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(last updated 18 Jan 2013)
Uranium mining in Utah is being opposed by Uranium Watch , Sierra Club Glen Canyon Group Nuclear Committee , Red Rock Forests
Energy Fuels plans restart of Sage Plain mines that have never been properly reclaimed:
With the start of the permitting process, some concerns still linger about the mines' impact and condition. Program Director of Moab-based Uranium Watch, Sarah Fields, said the mines have never been properly reclaimed, and reopening them could create issues with surrounding property owners.
Though the Sage mine last produced ore in 1990, the Calliham mine hasn't produced anything since 1981 or 1982. Fields said the Sage mine is currently permitted through the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining. While the Calliham mine was fully reclaimed, Fields said she thinks the Sage mine should have seen similar treatment. "Under regulations [the Sage mine] should have been fully reclaimed," Fields said. "When I visited the site, there are old buildings that have not changed from some of the old photographs from the '80s and '90s. There is also a hole that opened up from an old shaft or vent with a fence around it - I'm sure Energy Fuels knows about it, and it will need to be fixed." (Telluride Daily Planet Oct. 10, 2012)
Energy Fuels Inc. acquires all of Sage Plain Project:
On Oct. 2, 2012, Energy Fuels Inc. announced the closing of its acquisition of the interests of Aldershot Resources Ltd. in the Sage Plain Project.
In the transaction, Energy Fuels purchased Aldershot's membership interest in Colorado Plateau Partners LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between Energy Fuels and Aldershot. As a result of the acquisition, Energy Fuels now owns 100% of the Sage Plain Project, which is located about 15-miles northeast of Monticello, Utah and about 54 road miles from Energy Fuels' White Mesa Mill.
Permitting on the Sage Plain Project has been initiated, and the Company anticipates receiving approvals for the project within the next 12-18 months.
On Sep. 19, 2011, BLM issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the restart of mining at the Green River #9 underground uranium mine.
> Download Environmental Assessment, Kimmerle Green River #9, August 2011 (10MB PDF - BLM Utah)
This proposal is to mine uranium from an existing mine using underground techniques. The mine is located in the Buckmaster Draw Uranium District which is approximately 10-miles west of Green River, Utah. The proposed surface disturbance is approximately 2.0
> Download Green River #9 mine, Mining Plan of Operations, December 2010 (422k PDF - BLM Utah)
Carnotite LLC., has proposed to re-open a uranium mine in the Buckmaster Draw Mining District. The proposal estimates the disturbance to be approximately 2 acres. The project is located approximately 3 miles north of I-70 on Emery County Road EM1029. An Environmental Assessment (EA) was started on April 16, 2009.
Ore from La Sal II uranium mine project to be processed at White Mesa uranium mill (Utah): On Jan. 18, 2013, Laramide Resources Ltd. and Energy Fuels Inc. announced that they have entered into a toll milling agreement, whereby Energy Fuels' White Mesa Mill will process all material produced from Laramide's 100% owned and operated La Sal II Uranium Mine Project in Utah.
Laramide files for operating permits for reopening of its La Sal #2 uranium mine in Utah:
On Jan. 6, 2011, Laramide Resources announced that in late October of 2010, Laramide submitted a Notice of Intent to the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reopen its La Sal II mine located in San Juan County, Utah. This action followed the closing of the acquisition of the La Sal Project in September 2010 from Homestake Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation.
Concurrent with the BLM application, Laramide also submitted a Notice of Intent to the State of Utah, Division of Oil and Gas and Mining, for a Small Mine Permit (applicable where the surface disturbance area is less than 5 acres).
The La Sal Project was previously permitted and developed by Homestake in the late 1970s and an existing 1,200 meter access drive should facilitate a rapid startup scenario once permits are granted; the site is 60 miles from Denison Mines' White Mesa mill at Blanding, Utah - one of only four permitted mills in the USA.
