Toronto-based Energy Fuels looks poised to become the first junior uranium company to reach production in recent years as it awaits the approval of the final permit required for full-scale mining to begin at its Whirlwind mining site in Colorado, USA.
|Whirlwind portal area (Image: Energy Fuels)
Energy Fuels has announced that the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety has approved a Hard Rock Reclamation Permit for the mine. "The receipt of this permit moves us much closer to becoming the first junior uranium company to actually reach production since the turnaround in the uranium business," said George Glasier, Energy Fuels president and CEO.
The Whirlwind Mine Area, which lies within the John Brown/Beaver Mesa uranium district, consists of 214 leased unpatented lode claims, located in Mesa County, Colorado, and Grand County, Utah.
Approvals for construction of ventilation shafts on the Utah side of the Whirlwind property and for site air emissions were also obtained this month from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining and the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division. The only remaining permit approval required for full-scale mining operations is the US Bureau of Land Management Plan of Operations, which the company anticipates will be granted in May.
The indicated resource at the Whirlwind Mine, compliant with Canadian National Instrument 43-101, based mostly on Pioneer Uravan drilling, is 164,000 tonnes containing 300 tonnes U3O8 (255 tU) at a grade of 0.20%. Several old mines exist on the Whirlwind group, including the Packrat, Bonanza, and La Sal. The last mining on any of these properties was done in 1990. Mining ceased due to inadequate uranium prices, not because the deposit was exhausted. Energy Fuels plans to reopen the former Packrat and Urantah Decline uranium mines near the town of Gateway in Mesa County, Colorado.