MORE DOCUMENTS REGARDING SHOOTARING
CANYON MILL OWNERSHIP CHANGE AVAILABLE
Black Range Minerals Ltd., an Australian Company, has requested that the Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) transfer the control and ownership of the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill License from Uranium One to Black Range Mineral Utah LLC (BRM). BRM is in the process of purchasing the Mill, near Ticaboo and Lake Powell, from Uranium One. The Mill has not operated since 1982. BRM has also asked the DRC to extend the date of the license expiration for an additional 3 years.
The DRC has stated that they will only extend the license until January 1, 2015. That means that BRM would have to submit a license renewal application before that date. In addition to the request for a license amendment, the documents include supplementary information from BRM, a DRC request for additional information, summary of a January 30 meeting, and e-mail communications.
The DRC informed BRM that the change in ownership and control and extension of the license termination date would require an opportunity for public comment and a hearing with an opportunity for cross-examination.
• DRC Shootaring Canyon Webpage
EXPANSION OF DANEROS URANIUM MINE
SCOPING COMMENTS DUE TO BLM - MARCH 14, 2014
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is providing an opportunity to comment on the scope of the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the expansion of the Daneros Uranium Mine, San Juan County, Utah. The Energy Fuels Resources Inc. (EFR) Mine Plan Modification would expand the surface disturbance of the mine from 4.6 acres to 46 acres near Natural Bridges National Monument. The expected total production of the mine would increase from 100,000 tons over 7 years to 500,000 tons over 20 years. That is, if the price of uranium goes up.
In 2012 EFR put the Daneros, La Sal Complex, and Pandora Mines on non-operational status. In addition to these mines, EFR has 6 other mines in Utah that are permitted, but non-operational (Energy Queen, Pine Ridge, Rim, Redd Block No. 4, Sage, and Tony M). EFR announced that In the summer of 2014 they wold cease operation at the two operational mines on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and cease processing uranium ore at their White Mesa Mill south of Blanding in San Juan County.
The expanded mine (now a large mining operation under Utah law) will also require approval by the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining (DOGM) and include public comment. The Utah Division of Air Quality is still reviewing EFR's application for an Air Quality Permit and the public comments on the proposed Approval Order submitted last year.
Comments are due to the BLM by the close of business on March 14, 2014. Reference “Daneros Mine Plan Modification.” Information on where to submit comments is in the BLM Press Release. To submit Comments by E-Mail.
• Uranium Watch Daneros Mine Webpage
• Uranium Watch Uranium Mining Fact Sheet
• BLM Press Release
• EFR Mine Plan Modification
• BLM Environmental Information Bulletin Board. Search term: “Daneros Mine.”
• DOGM Daneros Large Mine Operation (M0370126) Documents
• DOGM Daneros Small Mine Operation (S0370121) Documents
ENERGY FUELS RESOURCES
STATUS AS A URANIUM PRODUCER
The year starts with Energy Fuels Resources Inc. (EFR) planning to stop processing ore a the White Mesa Uranium Mill in August of 2014. The cessation of ore processing will continue indefinitely. At this time EFR can purchase uranium on the open market for less than it costs to produce uranium to fullfill exisiting contrancts. EFR plans to commence processing of alternate feed in 2015. Barrels of uranium bearing waste from Canada and Metropolis, Illinois, are shipped to the mill to be processed as "ore." EFR has also requested authorization to process 24,000 tons of waste from the cleanup of mine water from the Midnite Mine in Wellpinit, Washington.
With the closure of the EFR operating mines on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (Arizona #1 and Pinenut), the uranium boom on the Colorado Plateau that began in 2007 is essentially over. The current spot price price of uranium ($34.50 a pound) does not support new development of mines or mills, or the expansion of existing mines. The issue now is the closure and reclamation of uranium mines that will never operate again, such as the Arizona 1, Pandora, and Rim Mines.
7th DISTRICT COURT DECISION
APPROVES WATER FOR GREEN RIVER NUCLEAR REACTOR
Judge George Harmond of the Utah 7th District Court issued a decision upholding the Utah State Engineer's appropriation of 53,600 acre feet (~ 87,000,000 gallons per day) from the Green River for the proposed Blue Castle Project nuclear reactor. The proponent of the reactor, Blue Castle Holdings Inc., has plans to submit an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an Early Site Permit.