La Sal #2 mine to be reopened for ore "sampling":
On April 15, 2011, BLM Utah announced that Laramide La Sal Inc. proposes to reopen the La Sal #2 Mine to conduct an uranium sampling project under a mining plan of operations.
The La Sal #2 mine was reclaimed in the 1980s. The underground sampling project is proposed to confirm the geologic and metallurgic character of the mineral resource. The sampling program calls for the removal of approximately 10,000 to 20,000 tons of presumed ore that would be transported and processed at the White Mesa mill. [emphasis added]
The mine plan will be made available to the public for 30-day comment and scoping. The comment and scoping period will end on June 6, 2011.
The EA once written, will be made available for public review and comment.
> View BLM Utah announcement Apr. 27, 2011
> Download Exploration Mine Plan (BLM Utah)
> View BLM Utah project page
The Environmental Assessment on the LaSal No. 2 Uranium Sampling Project is available for public comment. The comment period ends November 7, 2011.
> View BLM announcement Oct. 3, 2011
> View BLM Utah project page
> Download Environmental Assessment, La Sal No. 2 Uranium Sampling Project, September 2011 (5.8MB PDF - BLM Utah)
On June 7, 2012, BLM signed the Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Decision Record (DR) for the La Sal No.2 Uranium Sampling Project. The FONSI, DR, and Final EIA were released on June 14, 2012.
> Download Final Environmental Impact Assessment, FONSI, and DR
> View more recent issues
On June 28, 2011, BLM issued a revised Decision Record, Finding of No Significant Impact, and Environmental Assessment for the Daneros Mine Project, including additional
environmental analysis of indirect impacts from processing Daneros ore at the White Mesa Mill:
"The processing of Daneros ore at the White Mesa Mill would have negligible indirect impacts to human health from radiation exposure".
> Download revised documents (BLM ENBB)
Uranium producer Denison Mines has secured 58% of White Canyon Uranium Ltd, after making a friendly offer for the company in February, valuing it at C$56,6-million. (Mining Weekly May 4, 2011)
First uranium from Daneros mine milled at White Mesa mill: On Jan. 24, 2011, White Canyon Uranium Limited announced that 39,289 tons (35,635 tonnes) of ore was milled at the White Mesa Mill over the period Nov. 1, 2010 to Dec. 10, 2010. The ore with an average grade of 0.28% U3O8 (0.24% U) yielded 204,450 pounds of U3O8 (78.6 t U) at a recovery rate of 94.06%.
On Oct. 14, 2010, White Canyon Uranium Limited announced that it has entered into a "Sales Agency Agreement" with Canadian based Denison Mines Corp., to handle the sale of White Canyon's concentrate from its 100% owned Daneros Mine. It is anticipated that sales could commence as early as December 2010.
On Jan. 18, 2010, White Canyon Uranium Limited announced that based on the conditions in the toll agreement with Denison the Daneros mine is viable even at current spot market prices (of US$ 44.50 per lb U3O8). White Canyon will transport up to 55,000 tons per annum to Denison's White Mesa mill, located at a distance of approx. 100 km from the mine. First processing of Daneros ore is expected in the first half of 2011.
On Dec. 7, 2009, White Canyon Uranium Limited announced that uranium ore production has started at the Daneros mine. The ore arises during the development of the ore panels and will be processed at Denison's White Mesa mill.
On Oct. 20, 2009, White Canyon Uranium Limited announced that it has reached agreement with Denison Mines Corp. to sell to Denison's White Mesa mill all material produced during the development stage of the Daneros uranium mine through Denison's Ore Buying Program.
Two environmental groups are trying to block Utah's first new uranium mine in three decades. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) and Uranium Watch want the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to rethink its approval of the Daneros Mine, located about 10 miles from Natural Bridges National Monument. The groups also want the federal agency to stop Australia-based White Canyon Uranium from mining its Daneros claim until BLM's Utah director, Selma Sierra, determines whether her agency studied the environmental consequences sufficiently. "There are a lot of issues associated with uranium mining that were not adequately assessed before the permits were issued," Liz Thomas, an attorney for SUWA, said Friday (July 31). (Salt Lake Tribune July 31, 2009)
The Daneros Mine Project Decision Record was signed on May 26, 2009, approving the Plan of Operations with conditions.
