This is the first time Energy Fuels has produced vanadium since 2013, when vanadium price levels were substantially lower.
The milestone marks first time the company has produced vanadium at the site since restarting operations there in December 2018.
Energy Fuels stopped vanadium output at the White Mesa mill in 2013, when the price of vanadium fell. However, the price of vanadium has grown by as much as 400 percent in the last two years, prompting the company to begin planning the restart early last year.
The decision to produce vanadium again has solidified Energy Fuels’ spot as one of the only North American producers, an advantageous position as the metal becomes popular in energy storage.
The material is being produced from existing tailings pond solutions at White Mesa, the result of past mineral-processing operations. The company has not recovered vanadium from tailings pond solutions at the mill before.
“We are extremely pleased with the quality and purity of our initial batches of finished vanadium product. Energy Fuels is the newest vanadium producer in the world to respond to today’s relative market strength, and we are now one of the only vanadium producers in North America,” Mark Chalmers, president and CEO of Energy Fuels, said in an announcement.
The company plans to steadily ramp up vanadium production during Q1 2019, and expects to achieve a full production rate of 200,000 to 225,000 pounds of vanadium pentoxide per month by the end of the quarter.
According to Energy Fuels, there is an estimated 4 million pounds of recoverable vanadium dissolved in the mill pond solutions.
In addition to offering an update on its newly restarted vanadium production, Energy Fuels also said it plans to continue uranium production during 2019, albeit at a reduced capacity due to ongoing depressed spot prices.
“During 2019, the company expects to produce approximately 50,000 to 125,000 pounds of U3O8, of which approximately 50,000 to 75,000 pounds are expected to be produced from its Nichols Ranch ISR project as it winds down into standby mode, pending expected improvements in uranium market conditions,” the company said.
Energy Fuels is awaiting the results of a Section 232 investigation launched by the US government in early 2018 regarding security around uranium imports from foreign countries. If successful, the US will cap the amount the amount of uranium it allows to be imported into the country, and instead look to domestic producers to meet growing demand.
The company’s share price ended Monday (January 7) at C$4.10 on the TSX, up 1.74 percent.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Energy Fuels is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.