Stop Uranium Mining in the Black Hills


Azarga Resources Limited, is a Chinese company that has never mined uranium. After owning part of Powertech since 2013, it is now merged with Powertech to form a new company named Azarga Uranium. The new ownership controls the former Powertech's operations in South Dakota, as well as uranium interests in Colorado.

Powertech's Chief Executive Officer, Richard Clement, and Chief Operating Officer, John Mays, both keep their jobs. Two Azarga managers, Curtis Church and Blake Steele, will become senior managers of the new company. Powertech has been plagued by a chronic lack of funding, and this deal creates a company with more financial resources. Here is an article about the current status of Azarga's uranium projects. It's in the center column under the heading "Powertech/Azarga Reality Check."

The former investment banker who heads Azarga Resources is Alexander Molyneux, who was born in Australia. See the chart for a full picture of Molyneux's dealings. Molyneux left investment banking and entered the mining industry with the help of Robert Friedland, a dual citizen of the United States and Canada who lives in Singapore.

Friedland is known by some as "Toxic Bob," partly for his role in the disaster at the Summitville gold-silver mine in Colorado. The Summitville mine was run by a subsidiary of Friedland's company, Galactic Resources, which was based in Canada. It is now a Superfund site that discharged acid drainage and cyanide, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals into the Alamosa River. Friedland's bankrupt subsidiary pled guilty to 40 felony counts. Cleanup, which is expected to cost $150 million, is ongoing.

Molyneux's mining experience began with his stint as CEO of SouthGobi Energy Resources, a coal mining operation in Mongolia. The company was controlled by a firm founded by Friedland. Molyneux was fired from this position after the company racked up millions of dollars in operating losses and he apparently alienated the Mongolian government. A market observer summarized the situation: "The SouthGobi thing was a mess, with restated financials for two years, an abortive takeout by a China company, Rio Tinto's giving Mr. Molyneux his walking papers, and Ontario-groomed class-action lawsuits." (The Calandra Report)

For more information on Azarga's multinational dealings, see - center column.

Whether Azarga intends to actually mine uranium in the Black Hills remains to be seen. It is also possible that the company hopes to make a profit by getting mining permits, then selling the proposed mine site to someone else. Regardless of who owns uranium properties in the Black Hills, the Clean Water Alliance opposes uranium mining in the area.

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