URANIUM MILL UPDATES
WHITE MESA MILL - San Juan County, Utah
• Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. has submitted a request to the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) for an amendment to the White Mesa Mill license to allow the processing of uranium bearing waste from a rare earth facility in Estonia. There is no mention in the application of a need for an import license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
• Energy Fuels is continuing to process the liquid effluents at the White Mesa Mill for their vanadium content. They expect to continue this vanadium recovery during 2019 and 2020.
SHOOTARING CANYON MILL - Garfield County, Utah
The DWMRC has issued a Notice of Violation and $5,000 fine to Anfield Resources Holding Corp. in response to Anfield’s failure to submit an updated Shootaring Canyon Mill surety report in April 2018. Anfield has also failed to conduct reclamation work and submit some requested documents to the DWMRC. The Mill operated for a short time in 1982 and is undergoing license renewal. The Mill does not have a license to conduct uranium recovery operations.
LISBON VALLEY MILL - San Juan County, Utah
Rio Algom Mining’s Lisbon Valley Mill, a reclaimed mill on Lisbon Valley Rd., south of La Sal, has been reclaimed, but has not been transferred to the Department of Energy for perpetual care. The earthen cover over the unlined impoundment reduces radon emissions, but allows for percolation of surface water, leading to contamination of groundwater in the area. A “Hydrological Supplemental Site Assessment” was completed in 2018. The DWMRC determined that the assessment did not provide sufficient data and analyses. The DWMRC has requested additional groundwater monitoring and analysis information. The DWMRC wants changes in the cover to facilitate evaporation rather than percolation.
URANIUM MINE UPDATES
LA SAL MINES COMPLEX (UT) - Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. is in the process of conducting rehabilitation work the Pandora Mine and La Sal Mine portals. Energy Fuels has also undertaken exploration drilling and ore sampling program to evaluate the possibility of reopening the Mine Complex for the production of both uranium and vanadium. The price of vanadium has risen, giving Energy Fuels and other mining companies an incentive to evaluate vanadium resources. In 2018 Energy Fuels removed 994 tons of ore and stockpiled the ore at the La Sal Mine.
CANYON MINE - Energy Fuels has suspended the underground development of the Canyon Mine. Though Energy Fuels contemplates the recovery of both uranium and copper from the Canyon Mine, the White Mesa Mill does not yet have a processing circuit to recover copper. Energy Fuels must install horizontal drifts into the ore body, another vertical shaft, and ventialation fans at the Mine before any production begins.
SAGE MINE (UT) - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a February 25, 2019, Decision approving an ore sampling proposal submitted by Pinon Ridge Mining LCC, a Canadian company centered in Nucla, Colorado. The BLM and the Utah Division of Oil, Gas & Mining have requested an increased in the reclamation surety to $37,630, an increase of almost $7,000. Pinon Ridge must submit the increased surety before any work commences.
• UTAH DIV. OF OIL, GAS & MINING MINERAL FILES - Click HERE
KCWCD NEW WATER RIGHTS AGREEMENT WITH
BLUE CASTLE HOLDINGS
The Kane County Water Conservancy District (KCWCD) has held 2 closed executive sessions to discuss a new water agreement with Blue Castle Holdings Inc. (BCH).
In 2007, KCWCD leased 29,600 acre-feet of water to BCH (in the name of their predecessor). BCH is the promoter of the Blue Castle Project nuclear reactor near Green River, Utah. In September 2016 BCH was supposed to start annual payments of $100,000 for the lease of the KCWCD water from the Green River. BCH has not made any payments. The annual payments, late fees, and interest to KCWCD now add up to $400,500, with an additional $320,400 owed to the San Juan Water Conservancy District.
The agendas for the December 2018 and January 2019 KCWCD Board meetings state the Board would discuss a new water agreement with BCH in closed executive sessions. If a new lease is agreed upon, to replace the defaulted lease, the agreement will be made publicly available.
BCH last wrote to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2011, indicating they would submit an Early Site Permit Application (ESPA) in late 2012. Since then, BCH has not written the NRC. Clearly, the BCP is not moving forward, and BCH does not have the funds to pay the Districts as required by the agreements. In 2017 the State Engineer extended the time to show proof of beneficial use of the water rights for an additional 10 years, beyond the original 50 years).
APPLICATION FOR SAGE MINE
The Sage Mine is a small uranium mine in Summit Canyon in SE San Juan County, Utah, near the Colorado boarder. The mine, on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), last operated in 1990, but without BLM authorization. On December 31, 2018, Piñon Ridge Mining LLC, Corp., a subsidiary of Western Vanadium and Uranium Corp. (WVUC), submitted a Notice For Exploration Activities to the BLM Monticello Office. At this time the Monticello and other BLM offices are closed due to the government shutdown.
