Fuel cycle roundup #24

16 April 2014

Nichols Ranch in operation

Operations have  started at the Nichols Ranch in situ leach (ISL) uranium project in Wyoming following final clearance from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), making Uranerz the newest uranium producer in America.

Uranium-loaded resin from Nichols Ranch will be shipped to Cameco Resources' processing facilities at Smith Ranch for final processing into dried and drummed uranium concentrates under a toll processing agreement.

Four Mile ready to go

Australian firm Alliance Resources has announced that all approvals to begin mining in the first stage area of the Four Mile East ISL project in South Australia had been received, effective 11 April. According to a company press release, project manager Quasar Resources had advised Alliance that it expected final commissioning and the start of mining on 14 April.

Four Mile is currently 25%-owned by Alliance subsidiary Alliance Craton, and 75%-owned by Quasar, an affiliate of Heathgate Resources which owns and operates the adjacent Beverley ISL mine where Quasar plans to toll-mill uranium-loaded resin from Four Mile. The project has been beset by legal wranglings between the co-owners.

Resource figures for Cebolleta

Uranium Resources has announced new NI 43-101 compliant resource figures for its Cebolleta uranium project in New Mexico totalling 5.6 million pounds U3O8 (2154 tU) at an average grade of 0.17%. Cebolleta, also known as Cibola, is one of four New Mexico projects for which the company expects to issue technical reports this year: figures for the Juan Tafoya project are anticipated in June, with Roca Honda around mid-2014 and Churchrock by year-end.

The next stage for the project would be the preparation of a preliminary economic assessment, according to company president and CEO Christopher Jones.

NRC licence for Dewey-Burdock

The NRC has issued a final source and byproduct materials licence for Powertech's Dewey-Burdock uranium recovery facility. The ISL uranium project still requires approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency and from relevant state authorities before construction activities can begin.

Dewey-Burdock project manager Mark Hollenbeck hailed the NRC operating licence as a "significant milestone" for the project. The South Dakota project is the fourth uranium recovery facility to receive an NRC licence since 1998.

Texas project starts permitting

Uranium Energy Corp (UEC) has filed mine permit and aquifer exemption applications for its Burke Hollow ISL uranium project with the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality. The company is now working to complete applications for a radioactive material licence and waste disposal well, which it expects to file by mid-2014, and for an air permit exemption.

CEO Amir Adnani explained that Burke Hollow is an important part of UEC's 'hub-and-spoke' strategy to provide feed to its Hobson processing plant. Burke Hollow has estimated inferred resources of 2.9 million pounds U3O8 (1115 tU), although to date only about 40% of the property has been explored.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News