The company says the report confirms the Arizona-based Canyon mine is a valuable and low-cost uranium and copper project.
Energy Fuels (TSX:EFR,NYSEMKT:UUUU) has released an updated resource estimate that increases the amount of uranium at its Canyon mine by 1 million pounds of U3O8.
The company’s share price rose 0.48 percent during mid-morning trading on Wednesday (August 23) to reach $2.08. In addition to the overall resource increase, most of the uranium resources at Arizona-based Canyon have been upgraded from the inferred category to the measured and indicated categories.
The company has also identified about 12 million pounds of measured and indicated copper resources in the Main zone at Canyon. Energy Fuels CEO Stephen P. Antony said the company’s investment in underground core drilling from 2016 to 2017 was “highly successful,” and noted that finding copper resources at the site was a “first ever for [the] company.”
The average grades at the Main zone are 5.9 percent copper and 0.88 percent U3O8. The company said monetizing the copper resource at Canyon will help reduce its uranium cost per pound. Copper prices are up 19 percent year-to-date and 4.1 percent since the start of August, while uranium prices have remained at unsustainably low levels this year; as of August 14, the U3O8 spot price was at $20.75 per pound.
The Main zone is one of three target zones at Canyon, and is the only one where copper was found. Overall, the Main zone’s measured and indicated resources stand at 101,000 tons with 1,725,000 pounds of uranium and 11,939,000 pounds of copper. The Upper zone and Juniper zone at Canyon are estimated to hold 38,000 tons of measured and indicated resources containing 709,000 pounds of U3O8.
The resource estimate was conducted by Roscoe Postle Associates, and will be supported by a NI 43-101 technical report filed within 45 days under the company’s SEDAR profile.
According to Energy Fuels, Canyon is fully permitted, with most surface development installed, including a headframe, hoist, maintenance facility, ore pad and evaporation pond. A production shaft extends underground 1,452 feet and some horizontal work has been completed to connect its zones.
Energy Fuels is the second-largest producer of uranium in the US with operations in six states. The company’s White Mesa mill is the only conventional uranium mill currently operating in the US, and can process 8 million pounds of U3O8 annually through an acid-leach method. The mill has significant infrastructure in place that could also allow for copper recovery, but that may require circuit modifications and additional licensing actions. The company’s lab and ANSTO, an independent testing lab in Australia, began bench-scale metallurgical testing in January.
Energy Fuels says that Canyon could begin production as soon as 2017, but has not provided a more specific timeline.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Shaw, 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.