For it’s first appearance in Canada, the World Mining Congress (WMC) will be bigger and more involved than ever. The 23rd installation of the annual event will be held in conjunction with a trade show for the first time in its history, as the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) has paired WMC with the International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction and Mining (ISARC), and the two events will run simultaneously Aug. 11 to 15 at the Palais des congress de Montreal Convention Centre in Montreal. “We have a really big trade show, which is different from any other World Mining Congress because it offers an opportunity for attendees to follow up on their problem-solving experiences,” says Jean Vavrek, executive director of CIM. “With ISARC, the focus on automation and miniaturization will be stronger than it has been in the past.” Robotics and automation will be just two topics fresh on the minds of the 1,000 delegates descending on Montreal for this year’s congress. WMC also will feature a 12-track technical program of peer-reviewed papers in addition to the more than 300 exhibitors on the ISARC showroom. According to Vavrek, the fact the WMC has come to Canada is a boon for the nation’s ability to attract similar international events. He believes this will lead to more international trade shows taking a look at what Canadian cities have to offer. “We really felt that our membership needed to interact more on a global scale like the World Mining Congress,” Vavrek says. “We really needed to showcase what goes on here with the World Mining Congress, so it made a lot of sense to bring it to North America.” Along with a new location and a trade show, Vavrek says the 2013 WMC will address topics long ignored by the international mining community. He lists social responsibility, diversity and gender inclusion as topics of discussion at this year’s event. As a media partner for the WMC, Energy & Mining International will provide ongoing coverage in its print edition, this blog and on Twitter leading up to the Aug. 10.

The state of the uranium is slated to take a turn for the better if the inversion of supply and demand currently available is any indication. Industry leaders like Amir Adnani – CEO, president and director of Uranium Energy Corp. – is among the most positive of uranium executives. He has plenty of reason to be upbeat based on forecasts for 2013. Uranium Energy Corp. have some of the largest U.S. uranium mines in its portfolio with the Palangana in-situ recover project, which is ramping up initial production, and the Goliad in-situ project which is about to conclude mine permitting, both located in south Texas. Along with the company’s vast resources, Uranium Energy Corp.’s competitors are bowing out of the race due to low prices for the resource. BHP Billiton has delayed its $30 billion expansion of the Olympic Dam mine in Australia, and Cameco, AREVA and ARMZ have canceled or delayed development of uranium projects due to the current uranium price of $42. Adnani spent time speaking with Energy & Mining International to discuss the restart of nuclear reactors in Japan, the effect of these shut down projects and what’s next for the U.S. uranium industry. Energy & Mining International: How will the restart of some of Japan’s nuclear reactors affect the uranium market in coming months? Amir Adnani: Japan pre-Fukushima was operating with 54 nuclear reactors, which generated a third of its electricity. Now, just a third of their reactors are operating, and this caused problems with higher energy costs in japan, which is not sustainable in the long run. On Dec. 16, there’s an election in Japan that will determine when, if and how a number of reactors will be turned on in Japan. Any general increase will be very positive for uranium prices because it will start to add consumption of uranium back to the demand side of equation, which had been absent from the market since Fukushima. It comes down to how many reactors they turn on. Each reactor will consume 600,000 to 700,000 pounds of uranium per year, and if they restart 10 reactors, that could add up to 7 million pounds of uranium to the demand equation. Worldwide demand is 180 million pounds. So that’s roughly a 4 percent increase to the market. EMI: To what extent will the recent decisions by BHP Billiton, Cameco, AREVA and ARMZ to cancel or delay long-planned uranium projects influence global demand? AA: You need to look at supply and demand. The demand is 180 million pounds per year, and supply from mining activity is 140 million per year. It has been filled through secondary supplies, including from Russian warhead materials through the Enriched Uranium (HEU) agreement between the U.S. and Russia, which is set to expire at the end of 2013. So 24 million pounds will be lost next year, creating more of a supply imbalance because a good chunk of secondary suppliers in the Russian HEU won't be there as of next year. The only way to make this up is to bring new uranium mines online. Due to poor prices, this implies there won't be enough supply side expansion taking place in the next few years. What it does is put it in a position where there is a fairly visible supply crunch coming up, which is the driver of higher uranium prices, at which point there will be higher economic drivers. There are a number of reports that have come out this year that says it needs to reach at least $80 per pound or higher to be new incentive price for mine construction. EMI: The number of nuclear reactors currently under construction totals 64 in 13 different countries, with China, India, Russia and South Korea all reaffirming their commitment to nuclear energy. What will it take to bring that type of production to North America? AA: As far as nuclear reactors go, difference here is due to relative energy needs here. Most of the demand for new electricity for next 20 to 30 years is coming from OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations. That's where 1.5 billion people don't have electricity today. In china, India and even in Saudi Arabia, they are planning to build 16 nuclear reactors, where the real growth is. In the U.S., there is $54 billion in loan guarantees to fund nine new nuclear reactors, and four are licensed for construction in the U.S., including two being developed by Georgia. There is definitely a market for growth here, but it will never be the same rate in non-OECD countries because the sheer demand isn’t here.