> Download Daneros Mine - Decision Record and Final Environmental Assessment, May 2009 (BLM)
On April 30, 2009, White Canyon Uranium Ltd announced that the BLM's Draft Environmental Assessment for the proposed Daneros uranium mine was completed with a Finding of No Significant Impact. Execution of final Environmental Assessment is expected on or about 20 May 2009, allowing mining operations to commence immediately.
The Daneros Mine Project Environmental Assessment is available for public comment beginning March 13, 2009.
Written comments are accepted no later than April 13, 2009.
> Download Daneros Mine - Environmental Assessment (BLM)
The Bureau of Laud Management, Monticello Field Office has opened the public scoping review process for a proposed mine operation on public lands located approximately 35 miles east of Blanding, Utah. Utah Energy Corporation (a subsidiary of White Canyon Uranium Ltd) has submitted a Plan of Operations to develop a new underground uranium mine called the Daneros Mine. The proposed mine operation, totaling approximately 4.5 acres, is located on unpatented claims is Bullseye Canyon, San Juan County, Utah.
An environmental assessment is being prepared in conformance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). As part of the required NEPA process, public involvement is an essential component. The public is encouraged to participate by reviewing the plan and providing written comments concerning the project.
Written comments will be accepted until December 15, 2008.
Emery county officials have signed an agreement with a Canadian company to build a $100 million uranium mill just west of Green River. The mill would be the first tenant in a new industrial park made possible through a lease of 2,547 acres west of Green River with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. (Salt Lake Tribune June 26, 2008)
Mancos Resources Inc. presented the Utah Radiation Control Board in its meeting on May 2, 2008, with a uranium mill proposal for an "isolated" location six miles northwest of the Green River area in Emery County. Mancos is owned by Canadian-based Bluerock Resources Ltd. , which has one operating mine, one nearing production and twelve "uranium properties" in Utah and Colorado. Its proposal, which was an information-only item for the board, is to mine 1,200 tons per day at a "conventional" uranium mill, using a wet crushing and solvent extraction technique. Waste from the mill would involve a dry tailings disposal method and a composite cap over the tailings. The Mancos Resources Uranium Mill would employ over 40, last for about 50 years and result in a $125 million investment in Utah. An "optimistic" start-up date for the mill would be about three years away. Part of Mancos' proposal included an assurance that it would have a comprehensive plan developed for radon sequestration for its operations. (Deseret News May 5, 2008)
Utah DEQ invites comment on proposed additional effluent discharge points for Energy Queen uranium mine:
Public comments are invited any time prior to the deadline of the close of business on May 11, 2011.
> Download DEQ public notice Apr. 1, 2011 (PDF)
> Download DEQ Fact Sheet Statement of Basis (PDF)
> Download DEQ Draft Permit (PDF)
Utah DEQ invites comment on proposed groundwater permit for restart of Energy Queen uranium mine:
"Energy Fuels Resources Corporation (Energy Fuels) proposes to reactivate the Energy Queen uranium mine (formerly called the Hecla shaft) near La Sal, Utah. Before mining can commence, ground water will need to be removed from the flooded mine workings and treated to meet effluent discharge limits under a current Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The ground water permit includes a 1.5 million gallon untreated water pond with a double liner system with leak detection, a concrete filter pad, a treatment plant with multimedia filters, and a contingency pond. The permit requires the operator to utilize best available technology in the construction and operation of the treatment system and ground water compliance monitoring of the shallow aquifer to monitor potential impacts of the mine dewatering operation."
Public comments are invited any time prior to March 13, 2009.
