Energy Fuels gets governmental green light for La Sal Complex expansion
A leading integrated US-based uranium mining company has announced that plans to expand one of its largest uranium and vanadium mining complexes has bee given the all important governmental approval.
Energy Fuels, holder of America’s three key uranium production centres, announced in a statement this week that it had received approval from the US Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service for the expansion of ita 100% owned La Sal Complex of uranium/vanadium mines.
The La Sal Complex is a series of several past producing uranium and vanadium mines, currently on standby status in the San Juan County, Utah.
Through a number of expansion development, Energy Fuels plans to expand its development rock storage, dill up to 400 exploration holes to expand deposits, construct ventilation shafts as well as the reclamation of historic disturbances by previous mine operators.
During the 2007 to 2013-time period, 446,000 tons of mineralized material were mined from the La Sal Complex and processed at the White Mesa Mill.
According to a technical report completed in 2014, the La Sal Complex holds 1.1 million tons of Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources containing 4.1 million pounds of uranium and 21.5 million pounds of vanadium.
Mark S. Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels, stated: “We are pleased that the BLM and USFS issued approvals for expansion of this project following a comprehensive multi-year analysis. This is particularly important, as the mines and properties comprising the La Sal Complex contain large quantities of uranium resources, along with significant high-grade vanadium resources. We have recently seen vanadium prices increase significantly, and our nearby White Mesa Mill has a long history of producing uranium and vanadium from these mines.
This project is fully-permitted and constructed, and is currently on standby status, ready to resume mining operations within approximately six months of a production decision, with minimal capital required.
We believe these approvals once again demonstrate that Energy Fuels is a responsible operator and an asset to the region. We also acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and professionalism of the BLM and USFS staff involved in the preparation of this EA. We are the largest private employer in San Juan County, Utah, including a major employer of Native Americans, and these approvals set the stage for our Company to grow in the region in the future.”
Zimbabwe targets £8.8bn mining industry by 2023
Zimbabwe’s government plans to fast-track exploration, evaluation and digitalisation of selected reserved mining areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as part of wider measures to achieve a £8.8 billion mining industry by 2023, according to a senior government minister.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said other plans include stopping the issuance of special grants in the reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development until the exploration and evaluation is complete and a robust value addition program for diamonds is implemented.
Mutsvangwa was speaking at a post-cabinet media briefing on December 15.
She adds that the issuance and renewal of special grants for energy should also be based on the financial and technical capacity to value add all types of coal, as well as for ideal exploration of Coal Bed Methane.
For renewal of special grants, consideration should take into account the period the Special Grant has been held as well as plans with milestones for value addition of the special grant, Mutsvangwa says. She adds that the Zimbabwean government expects gold to drive the mining sector in order to achieve the ambitious target, with the precious metal expected to contribute approximately £2.96 billion to the overall target.
Mining is one of Zimbabwe’s major contributors to its economy, alongside agriculture, which is the mainstay. The mining sector accounted for more than 60 percent of the country’s foreign currency receipts in 2019, and contributed around 16 percent to national Gross Domestic Product, the Chamber of Mines says.
The country’s mining industry is focused on a diverse range of small to medium mining operations. The most important minerals produced in Zimbabwe include gold, asbestos, chromite, coal and base metals.
Zimbabwe expects its economy to expand by 7.4 percent in 2021 from a projected contraction of 4.5 percent this year, due to the effects of drought and the COVID-19 global pandemic.
When presenting the 2021 National Budget in November this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said that the mining sector is projected to rebound by 11 percent next year after surviving a COVID-19 induced shock that saw the sector contract by 4.7 percent in 2020. In September, mining bans in national parks were introduced, according to news agencies.
He added that the National Budget would allocate £1 billion towards the operations of the ministry for planning, promotion and exploration, data capturing, and automation, among other key mining processes.
Other factors necessary for the achievement of the £8.8 billion target include a stable macroeconomic environment, policy consistency, and availability of long-term capital to fund mining projects along the entire mineral value chain, the minister said.
Stopping "illicit financial flows" from gold smuggling is another key issue to address, according to media reports.