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Energy Fuels Announces Initial Results of Test-Mining Program Targeting Vanadium at La Sal Complex; Update on Recent Positive Federal Actions

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Energy Fuels Announces Initial Results of Test-Mining Program Targeting Vanadium at La Sal Complex; Update on Recent Positive Federal Actions






Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) is pleased to provide the following updates on activities at the Company’s La Sal Complex of uranium/vanadium mines, in addition to recent positive federal government actions that affect the Company’s projects.


Initial Results of Test-Mining Program Targeting Vanadium at La Sal Complex



As previously announced, the Company has commenced a limited conventional vanadium mining program at its 100% owned and fully permitted and constructed La Sal Complex of uranium/vanadium mines in Utah. The purpose of the test-mining program is to evaluate different approaches that selectively target high-grade vanadium zones, thereby potentially increasing productivity and mined grades for vanadium and decreasing mining costs per pound of V2O5 and U3O8 recovered. After three weeks of test mining and evaluation, the Company is discovering areas of high-grade vanadium mineralization that were not previously mined due to the relatively lower uranium grades in the material.



While the test mining campaign is still in its early stages, the Company is pleased to provide the following assay results from the initial 420 tons of material mined and sampled to date:



Area Stope Sample Date Tons



% V2O5 %U3O8 V2O5:U3O8


Lbs. V2O5 Lbs. U3O8
2300 2380 10/9/2018 63 1.540% 0.074% 20.8 1,940 93
2300 2380 10/9/2018 63 1.872% 0.141% 13.3 2,359 178
2300 2380 10/9/2018 35 1.461% 0.119% 12.3 1,023 83
2300 2380 10/10/2018 28 1.993% 0.109% 18.3 1,116 61
2300 2380 10/10/2018 28 1.854% 0.172% 10.8 1,038 96
2300 2380 10/11/2018 14 3.104% 0.171% 18.2 869 48
2300 2380 10/11/2018 14 1.491% 0.075% 19.9 417 21
720 721 10/9/2018 35 1.247% 0.082% 15.2 873 57
720 721 10/9/2018 21 1.948% 0.032% 60.9 818 13
720 721 10/9/2018 7 1.271% 0.204% 6.2 178 29
2300 2310 10/12/2018 28 1.366% 0.141% 9.7 765 79
2300 2310 10/12/2018 28 1.673% 0.124% 13.5 937 69
721 721 10/17/2018 28 1.759% 0.028% 62.8 985 16
730 732 10/17/2018 28 1.347% 0.026% 51.8 754 15
      420 1.671% 0.102% 16.4 14,072 858


  • All data presented in the table above are the result of the following mining, evaluation, and laboratory QA/QC procedures. Company personnel blast and remove the mineralized material from the mine, and transport it to an ore pad on the mine surface using a seven-ton truck. After the material is dumped on the stockpile pad, representative samples from various locations in each seven-ton pile are sampled randomly. The Company believes that blasting, mucking, transporting, and dumping adequately mixes the material in each pile, allowing for representative sampling. Approximately, ten pounds of sample material is collected from each seven-ton pile. All samples are analyzed at the Company’s White Mesa Mill using titration chemical analysis for vanadium and spectrophotometric analysis for uranium, in each case following the Mill’s standard quality assurance program and quality control measures.



Historically, when uranium was targeted for production at the La Sal Complex, the recovered vanadium-to-uranium ratio was approximately 5-to-1. By targeting vanadium, the samples in the above table show a ratio of over 16-to-1 vanadium-to-uranium, including an average vanadium grade of 1.675% and an average uranium grade of 0.102% U3O8. Assuming average historic recoveries at the Company’s White Mesa uranium/vanadium mill of approximately 95% uranium and 70% vanadium, using these results, the Company would expect to recover approximately 23.5 pounds of V2O5, and 1.9 pounds of U3O8, per ton of the mineralized material that has been mined to date under this program. Today, the uranium spot price is $27.75 per pound (TradeTech), and the vanadium price is $24.80 per pound (Metal Bulletin).