• District Court - Memorandum and Decision - November 27, 2013 (6.6 MB)
• Salt Lake Tribune article
• Uranium Watch web-site
LOW URANIUM PRICE FORCES ENERGY FUELS TO SUSPEND OPERATION OF WHITE MESA URANIUM MILL
Energy Fuels Resources Inc. has announced they will stop processing of uranium ore at the White Mesa Uranium Mill in August 2014. They plan to process uranium bearing waste (called "alternative feed material") sometime in 2015. Mining at the Arizona 1 and Pinenut Mines on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon will also cease. Ore at the Arizona 1 Mine will have been exhausted, and the Pinenut MIne will be placed on standby. Energy Fuels has already announced they would stop development of the Canyon Mine on the South Rim. Last year Energy Fuels suspended operations at three mines in Utah. Energy Fuels has a total of 8 permitted uranium mines in Utah that have ceased operation in the past 5 years. They have also closed the Sunday Mine Complex in Colorado.
The current price of uranium is below $35 per pound, making it uneconomical to continue to operate the mines and the mill, let alone develop new mines or construct a uranium mill in the Paradox Valley, Colorado.
The White Mesa Mill is currently out of compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency radon-emission limit for tailings Cell 2. The August radon emissions exceeded the 20 pico Curie per square meter per second (pCi/m2/sec) standard by over 50%. Cell 2 is drying out, increasing the amount of radon gas emissions even though it has an interim soil cover.
WORK HALTED AT CANYON MINE IN ARIZONA
Energy Fuels Resources, Inc., has placed the development of the Canyon Mine on non-operational standby status due to the low price of uranium and litigation. Energy Fuels has completed about 300 feet of a 1,500 ft. shaft at the mine on US Forest Service land on the south rim of the Grand Canyon near the magnificent Red Butte. The operation of the mine threatens Havasupai land and springs and resources in the Grand Canyon. The Havasupai Tribe, Grand Canyon Trust, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sierra Club signed a Stipulated Agreement with Energy Fuels suspending the operations. The agreement does not preclude the restart of the operation. The spot price of uranium continues to decline and is now below $35.00 a pound.
According to the conservation group’s News Release: ”The Havasupai Tribe and conservation groups sued the U.S. Forest Service in March  over its 2012 decision to allow the controversial mine to open without adequate tribal consultation and without updating a 1986 federal environmental review. The mine is within the Red Butte Traditional Cultural Property, which the Forest Service designated in 2010 for its religious and cultural importance to tribes, especially Havasupai. It threatens cultural values, wildlife, and water, including aquifers feeding Grand Canyon’s springs.”
BLACK RANGE MINERALS TO PURCHASE
SHOOTARING CANYON MILL
Black Range Minerals Limited has announced it intent to acquire the old Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill, near Ticaboo in Garfield County, Utah. Black Range, an Australian Company, has entered into an agreement to purchase the Mill from Uranium One. The plan is to provide ore or concentrated ore to the Mill from Black Range or former Uranium One mine properties in Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. The Mill last operated in 1982. Despite the Environmental Protection Agency's intent that non-operating uranium mills be reclaimed in a timely manner, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Utah Division of Radiation Control (DRC) have allowed the Mill to remain on stand-by for over 30 years.
The DRC would have to approve the transfer of the Mill license to Black Range, which has no known experience in uranium mining and milling. The Shootaring Canyon license expires at the end of April 2014, so Black Range will have to submit a License Renewal application and an application to refurbish and restart the Mill.
Black Range has plans to obtain ore from old uranium mines in Utah: Velvet, Patti Anne, Wood, and Frank M. The Patti Ann has 85,000-ton pile of ore, which was covered during the reclamation of the mine. Black Range would have to obtain approval from the Bureau of Land Management and Division of Oil, Gas & Mining before any mining or ore removal. Black Range's claims that permitting would be completed in about 12 months is greatly exaggerated. The mines would require new plans of operation and a federal Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement.
Black Range also has plans for a large operation at the Hansen/Taylor Ranch in Colorado and plans for mining in Arizona. Blach Range intends to use borehole mining at the Hansen/Taylor Ranch project. The process uses water under high pressure to remove uraium from the host rock underground. There are still questions about whether this type of uranium recovery is a uranium milling operation and subject to regulation under the Atomic Energy Act, as are in-situ uranium leaching operations.
A unique aspect of Black Range's plans is the use of a new Ablation process to concentrate the ore prior to shipment to a uranium mill. Black Range has plans to do a test of Ablation in Wyoming. There are still questions about whether Ablation is a uranium milling process. At a minimum, Ablation and borehole mining operations would require a license from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for the possession of material that contains more than 0.05% uranium.
• BRM News Release
• BRM Quarterly Activites Report - September 2013
• BRM Investor Report
• BRM Update on Ablation
• Shootaring Canyon Mill