WVUC is promoting the mining for vanadium and shipping vanadium ore or vanadium concentrate out of the US for processing. George Glasier, the mining speculator who heads WVUC, is talking publicly about building a vanadium mill near the Sage Mine and producing vanadium at the Sage and the Sunday Mine Complex in Colorado. None of these plans appear to be feasible.
ABANDONED MINE RECLAMATION IN THE LA SALS
The Bureau of Land Management has been conducting studies and mine closure at abandoned uranium mines in and near the La Sal Mountains, Grand and San Juan Counties in southwest Utah. The work involves the Brown's Hole, Yellow Cat, and Polar Mesa areas. According to the BLM: "Studies were in part funded by a BLM grant to the Utah Abandon Mine Reclamation Program (AMRP). Reclamation construction is funded by a grant to the AMRP from the Dept. of Interior, Office of Surface Mining." Under the grant, only mine closure work could be conducted for public safety. None of the funds could be used for environmental remediation.
• Freeport Minerals Corporation Proposed Mine Feature Closures: Yellow Cat and Gateway Mining Districts, Utah, Yellow Cat and Polar Mesa. March 2018.
• Brown’s Hole Proposed Mine Feature Closures, San Juan County, Utah. September 2018.
• Summary: Brown's Hole Abandon Mine Closures. ARM/037/910.
• Polar Mesa Map
• Yellow Cat Map
WHITE MESA MILL TO PROCESS TAILINGS
EFFLUENT FOR VANADIUM
Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. announced in a recent News Release their intention of processing the liquid effluents stored in ponds (Cells 1, 4A, and 4B) at the White Mesa Mill for vanadium. Energy Fuels states that they expect to resume vanadium production in mid-November of this year.
REHABILITATION WORK AT LA SAL MINE -
PLAN FOR LIMITED TEST RUN OF ORE
Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. is conducting Rehabilitation work at the La Sal Mine, part of the La Sal Mines Complex, La Sal, Utah. According to the Energy Fuels News Release, the company intends to remove about 5,000 tons of ore for processing at the White Mesa Mill to determine the economic feasibility of processing the ore for both vanadium and uranium. Recent increases in the sale price of vanadium have encouraged the company to again process ore for both minerals.
DOE DEFENSE-RELATED URANIUM MINE (DRUM)
The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the 2017 Annual Report for the Defense-Related Uranium Mine (DRUM) Program. According to the DOE: The report provides a summary ofLegacy Managements (LM’s) activities during its first year of the Program. Achievements included formation of interagency partnerships, implementation of field inventory and environmental sampling projects at defense-related uranium mines (DRUM) in western Colorado and eastern Utah, and development of risk scoring assessments to determine physical hazards—as well as potential chemical and radiological risks—posed by the mines.
REQUEST TO CONSTRUCT ADDITIONAL TAILINGS CELLS
AT WHITE MESA MILL
On July 12, 2018, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) Inc. submitted a License Amendment Application to expand the White Mesa Uranium Mill by constructing two (2) new 40-acre tailings impoundments, Cells 5A and 5B. Energy Fuels intends to construct the tailings cells at some time in the future. The Mill is only allowed to have to operational tailings impoundments at any one time. It may have any number of impoundments to receive liquid effluents. Right now, Cells 3 and 4A receive solid tailings. Cells 1 and 4B receive liquid effluents for storage, and Cell 2 is in closure.
Additional Information (These are large files)
• July 2018 Application Cover Letter
• Cells 5A and 5B Application
• Cells 5A and 5B Design Report
DOE LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP CONFERENCE
AUGUST 20-23 - GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO
The DOE will hold a Long-Term Stewardship Conference from August 20th to 23rd, in Grand Junction, Colorado. The Conference includes trips to the Grand Junction tailings disposal site and Moab tailings removal site and information about the DOE’s DRUM Program. The authors of 2 books about uranium will give the keynote addresses on the 21st and 22nd. Uranium Watch’s program director will be on the “National Stakeholders Organizations” panel the afternoon of August 21. There is no cost to attend.
DOE DEFENSE-RELATED URANIUM MINE (DRUM) PROGRAM
The Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management continues a program to validate and characterize the DRUM sites in Utah and other states. The DRUM Program is providing funding and expertise for the BLM and USFS and for Utah and other state abandoned mine programs.
The DOE provided a PPT Presentation on the
Progress of the DRUM Program at the 2018 National Mining Association Uranium Recovery Workshop.
SPOT PRICE OF URANIUM STAYS BELOW
$25 A POUND - PRODUCTION DROPS DRAMATICALLY
The spot price of uranium stays below $25 a pound. In 2012 Energy Fuels informed the Bureau of Land Management that they were closing down operations at the Daneros Mine and La Sal Mines Complex because the spot price had dropped to $46.00. The current price of uranium does not support the mining and processing of conventional ore. The Honeywell uranium conversion plant in Metropolis, Illinois, the only plant in the US that coverts yellowcake to uranium hexafluoride, is shuttered.
