WildHorse Energy has signed a joint agreement with Sparton Resources to study the extraction of uranium from coal ash from European thermal power plants. It has also been granted uranium exploration permits in Poland.
Australia's WildHorse Energy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Canada's Sparton Resources to undertake and fund a one-year program to identify and evaluate the possibility of extracting commercial quantities of uranium from waste coal ash produced by thermal power plants in several central European countries. These plant burn lignitic or brown coals with high uranium content.
Europe produces more than 50 milliontonnes of coal ash each year, some of which could potentially bedeveloped into a significant supply of uranium. The uranium content ofcoal ash can vary from 100-300 parts per million (ppm) uranium oxide(U3O8). WildHorse sees the extraction of uranium from coal ash as a low cost and fast track path to uranium production.
The initial phase of the program will involve identification, sampling and leach testing of various types of ash samples from a number of power plants. WildHorse and Sparton will contribute up to A$500,000 ($410,000) for this phase, which is expected to take about six months. Afterwards, scoping studies and pre-feasibility reports to develop process engineering flow sheets and uranium recovery plant design would be commissioned.
WildHorse has already started evaluating one specific opportunity in Europe which will be reviewed as part of the activities planned under the MoU. Analyses on this material done between 1992 and 1995 indicate the ash contains between 90 and 150 ppm U3O8.
Sparton Resources is currently evaluating the large ash deposits stockpiled, and being produced at the Xiaolongtang Guodian Power Company in central Yunnan Province in China. This work has been ongoing for over 12 months and currently involves a three-phase program which is at the advanced bench scale testing stage. Bulk sample testing and actual test production of small amounts of U3O8 are expected to be completed by the end of 2007.
Meanwhile, WildHorse has been granted prospecting and exploration permits covering 198,000 ha in three blocks in the Sudetes Mountains of southwestern Poland. Twelve underground uranium mines were developed in the area during the Soviet era. The permits granted to WildHorse are valid for six years cover most of these former mines. In addition to two uranium projects - Sweetwater and Bison Basin - in Wyoming, USA, the company has three projects - Pecs, Dinnyeberki and Bataszek - in the Western Mecsek Mountains of southern Hungary.
WNA's Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) information paper
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