Energy Fuels Inc. (EFR:TSX; UUUU:NYSE.American) reported that initial encouraging results from test mining of ore at its La Sal mines complex Utah have prompted it to conduct further study of the extent of the mineralization there and its economic impact.
To date, Energy Fuels has mined, sampled and evaluated 20 tons of material from La Sal over a three-week period. The findings revealed two key points.
One is that high-grade vanadium associated with lower-grade uranium exists there. Because of the uranium's low grade, it hadn't been detected or mined historically. "This material is attractive at current vanadium prices," noted a news release. The second is that unlike in the past, the company now can identify such mineralization using the technology it has.
"If we continue to see similar results as the program advances, it is our hope that we can mine the La Sal Complex in a manner that targets vanadium during periods of elevated vanadium prices, even during periods of lower uranium prices," President and CEO Mark Chalmers said in the release. "The ability to target higher-grade vanadium zones, separately and independently from higher-grade uranium zones, in these mines may be, we believe, a true paradigm shift in the way these mines can be mined going forward."
Based on these results, management believes further study is warranted to delineated the extent of such mineralization not just at La Sal but, also, Energy Fuels' other properties and determine how additional ore would impact the per-pound cost of mining vanadium and uranium from those mines.
The company is continuing its test mining program at La Sal, aiming to recover and test at least 5,000 tons of mineralized material. It plans to also conduct surface drilling there, looking for high-grade vanadium mineralization.
In other news, Energy Fuels received approval from the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to expand its mining operations at La Sal. This encompasses vent shaft construction and exploration drilling.
Finally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on Oct. 19, 2018, withdrew proposed legislation that "would have imposed unnecessary, duplicative and expensive additional requirements on in situ recovery facilities in the U.S.," including those of Energy Fuels, the release indicated. The EPA's reversal removes an additional risk factor for the company's operations.
"Energy Fuels is also pleased to see positive news on the federal regulatory front," Chalmers commented.
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