Yellowcake for Bluerock?

06 May 2008

An earlier version of this story included an incorrect figure (12,000 tonnes) for the capacity of the planned mill. This now reads 1200 tonnes.


Days after proudly announcing the first production of ore from its J-Bird mine in Colorado, wannabe uranium producer Bluerock Resources has made a pitch to build its own mill in Utah.


Uranium oxide concentrate 
Uranium oxide concentrate
On 29 April Vancouver-based Bluerock announced the first production of uranium "development ore" at J-Bird, one of a number of uranium projects which include historic uranium production deposits that it is involved with in the state of Colorado. Although NI 43-101 compliant figures have not been released for J-Bird, the company says that historic figures of an ore content of 0.34% U3O8 are "relevant". The ore will be stockpiled at J-Bird before transportation to Denison's White Mesa mill, where it will be toll milled under agreements signed last month under which Bluerock secured the availability of capacity to process 60,000 tons of uranium ore in 2008 and 100,000 tons per year in 2009 and 2010.


Mill plans


Earlier in April, Bluerock announced that it had purchased Mancos Resources Incorporated (MRI) and with it the Mancos Uranium Mill Project near Green River, Utah. According to Bluerock's president and CEO Michael Collins, the acquisition would "facilitate Bluerock's aim of becoming a standalone US uranium producer". MRI's proposed Mancos mill would have a capacity of 1200 tons per day and according to Bluerock is in the permitting/design phase, with an estimated start-up date of 2011. Public consultation, environmental and geotechnical assessments have already begun, and the company presented its plans to the Utah Radiation Control Board's 2 May meeting.


Denison's White Mesa mill is currently the only conventional uranium mill operating in the USA. Capable of processing both uranium-only and uranium/vanadium ores, Denison recently that the first ore from its Tony M operation was fed into the leach circuit on 28 April. Denison has about 150,000 tons of ore from its various mines stockpiled at the mill and is projecting production of 1.4-1.7 million pounds of U3O8 from the mill in 2008. It currently has about 170,000 pounds U3O8 in inventory from the processing of alternate feed materials (that is, uranium-bearing materials other than ore) during the first four months of 2008.