Published on Tuesday November 12 2013 (AEST)
Black Range Minerals has agreed to buy the mothballed Shootaring Canyon uranium mill in Utah from Uranium One for $10 million.
The acquisition includes surface stockpiles of uranium ore, with a historic mineral resource estimate of some 250,000 pounds U3O8 (97 tU) at a grade of 0.13% U3O8. Black Range has also agreed to acquire Uranium One's other "conventional mining assets" within the USA, the most advanced being the previously mined Velvet-Wood deposit in Utah with remaining NI43-101 estimated resources of 5.3 million pounds of U3O8 (2039 tU).
Black Range already owns the Hansen/Taylor Ranch uranium project in Colorado. The company says that the cost of acquiring, refurbishing and restarting the Shootaring Canyon mill is expected to be "significantly less" than building a new processing facility at Hansen, and should enable it to fast-track the development of its Colorado project while avoiding costs from toll-milling at a third-party mill.
The company is expected to customise the mill so it can preferentially receive high-grade concentrates from multiple projects across the USA.
The purchase was described by Black Range as being "transformational," noting that "ownership of the Shootaring Mill, one of only three licenced mills in the USA, assures control of production all the way from mining to finished yellowcake."
The Shootaring Canyon mill, located approximately 77 kilometers south of Hanksville, Utah, is permitted to process up to 750 tonnes of ore per day, but has a capacity to process 1000 tonnes per day. The mill - the last conventional uranium mill to be built in the USA - was commissioned and operated for just four months in 1982, before being mothballed due to declining uranium prices. Black Range estimates it would take about 18 months to acquire the necessary permits to bring the mill back into action.
Uranium One acquired the Shootaring Canyon mill from US Energy Corp in April 2007.
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