Ur-Energy to 'build out' second Wyoming project

14 March 2024

Ur-Energy has announced a decision to "build out" the fully permitted and licensed Shirley Basin Project in Carbon County, Wyoming. The company recently made its first shipment of uranium from the restarted Lost Creek project.

Yellowcake (Image: US NRC/Energy Fuels)

The decision to build out Shirley Basin was based on the company's growing uranium sales contracts, a strong uranium market price, and an expectation of increasing uranium demand, the company said. Building out Shirley Basin will "nearly double" the company's annual permitted mine production capacity to 2.2 million pounds U3O8 (846 tU) while diversifying supply, CEO and Chairman John Cash said.

"We look forward to bringing in-situ mining technology back to its birthplace in Shirley Basin where it was pioneered beginning in 1963," he added. "The Shirley Basin Uranium District has a long, proud history and we are excited to bring the jobs back while responsibly operating."

The satellite plant at the Shirley Basin project will be a "relatively low-cost facility" consisting of ion exchange, wastewater and groundwater restoration circuits, with the capacity to produce up to 1.0 million pounds U3O8 per year, the company said. Ion exchange resin loaded with uranium from the mine will be shipped to the operating Lost Creek in-situ leach facility for processing before being recycled back into operations at Shirley Basin. This approach will help minimise costs, with initial facility capital costs of around USD24.4 million and pre-operational wellfield development costs of USD16.3 million.

The estimated time to finalise designs, order materials and construct the satellite plant and initial wellfield is approximately 24 months, Ur-Energy said. Work has already started on long-lead items and ion exchange vessels have already been designed and ordered.

Ur-Energy has been ramping up operations at Lost Creek over the past year since its decision in 2022 to restart operations, making its first shipment of U3O8 to the converter in February this year. The project produced a total of 22,278 pounds of drummed U3O8 in 2023; 2024's production had already reached some 32,000 pounds of drummed product as of 29 February.

Lost Creek has estimated measured and indicated mineral resources of 12.7 million pounds U3O8 and inferred resources of 6.1 million pounds, according to updated S-K 1300 reports filed by the company earlier this month. Shirley Basin is estimated to have mineral resources of 8.8 million pounds, all in the Measured and Indicated categories.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News