Energy Fuels Receives Federal Government Approvals for Expansion of its La Sal Complex of Uranium and Vanadium Mines
LAKEWOOD, CO, Feb. 26, 2018 /CNW/ - Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU; TSX: EFR) ("Energy Fuels" or the "Company"), a leading producer of uranium in the United States, is pleased to announce that it has received approval from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") and U.S. Forest Service ("USFS") for the expansion of its 100%-owned La Sal Complex of uranium/vanadium mines (the "La Sal Complex").
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. The Environmental Assessment prepared for the expansion of this project thoroughly considered all aspects of proposed operations, including environmental protection, transportation, cultural issues, jobs, economic benefits, and environmental justice concerns. 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."
On February 23, 2018, the BLM and USFS issued the Environmental Assessment ("EA"), Decision Record (BLM)/Decision Notice (USFS), and Findings of No Significant Impact ("FONSI") approving the expansion of a large portion of the Company's La Sal Complex, conditional upon the Company incorporating certain specific requirements into the Plan of Operations Amendment and having the required reclamation bond in place. The La Sal Complex is a series of several past producing uranium/vanadium mines, currently on standby status, along an 11-mile mineral trend located in northeast San Juan County, Utah, including the Energy Queen, Beaver/La Sal and Pandora/Snowball mines and the Redd Block and Pine Ridge properties. The La Sal Complex, which includes significant existing surface and underground mining infrastructure, is located approximately 65-miles north of the Company's 100%-owned White Mesa Mill, the only operating conventional uranium and vanadium processing facility in the United States. Material produced from the La Sal Complex will be processed at the White Mesa Mill.
The Plan of Operations Amendment ("POA") combines a number of the existing Plans of Operations at the Complex and allows for expansion of development rock storage, the drilling of up to 400 exploration holes to further delineate and expand certain of the deposits, the construction of additional ventilation shafts, and the reclamation of historic disturbances by previous mine operators, on various areas of the project. In addition, the new POA requires the implementation of detailed interim management measures during any periods of temporary cessation. Combining these existing Plans of Operations also makes for much better administrative efficiency for both the agencies and Energy Fuels. The specific requirements to be incorporated into the Plan of Operations Amendment as a condition of these approvals are all as contemplated by the Company and do not impose any unexpected requirements.
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. This material had an average grade of 0.20% U3O8 and 1.02% V2O5 and contained 1,774,000 pounds of uranium and 9,098,000 pounds of vanadium. According to a March 2014 technical report prepared in accordance with National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"), 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, with an average grade of 0.18% U3O8 and 0.94% V2O5. The project also holds additional quantities of Inferred uranium and vanadium resources.
At the same time, the BLM also issued the EA, Decision Record, and FONSI for the expansion of the Company's Daneros Mine, subject to certain specified requirements. The BLM-approved Mine Plan of Operations Modification ("MPOM") allows for expanded mining operations, the reclamation of historic mining disturbances, and the implementation of additional operational and emission controls. During the 2010 to 2013 time period, 121,000 tons of mineralized material were mined at the Daneros Mine and processed at the White Mesa Mill. This material had an average grade of 0.26% U3O8 and contained 629,000 pounds of uranium. The Company expects to file an updated NI 43-101 resource estimate for the Daneros Mine in March 2018 to account for mining activity and new drilling data since the last report was completed.
About Energy Fuels: Energy Fuels is a leading integrated US-based uranium mining company, supplying U3O8 to major nuclear utilities. Its corporate offices are in Denver, Colorado, and all of its assets and employees are in the western United States. Energy Fuels holds three of America's key uranium production centers, the White Mesa Mill in Utah, the Nichols Ranch Processing Facility in Wyoming, and the Alta Mesa Project in Texas. The White Mesa Mill is the only conventional uranium mill operating in the U.S. today and has a licensed capacity of over 8 million pounds of U3O8 per year. The Nichols Ranch Processing Facility is an ISR production center with a licensed capacity of 2 million pounds of U3O8 per year. Alta Mesa is an ISR production center currently on care and maintenance. Energy Fuels also has the largest NI 43-101 compliant uranium resource portfolio in the U.S. among producers, and uranium mining projects located in a number of Western U.S. states, including one producing ISR project, mines on standby, and mineral properties in various stages of permitting and development. The Company also produces vanadium as a co-product of its uranium production from certain of its mines on the Colorado Plateau, as market conditions warrant. The primary trading market for Energy Fuels' common shares is the NYSE American under the trading symbol "UUUU", and the Company's common shares are also listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol "EFR". Energy Fuels' website is www.energyfuels.com.
John White, P.E., is a Qualified Person as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed and approved the technical disclosure contained in this news release.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: Certain information contained in this news release, including any information relating to: the Company being a leading producer of uranium in the U.S.; the timing and/or technical, environmental, or economic feasibility of placing the La Sal Complex and/or Daneros Mine into production in the future; any conclusions which may be drawn with regard to rising vanadium prices; any expectations regarding growth of the Company; current resource estimates; the expectation of filing any updated NI 43-101 resource estimates; and any other statements regarding Energy Fuels' future expectations, beliefs, goals or prospects; constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities legislation (collectively, "forward-looking statements"). All statements in this news release that are not statements of historical fact (including statements containing the words "expects", "does not expect", "plans", "anticipates", "does not anticipate", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "projects", "potential", "scheduled", "forecast", "budget" and similar expressions) should be considered forward-looking statements. All such forward-looking statements are subject to important risk factors and uncertainties, many of which are beyond Energy Fuels' ability to control or predict. A number of important factors could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated or implied by such forward-looking statements, including without limitation factors relating to: the Company being a leading producer of uranium in the U.S.; the timing and/or technical, environmental, or economic feasibility of placing the La Sal Complex and/or Daneros Mine into production in the future; any conclusions which may be drawn with regard to rising vanadium prices; any expectations regarding growth of the Company; current resource estimates; the expectation of filing any updated NI 43-101 resource estimates; and other risk factors as described in Energy Fuels' most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly financial reports. Energy Fuels assumes no obligation to update the information in this communication, except as otherwise required by law. Additional information identifying risks and uncertainties is contained in Energy Fuels' filings with the various securities commissions which are available online at www.sec.gov and www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about the current expectations, beliefs and plans of the management of Energy Fuels relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that such statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. Readers are also cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, that speak only as of the date hereof.
Cautionary note to United States investors concerning estimates of measured, indicated and inferred resources. This news release contains certain disclosure that has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of Canadian securities laws, which differ from the requirements of U.S. securities laws. Unless otherwise indicated, all reserve and resource estimates included in this news release have been prepared in accordance with NI 43-101 and the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM") classification system. Canadian standards, including NI 43-101, differ significantly from the requirements of U.S. securities laws, and reserve and resource information contained in this news release may not be comparable to similar information disclosed by companies reporting only under U.S. standards. In particular, the term "resource" does not equate to the term "reserve" under SEC Industry Guide 7. United States investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any of Measured or Indicated Mineral Resources will ever be converted into mineral reserves. Investors are cautioned not to assume that all or any part of an "Inferred Mineral Resource" exists or is economically or legally minable. Energy Fuels does not hold any Reserves as that term is defined by SEC Industry Guide 7. Please refer to the section entitled "Cautionary Note to United States Investors Concerning Disclosure of Mineral Resources" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K dated March 15, 2016 for further details.