US Miner Plans To Restart Large-Scale Uranium Production ‘Very Soon’

US-based Energy Fuels is making “significant” investments in a number of its existing mines and production facilities, with an eye toward resuming large-scale uranium production “very soon”, CEO Mark Chalmers said on Friday.
Energy Fuels would restart production at “one or more” of its mines and in-situ recovery facilities, starting as soon as next year, and has hired more people in anticipation of resuming production.
“We have been the only US company to continue to produce uranium over the past several years, while maintaining several of our projects on standby status, which provides an excellent foundation from which we can build our production in the coming years,” said Chalmers.
Energy Fuels has recently entered into new long-term uranium contracts with major US utilities, as customers seek supplies from non-Russian producers amid the war in Ukraine.
To fulfill the new contract requirements, the company has bought another 68 552 lb of US-origin uranium oxide (U3O8) on the spot market last month to bolster its supply until it resumes some of its idled mines.
Energy Fuels has also submitted a bid to sell uranium to the US government under the new uranium reserve being established. The Department of Energy (DoE) expects to purchase up to one-million pounds of U3O8 inventory from up to four US producers, with individual awards ranging from 100 000 lb to 500 000 lb.
Energy Fuels believes it meets all the qualifications to supply the reserve. It currently holds 610 000 lb of U3O8 at the required Honeywell Metropolis Works conversion facility.
Assuming the bid review process is not extended, the DoE could award bids by mid-November, with deliveries expected to occur by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Meanwhile, Energy Fuels has increased its uranium production guidance for 2022 and now expects to recover 130 000 lb to 140 000 lb this year, compared with the previous target of 100 000  lb to 120 000 lb.
This increased uranium production in 2022, combined with other factors, has delayed the start of the second rare-earth element (REE) processing campaign, which would now only commence this month and carry over into the first quarter of 2023.
As a result, the company now expects to produce about 205 t of partially separated RE carbonate in 2022 containing about 95 t of high-value partially separated total rare earth oxide (TREO), with the remaining production from the second 2022 REE processing campaign of about 410 t of partially separated RE carbonate containing about 200 t of high-value partially separated TREO being packaged in and attributable to the first quarter of 2023.
The total expected production from this second 2022 campaign plus production to date in 2022 is equivalent to about 831 t of non-separated RE carbonate containing about 400 t of non-separated TREO, which falls within the 2022 guidance of 650 t to 1 000 t of non-separated RE carbonate containing 300 t to 650 t of non-separated TREO, although a portion of that total expected production will carry over into 2023.
No vanadium production is currently planned during 2022, although the company sold some of its existing vanadium inventory into recent strong markets and is evaluating the potential to recommence vanadium production in 2023 or later years as market conditions may warrant for future sale and to replace sold inventory.