US Energy Energy Information Administration 1st Quarter 2018 Report states that "U.S. production of uranium concentrate in the first quarter of 2018 was 226,780 pounds U3O8, down 64% from the fourth quarter of 2017 and down 50% from the first quarter of 2017." The production was from 7 facilities: the White Mesa Mill and 6 In-situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery operations. Since that time some of the ISLs have suspended operations.
URANIUM WATCH, UTE MT. UTE TRIBE, AND GRAND
CANYON TRUST APPEAL WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE AND GROUNDWATER DISCHARGE PERMIT RENEWALS
Uranium Watch, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, and Grand Canyon Trust have filed separate petitions to appeal Amendment 8 to the White Mesa Mill License. Amendment 8 renews the license, approved the Rev. 5 of the Reclamation Plan, and authorized the processing of uranium-bearing waste from the Sequoyah Fuels, Gore, Oklahoma, facility.
FEDERAL APPROVAL OF EXPANSION OF DANEROS MINE
AND LA SAL MINES COMPLEX
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Moab Field Office and the US Forest Service have issued the Final Environmental Assessment and their approval of the expansion of the La Sal Mines Complex, La Sal, Utah. The La Sal Mines Complex was put on standby in 2012, when the spot price of uranium dropped to $46/lb. The current spot price $23-half that amount.
BLM Monticello Field Office issues the Final Environmental Assessment and their approval of the expansion of the Daneros Uranium Mine from 4.6 acres to 46 acres. The mine was placed on standby in 2012, when the price of uranium dropped to $46/lb.
UAMPS SMALL MODULAR REACTOR PROGRAM
The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is making presentations to their member utility boards and member city or county councils to request their participation in the next phase of the proposed Small Modular Reactor (SMR) to be constructed at the Idaho National Lab. Phase I of the Licensing Period is the development of a combined construction and operating license (COL) application to be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Phase 2 is the submittal of the COL Application (COLA) to the NRC and NRC’s consideration of the COLA. UAMPS is asking members to approve Power Sales Contracts (PSCs) that would provide funding for Phase 1.
Los Alamos County
On January 25, UAMPS made a presentation to a Joint Meeting Between the Board of Public Utilities and Los Alamos County (LAC) Council, New Mexoco. The financial commitment of LAC for Phase 1 would be between $500,000 and $3.5 million to pay for the development of the COLA. There are stipulations that would reimburse LAC if the project does not go forward, but the reimbursement stipulations were not adequately spelled out. UAMPS did not have all of the information available for a fully informed decision by LAC and the public.
LAC will be discussing this at subsequent meetings and expects to make a decision in March. LAC has provided an opportunity for members of the public to post comments on the proposal at the LAC Peak Democracy webpage.
There are a number of important documents that have been made available, which were not previously available regarding the UAMPS SMR Project. Most of this information applies to the project in general and decisions to be made by other UAMPS member communities.
Additional LAC Information —
• January 25, 2018, Meeting Agenda
• January 25 Meeting Video
• Staff Report
• Executive Summary
• Draft Power Sales Contract
• PSC Talking Points
• Board PPT Presentation
On January 24, the Washington City Council, Utah, met to consider approval of a Power Sales Agreement for participation in the UAMPS SMR Project. The only document included in the Agenda Package was the draft Power Sales Contract (PSC). The meeting discussion mentioned a package of information, but that information was not made available to the public for the meeting. As with the Los Alamos meeting, Council members had questions about the project and the PSC, including financial risks. Roger Carter, Council reprsentative to UAMPS, said that more information would be provided. The Council will consideration the Power Sales Agreement at the February 14, Council Meeting.
Additional Washington City Information —
• January 24, 2018, Meeting Agenda
• January 24, 2018, Meeting Video
• Draft Power Sales Contract Resolution
DWMRC ISSUES WHITE MESA MILL LICENSE RENEWAL
On January 19, 2018, the Utah Division of Waste Management (DWMRC) issued their approval of the renewal of White Mesa Uranium Mill License for and additional 10 years. The DWMR also approved the renewal of the Mill Ground Water Discharge Permit, Revision 5 to the Mill Reclamation Plan, and approval of an Amendment Request to process uranium-bearing waste from the Gore, Oklahoma, uranium conversion facility.
Additional Information —
• Renewed Radioactive Material License No. UT 1900479
• Ground Water Quality Discharge Permit No. UGW 370004
• Statement of Basis
• Public Participation Summary
• White Mesa Mill License Renewal
• Energy Fuels SEDAR Financial and Other Reports
~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~