New mine in Utah nears production

29 July 2009

Australia-based White Canyon Uranium expects to start shipping ore in September from its Daneros mine in southeast Utah. The company has been developing the deposit since receiving a mine permit earlier this year.


Daneros (White Canyon)
Site works at Daneros (Image: White Canyon)

In late May, the US federal Board of Land Management (BLM) issued the final approvals for the company's mine permit for the development of the conventional mine. This was the first new uranium mine permit issued in Utah for 30 years. The Daneros mine is expected to produce some 500,000 pounds U3O8 (227 tonnes U3O8) per year.


The Daneros deposit is in close proximity to major past producing uranium mines of the Red Canyon mining area, near Blanding, Utah. It is 100 kilometres by road from the White Mesa uranium mill owned by Denison Mines.


White Canyon began underground development immediately upon receipt of the BLM and State of Utah approvals. Site earthworks commenced prior to the transport of infrastructure and the decline portals were surveyed and mining commenced within one week of receiving the approvals.


The company reported that the portals have now been completed and, by the end of June, the declines had advanced 30 metres. Daneros will utilise a twin decline development with an access decline and a ventilation decline. Ventilation fans and the attendant generator are in place and operational ahead of requirement. Both declines are expected to be completed by the end of September.


White Canyon said it has the option of selling any production from the Daneros mine into the Denison Ore Buying Schedule in operation and open to third parties at the White Mesa mill. The company is negotiating with Denison for an alternate toll treating agreement, under which White Canyon would pay a contract rate to have Denison process ore from the Daneros mine and then White Canyon would receive the U3O8 produced at the end of the milling process. White Canyon could then negotiate for an offtake agreement or long-term contract for the sale of the product.


The Daneros deposit was discovered by Utah Power and Light in exploration that concluded in the 1980s with an historical "reserve" calculation. The deposit was not mined due to a fall in the uranium price.