Energy Fuels prepares for Canyon resurrection

10 February 2015

Preparations are under way to resume development of Energy Fuels' Canyon uranium mine in Arizona, the company has announced.

Facilities including a headframe already exist at Canyon (Image: Energy Fuels)

Canyon is fully permitted and was partially developed in the late 1980s. A shaft of 275 feet (84 m) has already been sunk, and some surface facilities including a headframe, evaporation pond, hoist, environmental controls and an office/maintenance facility are in place. Shaft sinking recommenced in 2013, but market conditions prompted the company to suspend work later the same year. Energy Fuels now says it needs to sink an additional 1200 feet (366 m) of shaft, install two ventilation shafts and complete underground development.

The company expects economic uranium resources at its currently operating Pinenut mine, also in Arizona, to be depleted during the second quarter of 2015. As Pinenut becomes depleted, experienced mining personnel from there will move to Canyon, which is a similar high-grade breccia pipe uranium deposit. Canyon has NI43-101 compliant inferred resources of 1.63 million pounds U3O8 (627 tU) at an average ore grade of 0.98%.

Energy Fuels is also evaluating whether to commence permitting operations for two more high-grade breccia pipe uranium deposits at the EZ complex, in northern Arizona.

Energy Fuels president Stephen Antony said the company continued to focus on its lowest-cost sources of uranium production, such as Pinenut and Canyon, pending an upturn in the uranium price. Having increased by about 35% over the last six months, Uranium spot price are gaining some strength, he said in a statement. "Nevertheless, prices still remain too low to result in the increases in uranium production we expect the world will need to meet expected long-term demand."

Energy Fuels lays claim to being the USA's largest producer of uranium mined by conventional methods, and manages the country's only operating conventional uranium mill, White Mesa. A recent agreement to acquire Uranerz Energy, operator of the major in situ leach uranium project at Nichols Ranch in Wyoming, signalled the company's intention to becoming the dominant player in US uranium production.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News