancis Areva, yang mengontrol 51%, dan perusahaan atom nasional Kazakhstan, Kazatomprom, yang mengontrol 49% sisanya.

7. Olympic Dam (Australia) - BHP Billiton

7 Olympic Dam ( Australia) BHP Billiton
Olympic Dam terbesar di Australia dan ditandai oleh a multi-mineral ore body yang menghasilkan uranium beberapa tembaga, emas dan perak. Operasi bawah tanah menghasilkan 2330tU, atau sekitar 4% dari produksi uranium dunia, pada tahun 2010.
8. Budenovskoye 2 (Kazakhstan) - Kazatomprom

8 Kazatomprom Logo
Karatau LLP didirikan pada tahun 2005 sebagai anak perusahaan dari Kazatomprom untuk mengembangkan Site No. 2 dari deposit uranium Bedenovskoye di selatan Kazakhstan. Menggunakan in-situ pencucian, tambang yang dihasilkan 1708tU pada tahun 2010 dan memiliki kapasitas desain mencapai 3.000 tu tahun 2015.
9. South Inkai (Kazakhstan) - Kazatomprom/Uranium One

9 South Inkai ( Kazakhstan) Kazatomprom Uranium
Beroperasi di wilayah Suzak Kazakhstan, deposit uranium Inkai Selatan adalah in-situ pencucian operasi yang dioperasikan oleh gabungan perusahaan-Betpak Dala yang dimana Uranium One mengontrol bunga 70% dan Kazatomprom mengontrol keseimbangan. 1701tU diproduksi di tambang pada tahun 2010, sedangkan kapasitas desain Inkai Selatan adalah 2000tU per tahun.
10. Inkai (Kazakhstan) - Kazatomprom/Cameco

10 Inkai ( Kazakhstan) Kazatomprom Cameco

Joint Venture Inkai (JVI) mengoperasikan deposit Inkai uranium di Kazakhstan. Cameco memegang bunga 60% di JVI dan Kazatomprom memegang 40% sisanya. Produksi tambang dimulai pada 2009 dengan menggunakan in-situ teknologi pemulihan dan, pada tahun 2010, 1642tU diproduksi di blok 1 dan 2. Cameco saat ini sedang mencari persetujuan untuk memproduksi atas dari 2.3tU per tahun.
uranium di Indonesia banner



Wow! Ternyata Indonesia Miliki Cadangan Uranium Sebanyak 70.000 Ton!!

Wow! Ternyata Indonesia Miliki Cadangan Uranium 70.000 Ton!!

Uranium adalah suatu unsur kimia dalam tabel periodik yang memiliki lambang U dan nomor atom 92. Sebuah logam berat, beracun, berwarna putih keperakan dan radioaktif alami, uranium termasuk ke actinide series (seri aktinida). Isotopnya digunakan sebagai bahan bakar reaktor nuklir dan senjata nuklir. Uranium biasanya terdapat dalam jumlah kecil di bebatuan, tanah, air, tumbuhan, dan hewan (termasuk manusia).


Badan Tenaga Nuklir Nasional (Batan) memperkirakan terdapat cadangan 70 ribu ton Uranium dan 117 ribu ton Thorium yang tersebar di sejumlah lokasi di Indonesia, yang bisa bermanfaat sebagai energi alternatif di masa depan!
“Untuk Uranium potensinya dari berbagai kategori, ada yang dengan kategori terukur, tereka, teridentifikasi dan kategori hipotesis, sedangkan Thorium baru kategori hipotesis belum sampai terukur,” kata Direktur Pusat Pengembangan Geologi Nuklir Batan Agus Sumaryanto di sela peluncuran Peta Radiasi dan Radioaktivitas Lingkungan di Jakarta.
Sebagian besar cadangan Uranium kebanyakan berada di Kalimantan Barat, sebagian lagi ada di Papua, Bangka Belitung dan Sulawesi Barat, sedangkan Thorium kebanyakan di Babel dan sebagian di Kalbar.

Menarik Perhatian Pihak Asing
Perusahaan dari Amerika Serikat, Rusia, Prancis dan Cina serta negara-negara besar lainnya telah mengincar uranium yang demikian potensial di Indonesia.

PT Freeport Indonesia diberitakan menggali, memproduksi dan mengeskpor bahan uranium secara diam-diam  tanpa melaporkannya kepada pemerintah (ANTARA, 17 Juli 2011).

Freeport Indonesia, anak usaha Freeport McMoran, adalah perusahaan tambang yang beroperasi di Papua sejak tahun 1964, dan hanya diizinkan menambang emas, tembaga, dan tidak diizinkan menambang uranium.
Namun anehnya, DPRD Timika bukannya mendukung pengusutan dan penyelidikan itu, namun justru meragukan laporan tersebut dan menganggapnya tak benar. Kalangan DPRD Mimika, Papua menyatakan tidak yakin PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) secara diam-diam memproduksi uranium, demikian Wakil Ketua I DPRD Mimika, Pieter Yan Magal di Timika, ibukota Kabupaten Mimika, Rabu.
“Saya berpendapat, hal itu merupakan sesuatu yang tidak mungkin, kami tidak yakin kalau Freeport juga memproduksi uranium.Itu hanya dugaan yang tidak mendasar dan tidak punya bukti kredibel,” katanya. (sumber antara). Dengan tak didukungnya suatu penelitian mendalam oleh DPRD justru menimbulkan pertanyaan, ada permainankah dibalik ini semua?

