Refurbished Uranium Mines Ready For Market Upturn

Date: Apr 04, 2019

Energy Fuels has refurbished two of its Utah mines ready to enter full commercial production should a production decision be made. The economics of the Pandora and La Sal uranium/vanadium mines are expected to be supported by uranium sales contracts because of the volatility of the vanadium market, the company said.

Energy Fuels has been carrying out a limited conventional vanadium test-mining programme at the connected mines, which are at the La Sal complex in southeast Utah. The mine refurbishments have been carried out during the test-mining campaign and the mines are now ready to enter full production “shortly following a positive commercial decision”, the company said. To date, about 5200 tons of mineralised material has been mined under the test programme, with observed ore grades of about 1.60% V2O5 and 0.19% U3O8.

The company has also tested new mining methods which it says will improved grade control at the mine site, resulting in reduced costs, higher grades and higher value for mined material. It said these new techniques will be deployed “at full production rates” once a decision is made to go back into full production at the La Sal Complex and its other fully permitted and developed uranium/vanadium mines on the Colorado Plateau, “as market conditions warrant”.

“Due to the inherent volatility of vanadium prices, the economics of these mines are expected to be supported primarily by uranium sales contracts at prices higher than today’s spot price, which may result from generally improved global uranium market conditions, or the ongoing government investigation into uranium imports into the US,” the company said. “Once uranium prices improve sufficiently, the company expects to be able to produce significant quantities of vanadium from these mines at costs competitive to some of the lowest-cost primary vanadium mines in the world, and in a more sustainable way than has been achievable for our mines in the past, due to the new grade control techniques developed during this campaign.”

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