New Techniques to Boost US Uranium Mining Production

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With a satellite plant, also known as a Remote Ion Exchange [RIX], smaller and distant deposits can also be mined and then trucked to the mother plant. With an RIX operation, the front-end of the 'milling' cycle can be begun independent of the much larger mother plant.

If you study the news releases, several companies have discussed the setting up of one or more satellite plants in conjunction with their In Situ Recovery [ISR] uranium mining operations. In order to help readers better understand what exactly a 'satellite plant' is, we interviewed Mark Pelizza of Uranium Resources about how this relatively new operational...

A larger uranium deposit, such as one at Cameco's Smith Ranch in Wyoming, requires a Central Processing Plant. The 'mother plant,' as it is called in the trade, can complete the entire processing cycle from uranium extraction through loading the resin, stripping the uranium from the resin with a solvent (elution), precipitating, drying and packaging.

With a satellite plant, also known as a Remote Ion Exchange [RIX], smaller and distant deposits can also be mined and then trucked to the mother plant. With an RIX operation, the front-end of the 'milling' cycle can be begun independent of the much larger mother plant. It is the same ion exchange column found at central processing facility. The mobility factor makes RIX an attractive proposition for many of the new-breed uranium producers. Rather than piping the water and uranium across a longer distance to the mother plant for the entire processing cycle, the modular nature of RIX allows for multiple columns at each well field doing the ion exchange on the spot.

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