Uraninite, also known as pitchblende, is the most common ore mined to extract uranium. (wikimedia)

Oleh sebab itu, pemerintah harus hati-hati memberikan izin tambang. Untuk  mengolah uranium dari kandungan bumi Nusantara, pemerintah jangan sampai gegabah ketika merencanakan untuk  menggali dan mengelola  sumber energi tersebut, dan biasanya diserahkan kepada investor.
Di bukit desa Takandeang, Kecamatan Tapalang, Kabupaten Mamuju, Sulawesi Barat, misalnya terdapat potensi mineral  radio aktif  antara 2.000 dan 3.000 nsw per jam.
Sedangkan pulau Sumatera, Jawa, Kalimantan, dan Papua memiliki kandungan uranium yang jumlahnya cukup menggantikan bahan minyak dan gas yang kian menipis.
Kajian terakhir dilakukan di Mamuju, Sulbar, dimana deteksi pendahuluan menyebut kadar Uranium di lokasi tersebut berkisar antara 100-1.500 ppm (part per milion) dan Thorium antara 400-1.800 ppm.

Radio Aktif Tertinggi di Indonesia Namun Tak Berbahaya

Badan Pengawas Tenaga Nuklir (Bapeten) telah melakukan penelitian atas kandungan uranium di Kabupaten Mamuju seperti di desa Takandeang, Kecamatan Tapalang, juga di desa Belang Belang, Kecamatan Kalukku, sekitar 30 kilometer dari kota Mamuju dan di Kecamatan Tobadak sekitar 100 kilometer dari kota Mamuju.
Berdasarkan hasil penelitian tambang di Mamuju, potensi uranium yang ditemukan dianggap tidak berbahaya. Sifat uranium itu hanya sebagai bahan baku untuk membangkitkan tenaga nuklir. Sehingga ia meminta Bepeten segera meneliti titik potensi kandungan uranium di Kecamatan Kalukku dan Kecamatan Tobadak itu.
Deputi Bidang Pengkajian Keselamatan Nuklir Bapeten Dr Khoirul Huda mengatakan, Bepeten sementara sedang melakukan penelitian potensi uranium di Mamuju yang diperkirakan memiliki kandungan uranium sangat tinggi sehingga dilakukan penelitian lebih mendalam.
“Hasil penelitian yang telah kami lakukan menyimpulkan Mamuju adalah daerah tertinggi radio aktifnya di Indonesia. Ini menunjukan ada potensi uranium di daerah Mamuju,” ujarnya.


Provinsi Sulawesi Barat

Ia mengatakan, potensi paling tinggi di Mamuju ditemukan di wilayah bukit Desa Takandeang, Kecamatan Tapalang, sekitar 40 kilometer dari Kota Mamuju, tinggi radioaktivitas di desa tersebut berkisar antara 2.000-3.000 nsw per jam.
Ia mengingatkan agar masyarakat tidak perlu khawatir dengan kondisi tersebut, karena ada beberapa pendekatan yang akan dilakukan dengan melakukan koordinasi dengan pemerintah daerah sebagai solusi yang harus ditindaklanjuti.
Pemerintah daerah harus membuat perencanaan infrastruktur yang memungkinkan agar bisa menghindari radioaktif yang tinggi. Umumnya jika radioaktif tinggi maka berpotensi adanya kandungan uranium. Ini juga menandakan pasti ada sesuatu kandungan yang berharga di dalamnya,” katanya.
Menteri Negara Riset dan Teknologi (Menristek) Gusti Muhammad Hatta, MS dan Kepala Badan Tenaga Nuklir Nasional Prof. Dr. Djarot S Wisnubroto mengunjungi Sintang Kalimantan Barat, pada awal Mei 2013 lalu guna meninjau potensi uranium di Kabupaten Melawi Kalimantan Barat.
Kami mengajak kepala BATAN untuk melihat langsung potensi uranium di Kabupaten Melawi,” kata Menristek. Uranium  merupakan bahan penting untuk membangun PLTN, dan pihaknya melihat langsung perkembangan uranium di Melawi, di Belitung sudah lama sedangkan di Melawi itu masih dalam bentuk Eksplorasi saja.
Potensi uranium di Kabupaten Melawi terbesar di Indonesia dan sudah dilakukan ekplorasi sejak tahun 1974. Rencana pendirian PLTN di Kalimantan Barat sebagai daerah yang aman dari gempa dan tsunami, pemerintah tengah mencari lokasi  PLTN di daerah yang potensi tsunami dan gempanya rendah.