> Download Public Notice of Issuance of Ground Water Discharge Permit, Feb. 5, 2009 (PDF - Utah DEQ)
The Energy Queen mine is a former Union Carbide mine, which is undergoing mine rehabilitation with a total capex of US$3 million. The 200-300 tpd operation is scheduled to begin in 2008. Energy Queen's estimated resource includes 766,000 pounds of uranium [295 t U] and 3 million pounds of vanadium. (Minweb Dec. 17, 2007)
On Nov. 25, 2008, Denison Mines Corp. announced the temporary closure of the Tony M mine located in Ticaboo, Utah due to the current economic situation, including the current uranium market. The mine will be put on care and maintenance and will be maintained in a state to resume mining operations quickly when uranium prices improve or Denison is able to obtain favourable uranium contracts for the Tony M production.
The Bureau of Land Management has granted Denison Mines Corp. an operating permit for the Tony M Mine uranium mine in Ticaboo, Garfield County, the mine company president Ron Hochstein said on Sep. 5, 2007. The Tony M Mine was developed from 1977 to 1984 and, under the new permit will operate for at least 10 years. Denison has been operating the mine since May 2007 with an exploratory permit, Hochstein said. Currently, about 50 percent of the Tony M Mine is flooded, and Denison is working on removing the water. The ore will be transported to Denison's White Mesa mill. (Deseret Morning News, Sep. 6, 2007)
On March 7, 2005, International Uranium Corp. announced the aquisition of the Tony M mine adjacent to its Bullfrog properties. These properties are now collectively addressed as the "Henry Mountains Complex". The Company is beginning the permitting process for the Henry Mountain Complex with the aim to put these mines into production immediately upon receipt of the required permits.
On June 14, 2006, IUC announced that plans are to complete the permitting on the Tony M mine with production slated for late spring 2007.
> View: Decommissioning Issues
Utah DEQ invites comment on proposed license renewal extension for idle Shootaring Canyon uranium mill:
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Division of Radiation Control (DRC) is soliciting comments on its proposal to grant an extension to the existing Radioactive Material License (License) for the Uranium One America's Inc. Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill Facility located near the town of Ticaboo, Utah.
On June 27, 2011, Uranium One submitted an extension request regarding RML UT090048. Based on DRC's review of this request, the Executive Secretary has preliminarily decided to agree to a two year extension. In addition to this two year extension, the License is required to submit an updated reclamation plan, operating procedures and training records.
The public comment period will end at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 25, 2011.
> Download Public Notice (PDF)
> Download Draft license (PDF)
> Download Statement of Basis (PDF)
On Oct. 29, 2007, U.S. Energy Corp. announced the sale of the Ticaboo Townsite to Uranium One Inc. for approximately $2.7 million in cash. The Ticaboo Townsite is located approximately 5 miles from Uranium One Inc.'s Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill in southeastern Utah, which was purchased from U.S. Energy Corp. on April 30, 2007. The fully developed Ticaboo Townsite includes commercial operations, a 149-unit mobile home park, a single-family residential subdivision with 98 lots and an Recreational Vehicle park. Commercial operations include a 70-unit motel, a restaurant/lounge, convenience store and a boat storage/service facility.
In September 2007, the Utah Division of Radiation Control released the Tailings Management Plan, Revised April 2007 for the Shootaring Canyon mill.
In July 2007, the Utah Division of Radiation Control released the License Application and the Environmental Report submitted for the reopening of the Shootaring Canyon uranium mill by Plateau Resources in 2006.
On April 30, 2007, sxr Uranium One Inc. announced the completion of the purchase from U.S. Energy Corp. of the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill in Utah, as well as a land package comprising approximately 38,763 acres of uranium exploration properties in Utah, Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado.
On March 17, 2005, U.S. Energy Corp. and Crested Corp. announced that a formal request has been filed with the State of Utah for an operational license to reopen and operate the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill.
On October 24, 2002, Plateau Resources requested a change in its License status from operational to reclamation. > See details
On May 3, 2002, the NRC renewed the Shootaring Canyon mill license for a ten-year term until 2012.
