Study finds Wyoming uranium project viable

29 January 2015

Ur-Energy envisages operating Shirley Basin as a commercial satellite in situ leach (ISL) operation, processing the uranium at its existing facilities at Lost Creek after completion of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for the Wyoming project.

Historic site: drilling at Shirley Basin in 1968 (Image: US Department of Energy)

The PEA assumes that construction activities will begin at Shirley Basin in January 2017, with operation beginning in October of the same year. A total of 6.3 million pounds U3O8 (2424 tU) would be produced from the project, at an estimated operating cost of $14.54 per pound of uranium produced. The total cost of uranium production, including taxes and operational and capital spending, is $31.26 per pound.

Uranium was mined at Shirley Basin using conventional methods from the 1960s until low uranium prices prompted its closure in 1992. The project is already licensed for conventional mining, with a source and byproduct material licence from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a permit to mine from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Ur-Energy has now begun the process to amend the license and permit for ISL operations.

Shirley Basin came into Ur-Energy's possession it acquired the Pathfinder Mines Corporation from an Areva affiliate in December 2013. Reclamation work had already been substantially completed at that point. In mid-2014, the company announced resources of 8.816 million pounds U3O8 (3391 tU) based on historic data and a new drilling program.

Ur-Energy vice president for operations, Steve Hatten, said the company was pleased to confirm Shirley Basin's "solid prospects" through the PEA. "Production from our latest project will not only enable Ur‐Energy to produce from a second low cost resource base, but will allow us to fully utilize the Lost Creek processing facility at its designed capacity," he said.

The processing plant at Lost Creek, which started up in 2013, has a nameplate capacity of two million pounds (770 tU) per year.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News