The North American oil and gas industry oftentimes is perceived by the mainstream media as a blight on the continent, pointing to the dangerous conditions, environmental fallout and elastic pricing of resources that are easy to condemn. That’s exactly why Daniel Creasey, Oliver Bridgen and Marc Bridgen launched the Oil & Gas Awards in 2012. The organization highlights the efforts of upstream and midstream companies as well as service providers and suppliers that support the industry. Energy & Mining International is now a media partner for the 2013 Oil & Gas Awards, as well. The deadline for submissions for the 2012 awards is Nov. 30, 2012, and the deadline applies to awards for all North American regions the Oil & Gas Awards cover: Rocky Mountain, Northeast, Gulf Coast, Southwest, Midcontinent and West Coast. The award categories cater to sectors like exploration and processing, drilling, manufacturing, equipment suppliers, environmental, insurance, rail, engineering, recruitment, terminals, midstream, well services, water management, consultants, law firms, banking and finance, trucking, health and safety, construction, and service providers. Companies in these sectors will be awarded honors in the areas of corporate social responsibility, the environment, and health and safety. Nominees are judged by some of the biggest players in the industry, including Brad Holly of Andarko Petroleum Corp., Lisa Bromiley of Epislon Energy and Chris Faulkner, the CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas and a regular contributor for EMI. For details on how to nominate your company and what comes with an official nomination, or for more information on judges, regions and award ceremonies, visit the Oil & Gas Awards website.

The Chilean delegation has a large presence at the 2012 edition of MINExpo in to promote the resource-rich South American nation. With a replica of the rescue vessel that saved 33 miners trapped in the San Jose mine in 2010 standing proudly nearby, the delegates boasted about its vast resources which are expected to generate approximately $100 billion in investment in the next eight years. A third of this investment will be made in the region of Antofagasta, a region in central Chile that has a large amount of copper. Chile produces 34 percent of the world’s copper, and 54 percent can be found throughout Antofagasta. That means the region produces 18 percent of all the copper in the world. However, as reported by Reuters Monday afternoon, the worldwide industry isn’t buying into Chile as quickly as hoped amid fears that the country isn’t ready to take on the robust boost in business. The report cites mass protests by Chileans demanding a bigger share of copper earnings and opposition groups jeopardizing approved plans for power plants and major copper mines. The story also says experts blame poor land-use planning and a centralized governmental decision-making process. The region hopes those fears are stemmed during the upcoming EXPONOR 2013, an international exhibition that will bring about 1,000 exhibitors from 30 countries to Antofogasta in April 2013. Expo Manager Andrea Moreno realizes there is a lot of work to do to bring the region and Chile overall up to speed, but initiatives are under way to make this a reality. “The government and other companies are working to assure we have the supply of operators, energy and human resources,” Moreno says. One challenge is bringing the Chilean mining industry up to speed with the ins and outs of underground mining. Moreno admits this expertise is lacking in the Andean nation because most mining taking place in Chile is open pit. She says organizations like the Antofagasta Industrial Association – which organizes EXPONOR and employs Moreno – are seeking partners from other nations who regularly conduct underground mining, especially Australia. The federal government and the Universidad de Chile launched the first Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) of Australia center in December 2011. According to Chile’s website, the center will focus on investigating new applications of mining technology. The center will work with the Advanced Mining Technology Center at the Universidad de Chile’s Sciences and Mathematics campus, and the $19.5 million (USD) will come from the Chilean Economic Development fund. Along with the main center in Santiago, Chile, there will be a satellite location in Antofagasta. “It’s very important to have the experience of other counties who know underground,” Moreno says. “It’s not normally done here.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal got into the spirit of MINExpo yesterday as it posted this image taken at the Las Vegas Conference Center as crews prepare for the big show. Energy & Mining International will land Monday morning to deliver live coverage via this blog and Twitter from a variety of events ranging from info sessions on the latest trends in the industry as well as product launches and announcements from some of the biggest players in the market. If you're attending, be sure to pick up a copy of the fall edition of Energy & Mining International magazine at the convention's newsstand.

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