Developers Peninsula Minerals and Titan Uranium have made new announcements about two Wyoming uranium projects. Peninsula has released maiden resource estimates for Lance, while Titan has completed a preliminary feasibility study for Sheep Mountain.
The initial JORC-compliant resource estimate for the Lance projects released by Australia-based Peninsula Minerals reports a total of 15.1 million pounds U3O8 at a grade of 507 ppm (0.05%), comprising 4 million pounds of indicated resources at 510 ppm and 11.1 million pounds of inferred resources at 507 ppm. The estimate is based on data from over 4500 historic drill holes plus a further 281 holes completed by the company between 2008 and 2010. The resources are mostly in two primary production areas, Ross and Barber, in the Powder River Basin, and are in confined aquifers, a prerequisite for in situ recovery (ISR) mining.
Although Peninsula's land includes the site of a historic ISR pilot plant, fully rehabilitated since 1984, the company says the historic drilling data from the 1970s which it has acquired has defined a new uranium district.
Peninsula described the completion of the initial resource estimate as a significant milestone. "The positive results to date provide confidence that mining will commence within the targeted time-frame with production continuing over an extended mine-life", the company notes. According to the company's web site, it aims to commence production at the Ross area by 2012, pending environmental and statutory approvals.
Sheep Mountain feasible
Canada-based Titan Uranium also chose the phrase 'significant milestone' to describe the completion of a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) for its Sheep Mountain project in Fremont County. Titan Uranium plans to exploit the ore by conventional underground and open pit mining, followed by heap leach extraction of the uranium with a solvent extraction recovery plant producing up to 1.5 million pounds of U3O8 per year.
Sheep Mountain is another Wyoming project with a history of uranium mining. Uranium was produced from two shafts at Sheep Mountain in the 1970s and 1980s, although only a small portion of the mineralization was mined. An open pit at a third ore zone, known as the Congo Pit, was being prepared for development in the 1980s but never reached production. Titan Uranium now plans to develop the project with both the underground mines plus the Congo Pit.
Titan revised its mineral resource estimate for Sheep Mountain in early March, to 16 million pounds U3O8 at an average grade of 0.131%. The NI 43-101 compliant resource figures are for the Sheep 1 and 2 ore zones, plus the Congo Pit.
"The results of the PFS confirm our view that Sheep Mountain is a high quality project which exhibits robust economics," said Titan Uranium president and CEO Brian Reilly.
According to the PFS, the estimated capital cost for a 1.5 million pounds capacity mining operation with an initial mine life of 11 years would be $118 million, including allowances for contingency and risk. The estimated operating cost would be $28.67 per pound recovered uranium. Based on a long-term uranium price estimate of $60 per pound, the operation would have an estimated pre-tax payback period of 5 years.
Titan Uranium owns 100% of the project, having acquired Uranium One's interest in October 2009.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News