IsoEnergy to reopen Utah uranium mine

01 March 2024

The Saskatoon-based company will reopen underground access at the Tony M uranium mine in Utah during the first half of this year, with the goal of restarting uranium production operations in 2025, should market conditions continue as expected.

The Tony M mine is within trucking distance of Energy Fuels' White Mesa uranium mill (Image: IsoEnergy)

This "strategic decision" is underpinned by rising uranium prices, the climate of increasing support and demand for nuclear energy, and the recent announcement by Energy Fuels Inc - with whom IsoEnergy has a toll milling agreement - to restart its uranium circuit at the White Mesa mill, the company said.

Tony M is one of three past-producing, fully-permitted, uranium mines in Utah owned by IsoEnergy, and produced nearly one million pounds of U3O8 during two different periods of operation from 1979-1984 and from 2007-2008. It was acquired by IsoEnergy Ltd on the company's share-for-share merger with Consolidated Uranium Inc, completed last December.

IsoEnergy's announcement comes just over six months after Consolidated Uranium began work towards reopening the underground workings at Tony M. IsoEnergy said it plans to reopen the main decline into the mine and gain underground access by the end of the first half of this year. "This critical step is expected to facilitate the assessment of the mine’s underground conditions, enable direct analysis of the uranium mineralisation in place, and allow for the collection of necessary data required to prepare an efficient mine plan," the company said. "The work programme also includes underground and surface geological mapping of the sandstone-hosted uranium and vanadium mineralisation to allow for more precise extraction plans for inclusion in an updated economic study."

Energy Fuels announced in late December that it plans to restart the uranium circuit at the White Mesa mill in 2025, and IsoEnergy said it intends to deliver ore to the mill in time for the restart of the uranium circuit.

IsoEnergy thinks the timing of the restart is "ideal", given current and near-term uranium market dymamics, CEO and Director Phil Williams said. "With the uranium spot price now trading around USD100 per pound, we are in the very fortunate position of owning multiple, past-producing, fully-permitted uranium mines in the US that we believe can be restarted quickly with relatively low capital costs. Our existing toll-milling agreement with Energy Fuels places IsoEnergy in a unique position to become a conventional uranium producer in the near-term."

The work programme at Tony M includes updating and maintenance of existing mine ventilation and other infrastructure, surveying and rehabilitating underground mine workings and ground support as needed, and upgrading and/or replacement of utilities.

IsoEnergy said it is also evaluating plans to restart operations at the Daneros and Rim mines.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News