While not intended to represent a resource or reserve estimate or economic evaluation, this test mining program is demonstrating two key points to the Company. First, high-grade vanadium associated with lower grade uranium exists in the La Sal mine complex. This mineralized material was either not detected in the past or not mined due to its relatively lower uranium grade. Second, the Company now has the technology to identify this mineralization, which was not available historically. This material is attractive at current vanadium prices, and would have been attractive during previous mining campaigns had the vanadium grades been identified at those times. These two key points confirm the Company’s belief that further study is required to determine the extent of this additional mineralized material at the La Sal Complex and other uranium/vanadium mines owned or controlled by the Company, and the impacts such additional mineralized material may have on the mining costs per pound of V2O5 and U3O8 recovered from these mines.



The Company plans to continue the test-mining program and recover, sample, and evaluate a minimum of 5,000 tons of mineralized material. The Company also plans to conduct additional surface exploration drilling that targets high-grade vanadium mineralization at the La Sal Complex. Furthermore, as previously announced, the Company expects to resume vanadium production from tailings pond solutions, which result from past mineral processing operations, at its White Mesa Mill in November 2018, at an expected rate of approximately 200,000 to 225,000 pounds of V2O5 per month, up to a total of approximately 4 million pounds of V2O5, subject to market conditions, costs, and recoveries.



Mark S. Chalmers, President and CEO of Energy Fuels, stated: “Today, Energy Fuels is pursuing a number of exciting vanadium-related opportunities. In addition to resuming production from existing pond solutions at the White Mesa Mill in a few weeks, we are looking to build a longer-term vanadium production profile at our uranium/vanadium mines. While we’re still in the early stages of this vanadium test-mining program, we wanted to show the market some of the positive results we’re already seeing thus far. As we suspected, there may be large zones of high-grade vanadium mineralization in the La Sal Complex that were never mined in the past, because they contain relatively lower-grade uranium mineralization. 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. 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. We will continue to pursue our test-mining program, and we look forward to providing the market with additional results in the future as these become available.



“Energy Fuels is pleased to be the only company in the U.S. that can provide shareholders with near-term exposure to both vanadium and uranium production, as market conditions warrant. The Company’s White Mesa Mill is the only mill in the United States capable of recovering vanadium from conventionally mined ores, and Energy Fuels-owned or controlled mines are the only vanadium mines that currently have access to the White Mesa Mill.”



Final Federal Approval for La Sal Complex Expansion Plan of Operations



The Company is also pleased to announce that the Manti-La Sal National Forest has issued their final approval for the La Sal Complex Plan of Operations Amendment. The Company is now fully authorized by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to move forward with the expansion of mining operations, exploration drilling, and vent shaft construction at the La Sal Complex. This follows the February 2018 issuance of the Environmental Assessment Decision Record/Notice, and Finding of No Significant Impact approving the expansion of a large portion of the La Sal Complex, pending certain conditions including having the required reclamation bond in place. All of those conditions have now been fully met.



EPA Withdraws Unnecessary Proposed Rule



On October 19, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially withdrew its January 19, 2017 proposed rule that would have revised 40 CFR Part 192, “Health and Environmental Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings.” This proposed rule would have primarily affected in situ uranium recovery (“ISR”) facilities, like the Company’s Nichols Ranch and Alta Mesa ISR Projects, and could have imposed unnecessary, duplicative, and expensive additional requirements on ISR facilities in the U.S. with no resulting benefits to human health or the environment. The EPA decision to withdraw the rulemaking was partially driven by their belief that “existing regulatory structures are sufficient to ensure the targeted protection of public health and the environment at existing ISR facilities.” The EPA’s decision removes a significant risk factor for the Company’s current and future ISR operations.



Mark S. Chalmers continued: “Energy Fuels is also pleased to see positive news on the federal regulatory front. The U.S. leads the World in the protection of human health and the environment, and Energy Fuels would not want it any other way. However at times, regulatory agencies may pursue misguided regulatory actions. We look forward to continuing to provide our input to regulatory agencies and make sure that the U.S. remains the leader in responsible uranium production.”



Mark S. Chalmers, P.E., is a Qualified Person as defined by Canadian National Instrument 43-101 and has reviewed and approved the technical disclosure, including sampling, analytical, and test data underlying the information, contained in this news release.



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 by-product of its uranium production from certain of its mines on the Colorado Plateau, as market conditions warrant.


Posted October 25, 2018

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