Uranium Energy has submitted a mine permit application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for the in-situ recovery (ISR) of uranium at its Goliad Uranium Project in Texas.
The mine permit application includes geological studies, both site-specific and regional; detailed mine plans, including construction, operations, restoration and reclamation phases; and detailed mapping of aquifers and confining zones based on exploration borehole drilling and logging.
Mine permit applications of this type have frequently taken nine to twelve months to process in Texas. Uranium Energy said that its next actions include preparation and filing of a radioactive materials licence application and a waste disposal well permit application, both to the TCEQ. The company said it is well into the preparation of both these applications.
Uranium Energy has recently filed a report outlining the historic uranium resource at the Goliad Project. It is also performing further core drilling and conventional analysis to allow its independent geologist to generate a current resource estimate. Following the release of the current resource estimate it is planning to develop a feasibility study on the Goliad Project concurrent with the permitting initiatives. Then, once the necessary permits and licences for the Goliad Project are received, Uranium Energy would weigh the decision to advance the Goliad Project to production, pending a positive and satisfactory feasibility study.
This application is the third new mine permit application for in-situ uranium recovery operations to be submitted for projects based in Texas. Of those, one is now in production: Mestena Uranium's Alta Mesa mine in the south of the state.
In-situ leach (ISL) mines pass a leaching solution - such as oxygen with sodium carbonate - through buried sand containing uranium, dissolving it on the way. The solution is then pumped to the surface. The uranium is removed from the solution using an ion-exchange process. Usually the ion-exchange resin or solvent would undergo stripping and precipitation on-site to remove uranium.
At the beginning of October, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received an application for a new in-situ uranium recovery operation - the first since 1988 for a new uranium recovery facility in the USA. The application came from Energy Metals for a facility at Moore Ranch in Wyoming.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
WNA's US Nuclear Power Industry information paper
WNA's In Situ Leach Mining of Uranium information paper
WNN: First new US uranium application in 19 years