Prancis menggelapkan data uranium?
Sementara itu, Prancis memiliki banyak data tentang kandungan uranium Kalimantan Barat. Pihak Amerika Serikat pun mengincar potensi tambang uranium di daerah ini. Menurut mantan Chief Le Sondage (Kepala Bidang Pengeboran) eksplorasi uranium Nanga Pinoh/Nanga Ella & Nanga Kalan di Commessariats L’Energi Le Anatomique (Badan Tenaga Atom Prancis), Sunarjo M BSc, Prancis waktu itu menggandeng BATAN saat melakukan penelitian.
Menurut Sunarjo, eksplorasi dimulai pada dekade tahun 60-an. Kegiatannya merambah hingga Kapuas Hulu, Landak dan Sanggau.


Sekitar tahun 1970-an eksplorasi memasuki wilayah Nangga Pinoh. Hingga sekarang, eksplorasi uranium di Kalimantan Barat belum melangkah ke tahap lanjutan.
Membuka tambang uranium tak bisa sembarangan. Bukan seperti tambang biasa. Debu kandungan uranium itu saja tak boleh bertiup ke luar areal pertambangan. Dampak lingkungannya luar biasa.
Indonesia bisa kecolongan data mengenai potensi uranium Kalimantan Barat yang mungkin pada waktu itu banyak digelapkan oleh pihak Prancis.
Sedangkan pakar ekonomi Universitas Hasanuddin di  Makassar,  Sulawesi Selatan,  Syarkawi Rauf pernah mengatakan,  kandungan uranium di Mamuju itu mempunyai potensi terbaik di Indonesia. Oleh karena itu, Rauf meminta agar  pemerintah mengelola tambang uranium itu dengan baik untuk mencapai kemakmuran rakyat, dan jangan sampai hanya menguntungkan pihak asing.
Uranium bukan hanya untuk menghasilkan tenaga nuklir—misalnya guna kepentingan pertahanan. Bahan uranium dapat dimanfaatkan untuk menambah sumber ekonomi seperti Pembangkit Listrik Tenaga Nuklir (PLTN) yang mendukung pasokan sumber tenaga  listrik.
Beberapa daerah yang memiliki potensi uranium adalah Sumatera, Jawa, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, dan Papua – bahkan Freeport pernah menemukan bahan uranium di daerah tambang emas.

Laju Dosis Radiasi Gamma Tercepat

Kecamatan Singkep, Kabupaten Mamuju juga menjadi kawasan yang laju dosis radiasi gamma-nya tercepat di Indonesia dibanding rata-rata nilai laju dosis radiasi Gamma di Indonesia yang 46 nSv per jam, kata Direktur Pusat Teknologi Keselamatan dan Metrologi Radiasi Batan, Susilo Widodo.

Ia mengatakan, pihaknya telah menyusun Peta Radiasi dan Radioaktivitas Lingkungan sebagai data dasar, sehingga kalau ada kenaikan radiasi yang disebabkan faktor bukan alami misalnya radiasi hasil lepasan industri atau kecelakaan nuklir, bisa diketahui dengan cepat.

The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of the uranium-based atomic bomb nicknamed 'Little Boy'
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of the uranium-based atomic bomb nicknamed ‘Little Boy’

Susilo mengatakan, saat terjadi kecelakaan reaktor nuklir Fukushima misalnya, pihaknya tidak mendeteksi adanya radiasi nuklir yang masuk ke wilayah Indonesia.
“Secara alamiah, radiasi nuklir dari Jepang di utara sulit menyebrang ke kawasan katulistiwa. Justru jika dilihat dari posisi dan arah angin potensi radiasi dari Jepang akan masuk lebih dulu ke Amerika Serikat dan terakhir China,” katanya.
Peta ini, ujarnya, juga penting untuk mengkaji efek kesehatan bagi masyarakat yang tinggal di daerah radiasi tinggi serta indikasi bahan tambang seperti Uranium, Thorium dan mineral sejenisnya.
Peta tingkat radiasi dan radioaktivitas lingkungan di Indonesia ini, urainya, terdiri dari lima peta, yakni peta laju dosis radiasi gamma lingkungan dan peta tingkat konsentrasi radionuklida alam Thorium-228, Thorium-232, Radon-226, dan Kalium-40 dalam sampel permukaan.
Batan juga meluncurkan URL monitor radiasi lingkungan kawasan reaktor nuklir Serpong dimana telah dipasang lima monitor gamma di kawasan itu selama 2012-2013 dan meluncurkan “GPS tracking” untuk transportasi limbah di Indonesia.

Namun diluar itu semua, langkah paling awal yang diharapkan dari pemerintah Indonesia adalah melindungi tiap aset bumi dan laut di Indonesia dari tangan-tangan asing yang tak pernah memakmurkan rakyatnya!

Jangan lagi kita kecolongan dengan perjanjian-perjanjian tambang sebelumnya yang selalu dibuat oleh manusia yang mengaku warga negara Indonesia, namun memilik mentalitas antek dan budak asing, juga para konglomerat dengan kualitas sosial rendah, yang selalu menjual dan menguntungkan pihak asing. (AntaraNews / D009/Z003/Editor: B Kunto Wibisono/COPYRIGHT © 2013 / mm-industri.com / tender-indonesia.com,  KOMPAS, berbagai sumber)


World largest Uranium mines in 2005. Tampak wilayah Indonesia belum ada penambangan.

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