Energy Fuels outlines mill plans

17 November 2014

No uranium processing campaigns are likely to take place in 2015 at the USA's only conventional uranium mill, White Mesa, after the current campaign finishes in March, according to operator Energy Fuels.

White Mesa Mill 250 (Energy Fuels)
The White Mesa mill (Image: Energy Fuels)

The Utah mill operates on a campaign basis, with mineral processing carried out according to the needs of mill feed, contract requirements and market conditions. The mill's current operating campaign is due to end on 31 March 2015. In its third quarter results statement, Energy Fuels said that once the current campaign finishes, it expects to continue to receive and stockpile "alternate" feed materials and make deliveries under existing contracts, but does not expect to schedule any further mineral processing campaigns during the remainder of 2015. 

Nevertheless, the company says it is "maintaining the flexibility to resume processing stockpiled or other materials at the White Mesa mill should market conditions warrant."

The company said it now expects mining at its Pinenut project in Arizona to cease in the second quarter of 2015, when economic resources are depleted. Previously, mining had been expected to cease during the first quarter of the year. Output from Pinenut is currently being stockpiled for processing in a future campaign. Energy Fuels says it intends to maintain all permits on its other existing mines, but these will remain on standby until market conditions improve or the material can be sold into long-term contracts at pricing that supports production.

The company says it has sufficient material on hand, or from the current milling campaign, to meet its delivery obligations for fiscal 2015.

Going forward, the company says it expects to produce a minimum of 450,000 pounds U3O8 (173 tU) from a future campaign at White Mesa to help meet deliveries contracted for 2016 and 2017.

Energy Fuels had planned to build a new uranium mill at Piñon Ridge in Colorado until it acquired White Mesa in 2012. The company recently sold the Piñon Ridge project, including the radioactive materials licence for a proposed uranium mill as well as historic uranium production sites and uranium exploration projects, to a private investor group.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News