According to the state-commissioned study Chmura Economics released in November 2011, the Coles Hill project will bring enormous economic benefits to Virginia. A full-scale mining and milling operation at Coles Hill could support over 1,000 jobs for the 35-year life span of the mine, generate $5 billion in revenue for Virginia companies, and generate $112 million in state and local taxes*.
Chmura expects operation to have an annual economic impact of $136.7 million, $102.9 million of which will be manifest in Southside Virginia. This impact will be spread across the entire local economy and is nearly twice the annual gross revenue ($62 million) produced by all 1,364 farms in Pittsylvania County.
The mining operation itself will require about 250 direct workers. The average annual salary will be around $65,000. The operation we propose will require workers with basic skill sets similar to those of farmers and factory workers, such as the ability to operate heavy and small equipment.
The company plans to keep hiring locally. To date, nearly all of VUI’s employees have had firm roots in Southside Virginia. According to Chmura’s study, over 90 percent of the workers could come from Southside Virginia.
Construction of the mine and mill will support 250 jobs and generate $35 in economic benefits annually for three years.
The operation will also support asphalt, machine, industrial equipment, cement, and construction businesses, not to mention spin-offs generated by workers earning and spending more on restaurants and shops in the community.
The company envisions on-site training programs for some jobs and expects to rely upon the extensive network of work-training facilities in the Southside region—including the community college systems as well as the more technical training facilities like Danville Community College’s Regional Center for Advanced Technology and Training (RCATT). Off-site, on-the-job training of locally-recruited employees will take place at other mines and mills and will be a key component of the company’s training program. Most of the training will begin prior to mining and milling.
According to an engineering study Lyntek Consultants performed for VUI**, VUI’s total capital investment in the community over the life of the project will be between $350-400 million, with about $173 million of that investment coming in the first two years. In comparison, the total estimated investment that Ikea anticipates to make in the Danville area for its Swedwood manufacturing plant is $281 million.
Boom-and-bust cycles are frequently associated with mining operations, but they are not easily applicable to VUI’s situation. The stereotypical boom-and-bust cycles in Western U.S. and Canada came about because communities depended entirely on mining for their economic sustenance. We have a diversified economy in Southside Virginia, an economy that has endured for over 200 years and has weathered the losses of major industries such as tobacco, textiles and furniture manufacturing. Furthermore, many of the aforementioned industries which left Southside did so abruptly Since the Coles Hill project has a defined lifetime, the company will work closely to ensure a smooth transition once the estimated 35-year mine life ceases, just as the company will plan for the environmental aspects of mine closure.
* 2011 Study by Chmura Economics & Analytics for the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission. The reader is cautioned that this economic study was completed by another organization independent of Virginia Uranium. The Company cautions that an NI43-101 compliant feasibility study has not been completed and there is no certainty the proposed operation will be economically viable.
** ….an indicated resource of 133 million pounds, comprised of 119.59 million tons grading 0.056% eU3O8 at a cutoff grade of 0.025% e U3O8. The resource the report entitled “NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment Update (Revised) of Coles Hill Uranium Property”, effective June 30, 2012, and dated August 19, 2013 by Lyntek Inc. and BRS Engineering. It should be noted that mineral resources are not mineral reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability.