(Wyoming Business Report, May 21) – Casper-based uranium mining company Uranerz Energy Corp. said this morning it hopes to expand the permit area for its Nichols Ranch in-situ recovery mine by what appears to be well over triple the area.
The company said it wants to add what it calls the Jane Dough permit area to its current Nichols Ranch Source and Byproduct Material License from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That permit allows the company to “own, receive, possess, use, transfer, provide for long-term care, deliver or dispose of byproduct material or residual radioactive material … or any source material after removal from its place of deposit.” In other words, it’s the final federal hurdle to clear to commence mining operations in an area.
Jane Dough is just south of the Nichols Ranch unit in the Powder River Basin and has several major veins of uranium deposits. Since the areas share a border, Uranerz is most likely to install well fields at Jane Dough and transport the solutions mined via pipeline into the existing facilities at Nichols Ranch for processing.
“Now that the Nichols Ranch facility is fully operational, we see the Jane Dough unit as being the next project to be developed,” said President and COO Paul Goranson in a release. “Given that this application is being filed as an amendment to the existing Nichols Ranch ISR Uranium Project license, we expect to see considerable time savings in the NRC review and approval process.”
The company also noted that not having a satellite facility on the Jane Dough property will be an expense- and time-saving proposition while extending the mine’s life and “enhancing project economics.”
Goranson on Tuesday was part of a uranium panel during Wyoming Business Report’s inaugural Wyoming Energy Summit. He and top brass from each of Wyoming’s four active uranium producers discussed the state of the Wyoming uranium industry with cautious optimism. Though Goranson acknowledged his company was formed around a boom that imploded with the Fukushima disaster in Japan, he pointed to future market conditions as reason to stick it out through the trough.
The panel pointed out that while many countries are decommissioning their nuclear plants, countries like China and India are constructing dozens of them that will essentially put another U.S. nuclear energy market on the map in the Far East.