By letter dated Feb. 1, 2001 "Due to uranium market conditions being very soft Plateau Resources Ltd. (PRL) requests that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) terminate active review of the tailings management and 11 e(2) byproduct plans" for its Shootaring Canyon mill site.
U.S. Energy affiliate Plateau Resources has proposed to relocate the Atlas uranium mill tailings from Moab, Utah, over almost 200 miles to the site of its mothballed Shootaring Canyon uranium mill near Ticaboo, Utah. Plateau Resources has requested from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission an amendment to their Shootaring Canyon license that would allow the company to accept the Atlas waste tailings. (Deseret News April 24, 2000)
By letter dated March 22, 2000, Plateau Resources, Ltd. is requesting permission from the U.S. NRC to dispose of offsite 11e.(2) byproduct material in the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill tailings facility. This material "will be similar to mill tailings" but will have been generated at other facilities licensed by the NRC or facilities where the government has classified the material as 11e.(2) byproduct material, as defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (U.S. Code Title 42, Sec. 2014):
"(e) The term ''byproduct material'' means (1) any radioactive material (except special nuclear material) yielded in or made radioactive by exposure to the radiation incident to the process of producing or utilizing special nuclear material, and (2) the tailings or wastes produced by the extraction or concentration of uranium or thorium from any ore processed primarily for its source material content."
|for any radionuclide of the||Average Concentration||Maximum Concentration|
|U-238 series||500 pCi/g (18.5 Bq/g)||2,000 pCi/g (74 Bq/g) *)|
|Th-232 series||300 pCi/g (11.1 Bq/g)||6,000 pCi/g (222 Bq/g)|
A U-238 concentration of 500 pCi/g corresponds to 0.15 wt-%, a conc. of 2,000 pCi/g to 0.6 wt-%.
Currently, the Shootaring Canyon Uranium Mill tailings facility contains only 20,000 cy (15,300 m3) of tailings and is licensed to contain approximately 2,100,000 cy (1,600,000 m3).
(Plateau Resources' request is available through ADAMS )
In Federal Register May 25, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 102)] p. 33850-33851, NRC published a notice of receipt of the aforementioned request from Plateau Resources and a notice of opportunity for a hearing: download full text.
On March 9, 2000, the U.S. NRC issued a Finding of No Significant Impact for the reclamation plan of US Energy/Plateau Resources' Shootaring Canyon uranium mill near Ticaboo, Utah.
> View Notice in Federal Register March 9, 2000 (Vol. 65, No. 47) p. 12593-12594
On March 19, 1999, US Energy/Plateau Resources received final approval from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality for its Shootaring Canyon uranium mill.
US Energy/Plateau Resources is seeking a new groundwater protection permit for the restart of its Shootaring Canyon uranium mill near Ticaboo, Utah. The mill has been "on standby" since 1982. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality in December 1998 proposed to issue the permit with the condition that U.S. Energy upgrade the clay and synthetic liners in its tailings pond and install additional ground water monitoring wells. [The Salt Lake Tribune Jan. 21, 1999]
US Energy/Plateau Resources plans to restart its Shootaring Canyon uranium mill near Ticaboo, Utah, in 1997, initially using stockpiled ore [The Salt Lake Tribune Oct 31, 1996, March 27, 1997]. A "Final finding of no significant impact; notice of opportunity for hearing" was issued by U.S. NRC on April 21, 1997, see Federal Register April 28, 1997 (Vol.62, No. 81), p.22977-22978 .
International Uranium Corp.received a renewed license for continued operation of its White Mesa mill, Utah on May 9, 1997.
The ore produced at IUC's Sunday Mine Complex will be stockpiled at the White Mesa Mill until mid 1998 when the mill's current alternate feed run will be completed. The mill has been processing alternate feed sources since June 1997, and by mid 1998 will have produced 725,000 pounds of uranium and several hundred thousand pounds of tantalum/niobium concentrates. The mill will then switch over to processing mined ore. (IUC Dec. 8, 1997)
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