Lost Creek uranium mine starts up

05 August 2013

Ur-Energy has started production at its Lost Creek in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mine in Wyoming after receiving final clearance from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Lost Creek U processing plant (Ur-Energy)
Lost Creek's processing plant (Image: Ur-Energy)

Company president and CEO Wayne Heili said, "We are excited to initiate production operations for the company at our flagship Lost Creek project, marking the successful conclusion of eight years of development, regulatory and construction activities."

According to Ur-Energy, it has so far invested over $95 million in the acquisition, licensing and development of the Lost Creek project.

USA favours ISL

Out of the eleven US uranium mines that operated during part or all of 2012, five were ISL operations. In ISL mining, the uranium is dissolved in the ground and pumped to the
surface through wells before being recovered in similar processes to those used
in conventional uranium mills.

Production at North Butte, a satellite facility to Cameco's Smith Ranch-Highland ISL uranium project in Wyoming, began in May 2013. Meanwhile, Uranerz Energy expects to commence production at its Nichols Ranch ISL project later this year or in early 2014.

With measured and indicated resources of some 3200 tU and inferred resources of 1100 tU, Ur-Energy expects the project to produce a total of over 7 million pounds of U3O8 (2690 tU) at a rate of one million pounds (385 tU) per year. The processing plant at Lost Creek has a nameplate capacity of two million pounds (770 tU) per year. In addition to processing uranium from Lost Creek itself, the facility will process output from other satellite mines planned by Ur-Energy.

Ur-Energy has secured four uranium sales agreements with US-based nuclear utilities related to production from Lost Creek. These long-term contracts call for delivery over multi-year periods at defined prices. These will begin in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News