(Wyoming Business Report, November 13) – Casper-based Uranerz continues to operate at a heavy loss while constructing its first in-situ recovery leach uranium mine at Nichols Ranch in the Powder River Basin.
However, the facility construction is drawing to a close and the company is poised to go into production, according to Vice President of Operations Glenda Thomas. She said all next week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be on site with four or five auditors to inspect the facility. The outcome of the inspection will determine how soon the company can go into production, she said.
“We feel like we’re in a good position once the inspection’s over to be able to start up,” Thomas said. “It’s very very exciting and we’re looking forward to next week.”
For the first three quarters of 2013, the company piped $11.8 million into “processing facility construction and wellfield expenditures” at its Nichols Ranch project. Overall, the company reported losses of $18.3 million during the period and $21.8 million in 2012.
Of course, it could be argued that that’s to be expected while constructing a first facility of such magnitude. As of Sept. 30, expenditures at the facility totaled $42.8 million.
“As an exploration stage company without ‘proven or probable reserves,’ we expense all costs related to constructing our first mine as incurred, in accordance with the SEC’s Industry Guide 7,” an investor release stated.
The company owns wide swathes of land interspersed with land owned by Cameco Resources, the largest U.S. uranium producer, and Uranium One. According to Uranerz’s website, it has a processing agreement in place with Cameco and has entered into long-term uranium sales contracts for some of its planned production with two of the largest nuclear utilities in the U.S., including Chicago-based Exelon Corp.