Energy Fuels obtains US EPA approval for expansion of Nichols Ranch uranium project
Energy Fuels, a producer of uranium in the United States, announced that the US Environmental Protection Agency has issued an aquifer exemption for the Jane Dough wellfield in the Nichols Ranch ISR Project pursuant to the requirements of 40 CFR §146.4.
In the letter, the EPA concurred with the reclassification of the Jane Dough aquifer by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality ("WDEQ") to allow for future in situ uranium recovery.
The Jane Dough wellfield, which is adjacent to Energy Fuels' currently producing Nichols Ranch wellfield, is important in sustaining the Company's long-term uranium production at Nichols Ranch. The Company is currently producing uranium from the Nichols Ranch wellfield and expects nine header-houses to be in operation during 2017. The Company expects to construct four additional header-houses in the Nichols Ranch wellfield once sustained improvements in uranium prices are observed. Once all thirteen header-houses in the Nichols Ranch wellfield have been constructed, the Company expects to advance production into the Jane Dough wellfield, which will be connected to the Nichols Ranch Plant.
According to a February 2015 technical report ("Technical Report") prepared in accordance with Canadian National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), the Jane Dough wellfield is estimated to hold approximately 3.6 million pounds of uranium, contained in 1.5 million tons of Indicated Mineral Resources with an average grade of 0.11% eU3O8. This is almost 1 million more pounds of uranium than what the Technical Report estimated to be contained in the currently producing Nichols Ranch wellfields.
EPA and WDEQ approval are important regulatory milestones for the Company, as they are required to place the Jane Dough wellfields into production. The next regulatory steps are to add the Jane Dough wellfield to the main Nichols Ranch Permit to Mine and Source Material License. Approval for these actions from WDEQ and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC"), respectively, are expected to be received by the Company within the next few months. Following these last approvals, the Company will have all major regulatory approvals to begin production from the Jane Dough wellfield in the future.
Stephen P. Antony, President and CEO of Energy Fuels stated: "The Jane Dough wellfield is important for Energy Fuels to ensure sustainable, long-term uranium production from our Nichols Ranch ISR Project in Wyoming. Nichols Ranch has proven to be a reliable uranium supplier since it went into production in 2014, and we expect existing wellfields to produce about 350,000 pounds of uranium in 2017. The Jane Dough wellfield is located adjacent to the existing Nichols Ranch wellfield. Therefore, once all header-houses are completed at the Nichols Ranch wellfield, production is expected to advance to the Jane Dough wellfield, which will be connected to the Nichols Ranch ISR Plant. In addition, I personally congratulate Energy Fuels' internal permitting team for successfully obtaining these EPA and State approvals. It is not easy to permit new uranium projects in the United States, and based on Energy Fuels' track-record in this regard, I believe our permitting team is second-to-none in the U.S. uranium sector. We look forward to receiving the final NRC and WDEQ approvals in the upcoming months."
Source: Company Press Release